On the weekend of 14 and 15 May 2022, the Teiresiás Centre of Masaryk University in Brno will host the 15th run of Agora – a unique educational event focused on the use of information and communication technologies by users with visual impairments.
Participants come to Agora to learn about the latest innovations in the field of special computer technology, to exchange their experience or to practice their skills in working with information and communication technologies using a screen reader or magnification software.
Programme scheme of Agora
Based on the very positive feedback, we have again decided to continue with the popular and requested Agora programme scheme of „plenary, exhibition and workshop section“.
The common plenary session for up to 130 participants will take place on Saturday morning and will offer participants the opportunity to learn about selected topics through short, frontal-led presentations.
This year, for the first time, we will also broadcast the plenary session live to ensure that the information presented at the plenary session reach as many people as possible.
There will be an opportunity to visit stands in the exhibition section on Saturday afternoon after the plenary session during the longer lunch break and then in parallel with the workshops. The aim of the exhibition section is to allow the participants to get to know the solutions offered by the exhibitors in person.
Participation in the plenary session and the exhibition is possible without prior registration.
On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning practical workshops will take place, which we still see as the core of Agora. The capacity of each workshop will again be limited to approximately 5 people so that they can get to know the topics discussed as well as possible.
The Plenary Session will take place on Saturday 14 May from 10.00 to 12.00 and is free of charge. And what contributions can you look forward to?
- Dan Patzelt: Tactile Images Platform: The missing link between spatial education and remote teaching
- Petr Dušek: Activities of the organisation Nesmir (Astronomy and cosmonautics for the Visually Impaired people)
- Barbora Bertlová: Tactile Leaflets HMATÁKY – A New Path to Tactile Graphics and Braille
- Milan Pešák: The innovated application Knihomol, new tutorials and other news from Spektra
- Marek Susčík: New features and extensions in the OKO add-on for NVDA
- Michal Jungmann: RUBY 10 – the greatest of the Ruby family
- Jana Kuklová: Kikiriki Games – introduction of the barrier-free game studio and mobile audio game “To the Dragon Cave”
- Lukáš Hosnedl: Historical Czech game 1428: Shadows over Silesia welcomes you to the future of accessible video games, at present!
Dan Patzelt: Tactile Images Platform: The missing link between spatial education and remote teaching
Developing spatial intelligence is vital for blind children because this enables them to create accurate mental images of the surrounding world, but also helps them become better at space orientation.
The Tactile Images e-learning platform offers teachers access to a library of 1.500 self-describing drawings. At the same time, it allows them to create drawings with personalized descriptions that have a QR Code attached to them.
After the drawing has been embossed, the child can explore it independently with the help of Tactile Images Reader app. The app reads the QR Code, identifies the drawing and then the position of the finger on the drawing reading the descriptions written by the teacher in the platform to the blind or visually impaired child.
The Tactile Images e-learning platform is the missing link between spatial education and remote teaching because it wishes to break the barriers imposed by physical dependency of another person. It does this by replicating the effort of the teachers and by transferring their knowledge online, so that every child has access to personalized information and independent learning anytime and anywhere. This new method increases the learning speed and broadens the special education curricula.
Petr Dušek: Activities of the organisation Nesmir (astronomy and cosmonautics for the visually impaired people)
The Expert Group for Barrier-Free Astronomy and Cosmonautics of the Czech Astronomical Society (Nesmir for short) is dedicated to making popular astronomy and cosmonautics accessible to people with various disabilities. The current main domain of this group is the topic of astronomy and cosmonautics for people with visual impairments. We organise thematic talks, evening sky observations, trips to interesting places. We are also becoming part of an international community of interest… there is certainly no shortage of activities. In this presentation we will summarize what we are doing or not doing, what things we are up to – not only from a short-term perspective, but we will also try to be prophetic and give information about events that are yet to happen.
Barbora Bertlová: Tactile Leaflets HMATÁKY – A New Path to Tactile Graphics and Braille
Tactile graphics have long been on the periphery of interest for typhlopedic specialists and the blind community itself, although they may represent one of the most effective ways of experiencing reality without visual control. That is why the tactile leaflet of the ELSA Centre of the Prague CTU was created. What is ATELION? What is the tactile leaflet called HMATÁK? A brief introduction of the workplace and its new product.
Milan Pešák: The innovated application Knihomol, new tutorials and other news from Spektra
We’ve added new features to the application Knihomol (“Bookworm”) that will make reading books and magazines even more convenient. In this presentation, we will briefly introduce them and say a few words about the new tutorials and other new features from Spektra, which has been here with you for 33 years.
Marek Susčík: New features and extensions in the OKOadd-on for NVDA
We will introduce new extensions available in the OKOadd-on for NVDA, which make it easier to obtain information of various nature, mostly from information sources available on the Internet. (This add-on is accustomed only to the Czech virtual environment, the translation of the add-on’s name is EYE).
Michal Jungmann: RUBY 10 – the greatest of the Ruby family
Introduction of the new RUBY 10 portable camera magnifier with voice support, combined with a brief overview of the history of the development of the RUBY series of portable camera magnifiers by the American company Freedom Scientific.
Jana Kuklová: Kikiriki Games – presentation of the barrier-free game studio and mobile audio game “To the Dragon Cave”
The new game studio Kikiriki Games focuses on the development of blind friendly mobile games and now presents “To the Dragon Cave”, a title that both blind and sighted players will enjoy. Another area Kikiriki Games is working on is removing barriers in the labor market. That’s why a team of visually impaired and sighted contributors worked on “To the Dragon Cave”. In this presentation, the co-founder of the studio Jana Kuklová will introduce the mission and goals of the Kikiriki Games project and introduce the audience to the new game designed for iOS and Android mobile phones.
Lukáš Hosnedl: Historical Czech game 1428: Shadows over Silesia welcomes you to the future of accessible video games, at present!
On September 6, 2022, the historical action adventure game “1428: Shadows over Silesia” for windows PC by indie developer Petr Kubíček will be released (a public demo will be available this summer). It promises around thirty hours of gameplay time, a number of fictional but also real historical locations in medieval Silesia that you will be able to visit, challenging combat, logic puzzles, sneaking in the shadows around dangerous enemies, hidden coins that only the most careful can find, complete Czech dubbing, an engaging dark fantasy story with two playable characters and much more.
And why would you, as a participant of the spring Agora 2022, i.e. a user of assistive technologies for the visually impaired, be interested in a regular so-called mainstream videogame? Well, because as only the second game of this scale and the first ever Windows game, it will offer full support even for totally blind players from the moment of release, with no hidden tricky situations and technicalities, no complicated conditions, and no compromises! It is therefore not only a historical game in the sense that it takes place in a historical setting, but primarily in the sense of its historical importance for the evolution of accessibility even in a primarily visually oriented field such as video games.
Come and hear more details about what exactly the game has to offer and, in particular, how the implementation of such advanced accessibility features was developed, right from the source, so to speak.
Basic information about Agora
Organiser of the event: the Teiresias Centre for the Support of Students with Special Needs
Venue: Komenského náměstí 2, 602 00 Brno
Date of the event: 14. a 15. května 2022
Participation fee: thanks to the support of Agora’s partners, participation in the special programme and refreshments during the event is free of charge; participants are responsible for their own transport and accommodation
The event is supported by Deloitte, the Czech Radio Endowment Fund from the Světluška fund, Moneta Money Bank, Sagitta and other partners
Partners of Agora
Agora would not be possible without partners who support it financially or otherwise. We are very pleased that this year we continue to cooperate with both of Agora’s key partners: the company Deloitte, which remains Agora’s main partner, and the Czech Radio Endowment Fund, which supported Agora with a grant from the Světluška fund. Moneta Money Bank joined Agora’s key partners in 2022. We thank all the partners for their trust and support.
Fall Agora 2022 Pictures on Flickr
We are looking forward to seeing you 🙂
Anička Hořejší, Radek Pavlíček & Pepa Konečný
Global Accessibility Awarenness Day 2022
Agora is for the eighth time part of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day – an awareness day focusing on digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities and impairments.
Agora is a conference aimed at the topic of ICT utilization by visually impaired users. Since 2015, it’s been organized by the Teiresias Center at Masaryk University, with support from the Deloitte company, the Czech Radio Endowment Fund (the Světluška – Firefly – fund), and other partners.
Despite its relatively young age, Agora has already built up an excellent reputation among visually impaired users of ICT. The recent in-person runs have regularly had over 150 participants, virtual ones had thousands of views, and the number keeps increasing. Agora is the perfect place where its participants can learn, in an accessible environment, about how ICT can aid them in overcoming the barriers in their studies or career as well as in the everyday life.
About the Teiresias Center
The event is organized by the Teiresias Center, officially called The Center for Supporting Students with Specific Needs, which has been established by the Masaryk University in Brno in 2000. Its goal is to ensure for the study fields accredited at the university to be as accessible as possible even to blind and visually impaired students, students who are deaf or hard of hearing, who have a motor impairment or other disabilities.
The center is the guarantor of the life-long education programme for the blind, which aims to make it possible for the general public with a visual impairment to increase their knowledge in the individual subjects of the university’s accredited fields of study in a blind-accessible way, regardless of their age or social status.
More information at www.teiresias.muni.cz/en.