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Tactile Blocks Teach Blind Kids to Code


A student demonstrates a program he created with the technology behind Code Jumper.

Microsoft is testing an educational programming kit for visually impaired children.

Credit: Johnathan Banks/Microsoft

Microsoft is testing an educational programming kit for visually impaired children that uses differently-shaped blocks or "pods" that each embody a line of code, and which can be attached in patterns.

With the Code Jumper kit, users can combine pods and adjust buttons on the pods to generate an audible output, like a song or joke.

Nicolas Villar of Microsoft said Code Jumper offers greater usability to visually impaired students than most existing tools, which are mainly graphical.

Microsoft said it will hand over Code Jumper's research and technology to the nonprofit American Printing House for the Blind (APH), which intends to commercialize the kit later this year.

APH's Craig Meador said most coding classes for blind children pair them with sighted partners who communicate onscreen action, while Code Jumper should allow both students to participate in coding.

From Fast Company
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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