Children who are blind learn how to code with Code Jumper

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«You know how haunted houses have creaky doors or creepy monsters? I made the story go real loud, but real slow to make it seem scary,» Tariq Trowell, a seven-year-old at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary in Louisville, KY who is visually impaired, tells me.

Tariq is talking about using Code Jumper, a coding language developed by Microsoft for children who are blind or visually impaired. Different from computer-based programming languages such as Python and C++, Code Jumper is an educational tool comprised of modular, physical pieces students can string together to create code. 

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It makes coding tactile and fun — and it’s highly customizable. Students can play single musical notes or complete songs, tell stories, use pre-set sounds and make their own sounds. They have control over speed, pitch and volume, too, which is what Tariq played with to make his ghost story. 

Technologies like Code Jumper help with career development, Tariq’s teacher, Deanna Lefan, says. This is critical.

There are 63,357 children who are blind or visually impaired in the United States, according to a 2017 APH annual report. Cornell University Disability Statistics estimate that only 15.7 percent of people who are blind or visually impaired complete a bachelor’s degree or higher, based on 2016 American Community Survey data. That means fewer than 10,000 of those 63,000-plus children who are blind or visually impaired will earn advanced degrees if this trend continues. 

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH), a nonprofit organization in Louisville that makes braille textbooks and develops assistive technologies, wants to help change that statistic. It’s handling the distribution side of Code Jumper — making sure it reaches classrooms and individual homes. 

«The problem is, students who are blind or visually impaired, have been left out of the equation. If you lack a visual channel, then all the animations and all the drag-and-drop that’s happening on the screen [when learning to code] isn’t accessible,» APH president, Craig Meador explains. Should you loved this informative article and you would want to receive much more information with regards to absoluteservices.net, generously visit our own web-page.  

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