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Have you ever observed how people with disabilities are experiencing your content on social media? Is someone who uses a screen reader or other assistive technology able to understand your content on Twitter or Facebook? Following video is a 20-minute sprint where you’ll learn specific tips for making your social media content more accessible. The video goes through tools and tactics you can use to help make sure your social media engagements are readable for all your communities.
Presenter: Scott Horvath, USGS
Produced by DigitalGov University, an initiative of the General Services Administration.
Source: DigitalGov University

ITAG: Interactive Technologies and Games – Education, Health and Disability 2013 – Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, October 2013

First call for papers, workshops and posters

The aim of ITAG is to bring together academics, developers, beneficiaries and practitioners to explore interactive technologies and innovate within the areas of Education, Health and Disability. ITAG will consist of 4 strands:

  • Academic conference: We have a particular focus on the use of gaming hardware and software to implement accessible solutions, interaction design using new input/output devices and the increasing impact of ubiquitous computing on our everyday well-being. We especially want to bring together practitioners with technical experts, for their mutual benefit; you don’t have to be a technical whizz kid to benefit from this conference! The conference provides an excellent opportunity to showcase practice and to mainstream research ideas and outcomes. It introduces a wider audience to key findings and products from research and illustrates how practice feeds back into and informs research. The conference also creates a forum for two-way communication between the academic and practitioner communities.
  • Practical workshops: every afternoon, parallel workshops will be organised addressing following topics: interactive street gaming using mobile gaming applications, robotics in a gaming environment, mobile gaming, immersive gaming and rehabilitation gaming. These workshops will involve the participants in exploring the various games, and creating an interactive experience with the originators/developers.
  • Gaming hackathon: several teams consisting of developers, designers and special education trainers will compete with each other to use various technologies (Android based games, Flash Games, Games Mods, XNA) and create an educational game in just 2 days. The winner will take home a £250 prize award.
  • Exhibition: An exhibition space will be available for demonstrations and posters, and will be embedded in the conference and workshops area.

If you are interested in any of the above, please contact us at We particularly welcome user led presentations and workshops.

ITAG is held in partnership with GameCity – the World’s best-loved videogame festival.


As guidance to participants on scope of papers and activities we state that: ‘Education’ includes both compulsory and post-compulsory education; ‘Disability’ includes physical, sensory and cognitive impairment; and the impact of interactive technologies and games on health and well-being is also a focus of this conference. An emphasis is placed on practical applications and guides to where currently available training resources and tools can be found and used. A selection of papers will be published electronically in full, and presentations will be limited to 20 minutes for the key findings, including time for questions from the floor. It is hoped (as in previous years) that the best papers will be published in a special issue of a relevant academic journal. Previous special issues have included:

  • Journal of Assistive Technologies – Volume 3, issue 2, June 2009 (ITAG 2008 selected papers)
  • Computers and Education – Volume 56, issue 1 (ITAG 2009 selected papers)
  • International Journal of Games Based Learning – Volume 1, issue 4, 2011 (ITAG 2010 selected papers)
  • Journal of Assistive Technologies – Volume 6 issue 3 (ITAG 2011 selected papers)
  • International Journal of Game-Based Learning – (ITAG12 selected papers) – in development

Themes and topics:

The conference encourages multidisciplinary papers and examples of themes and topics include (but don’t let this restrict you):

Gaming on the move:

  • Streetgaming and the usage of mobile and online game applications
  • Blended gaming for educational purposes
  • Augmented Reality and mobile games
  • Pervasive games for health, sociability and adaptability
  • Location-based games and ubiquitous technologies
  • Immersive/alternate reality games (ARGs), hybrid reality games (HRG), and mixed reality games (MRG)
  • Low cost mobile games based learning
  • Inclusive street games

Robotics and education:

  • Good practices or innovations in programming
  • Autonomous projects: Have you done a cool autonomous project? Show it off and share your ideas!
  • Interaction in the context of youth with learning disabilities
  • Hardware & software for robotics education: Share your best ideas and innovations to make educational programs more effective.
  • Innovative uses of technology: Have you done something unique and creative utilizing new technology in education? Let’s hear about it!
  • Robotics competitions & project based activities: Highlight specific classroom and other competitions and activities you utilize in your robotics education program.
  • Curriculum for robotics education: Tell us how you design and implement your curriculum in regular classroom or extracurricular activities.
  • Informal robotics education: Highlight your best practices and successes while sharing your ideas!

Games Based Learning:

  • Social and collaborative aspects of games (e.g., educational aspects of Massively Multiplayer Online Games)
  • The efficacy of games based learning
  • Self-authored content and personalisation in games
  • Learning theory, pedagogy and instructional design in games
  • Motivational aspects of games
  • Collaboration between Science and Art for more effective learning
  • Games to promote the inclusion (e.g., for offenders and people with disabilities, motivation of female gamers)

Game related Technologies:

  • Using contemporary games controllers to create new opportunities in health and rehabilitation applications (e.g., applications for Wii Fit, Kinect. Move).
  • Brain Computer interfaces to games
  • Pervasiveness and mobility of games
  • Location based services
  • Handheld learning in the classroom

Games, Apps and Artificial Reality for Health:

  • Serious games for clinical assessment (e.g. after stroke)
  • Serious games for rehabilitation and treatment (e.g. of phobias, ADHA, post-traumatic stress disorders, stroke)
  • ‘Modding’ for health
  • Art and music rehabilitation in 3D multisensory environments
  • Games for children in hospital
  • Games to increase physical activity in children
  • Apps and AR in assessment and patient wellbeing.

Accessible Game Design:

  • Universally accessible games
  • Switch controlled games
  • Audio games for the blind
  • Designing accessible games mods
  • Using games controllers as haptic and audio interfaces
  • Accessibility guidelines for games

Web based gaming technologies:

  • Resources for interactive learning tools and environments, e.g., Flash, podcasts, simulations, mobile games, Web 2.0 tool etc.
  • The Internet as a communication medium (e.g. for people with Asperger Syndrome).
  • Browser based games and linking into social media channels


Those wishing to present papers, or hold a workshop should prepare abstracts, to a maximum of 500 words. For those hoping to exhibit or produce a poster, a 300-word abstract is required.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 30 April 2013 and should be sent to Please clearly state what track your submission relates to. Participating in the hackathon is open to all, but expressions of interest will be asked.
Final copies of accepted papers will be required in advance of the Conference.

We aim to keep costs down, and we do offer concessionary* rates. Prices will include lunch, and morning and afternoon refreshments. *Proof of eligibility for concessionary rates will be requested on arrival at the conference (e.g., student ID card)

Prizes Offered:

As in previous years prizes will be awarded!

Over 100 million EU citizens would find it easier to use online public services to look for a job, register a car, submit a tax declaration and apply for a passport or driving license thanks to new rules proposed today by the European Commission on the International Day of People with Disability. The Commission’s proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites would introduce mandatory EU standardised accessibility features, from the end of 2015, for 12 types of websites. Mandatory accessibility would apply to essential government services like social security and health related services, job searches, university applications and issuing of personal documents and certificates. The proposed new rules would also clarify what web accessibility means (technical specs, methodology for assessment, reporting, bottom up testing), and governments would be encouraged to apply the rules across all services, not only the mandatory list.
Source: EC

Relevant study
The Study “Economic Assessment for Improving eAccessibility Services and Products”, led by Technosite, focused on analysing the benefits and costs from improved eAccessibility for society as a whole and for the organisations providing ICT-based services (private companies, public administrations, NGOs, SMEs, etc.). The three technology domains covered are Web Accessibility, Digital Television and Self-Service Terminals, with a predominant focus on Web Accessibility. The Study produced important new evidence to better inform the policy debate on eAccessibility: a final report and Business Case Tools (BCTs).
The final report of the “Study on economic assessment for improving eAccessibility services and products” systematises the results of different tasks conducted (Key aspects, Causal Loop Diagrams, Surveys, Business Case Tools, Estimations and Extrapolations, Policy Recommendations and Conclusions).
The Study produced two different versions of the BCT, one intended to be used for calculating macroeconomic estimations and extrapolations (labelled as BCT Macro) and another one aimed to be used by managers willing to calculate the costs and benefits for their organisation if their website is rendered accessible (labelled as BCT Micro). The latter has a more user-friendly interface/layout, containing both quantitative and qualitative indicators, and is available for downloading together with a brief manual.
If you are considering to make your website accessible, you can download and use the Business Case Tool Micro and its manual, and estimate how much it would cost you. Just enter the requested data and the tool will yield a full calculation according to your web accessibility needs, thanks to the embedded estimation procedures. The BCT Macro was used for estimating macroeconomic impacts.

Interview with Karel Van Isacker on the need for basic ICT and AT training for people with disabilities. This is made possible through the free outcomes of the ViPi ( and the ATLEC ( projects.

This video was made by the Web 2LLP project (

The Muse headband (currently seeking funding on Indiegogo) is a lightweight plastic controller that slips onto your forehead and connects to your smartphone or tablet. Not only can the Muse give you feedback on how you’re doing mentally — calm, agitated, focused, distracted — it can also be used to control any app you care to name.

Demonstration can be viewed in this video.

Source: Mashable

European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have today (20/11/2012) signed a Joint Declaration in London, committing to make the Internet a safer and better place for children.

In the Declaration, Vice President Kroes and Secretary Napolitano:
– agree to implement joint campaigns on the occasion of an annual Safer Internet Day. As a first step, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security intends to participate in the EU’s Safer Internet Day for young people on February 5, 2013.
– commit to contribute to international cooperation in fighting child sexual abuse online in the immediate future. This will build on existing work by the Virtual Global Taskforce and Interpol on law enforcement collaboration to combat child sexual abuse worldwide. International cooperation is essential if we are to be effective in fighting child sexual abuse online.
– acknowledge that parents and guardians need to trust the content and services their children access and commit to continue working with industry and other stakeholders so that parents and children can make informed choices online.

This declaration complements other European Commission initiatives to keep children save and confident in the digital world. These include the EU Strategy for a safer internet and better internet content for children and teenagers presented earlier this year (IP/12/445) and a Commission-brokered coalition of top tech & media companies to make the internet a better place for our kids. (IP/11/1485)

Some history:
On 02 May 2012 the Commission adopted the Communication for a “Strategy for a Better Internet for Children”. The Commission has set out a plan to give children the digital skills and tools they need fully and safely to benefit from the digital world. It also aims to unlock the potential of the market for interactive, creative and educational content online.

With regard to safer internet, the 2011 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for Use of ICT in Education has rewarded 2 projects:
– the ‘Internet ABC’ Project from Germany, which promotes the secure use of technologies by children and adults through advertisement-free content of more than one million pages;
– the InfollutionZERO project, which addresses the challenges of “infollution”—the harmful effects of unsafe digital “pollutants”—including cyberspace predators, bullies, abusive language, and technology addiction.
Source: UNESCO, EC