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Coding Resources for the Blind and VI

Programming and Programing Language Resources

The Quorum Programing Language

Note: The Quorum Programing Language is specifically writing for students with disabilities. It can and is used outside that group, but resources are designed to be used with a screen reader. Please note that Quorum is supported and funded through grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Quorum Website

  • Learn to Use Quorum – From this page, you will pick a “track” that will contain information and resources on how to learn to use Quorum.

  • Hour of Code – From this page, you can pick an activity to do “Hour of Code”. Information and Resources About Quorum

  • Access CS For All – This website includes a multitude of resources, including resources on the Quorum language, designed to include neurodiverse students or individuals with sensory impairments

Video Content

Other Coding Languages

Quorum is not the only accessible programing language available, there are other options such as Python and Visual Studio. Below are some basic getting started resources

  • Python Vis - A Virtual Community of blind and visually impaired individuals using or learning Python.

  • Cyber Blind Tech - Cyber Blind Tech is a YouTube channel with some basic information to Python for blind and visually impaired users. Please note that not all videos on this channel are in English, so to make finding content easier, the following list of videos is included below:

  • Coding Blind YouTube Channel – This channel includes tutorials and information on Python as well as other coding languages such as Visual Studio


Resources for Kids: APH Virtual EXCEL Academies with a Coding and/or STEAM Focus

  • Primary Core or ECC Area: Skills from all 9 areas of the ECC will be addressed

  • Target Audience: Intermediate, middle and high school

  • Prerequisite Knowledge: Directions: left, right & straight

  • Lesson Plan Goal: Provide beginning concepts of coding concepts Materials

  • Needed: If possible, students should print a set of each of these offline coding cards. Braille labels can be applied on them over the cards (students will need to make their own braille, but that's just another bonus ECC activity!)

  • Handouts:

o 5.04.2020 Beginning coding lesson plan

o 5.04.2020 Offline_Coding_Cards_2

o 5.04.2020 Offline_Coding_Cards

  • Instructor: Robin Lowell

  • Instructor’s Title: Teacher of Visually Impaired, Senior Manager of Accessibility

  • Instructor’s Affiliation: i2e

  • Instructor’s email: outreach@aph.org

  • Primary Core or ECC Area: STEM

  • Target Audience: 7-11 years old

  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None

  • Lesson Plan Goal: Building on basic coding skills such as algorithm, debugging and loops in an unplugged setting. Learn about Code Jumper and online coding programs.

Resources for Parents, Teachers, and Adults

NOTE: Some of the webinars below may be appropriate for older students as well as their teachers and adults in the home.

Code Jumper 101 Series


Course Description for Code Jumper 101 Series:

  • Get ready to unpack your Code Jumper kit and follow along with facilitators as this product which teaches all students how to write computer code is demonstrated. Specifically, three Code Jumper lessons will be examined and participants will learn how this kit also encourages the use of life skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, communication, creativity, and perseverance.

  • Instructor:  Robin Lowell

      • Instructor’s Title: Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments / Senior Accessibility Manager, i2e

      • Instructor’s Affiliation: i2e

      • Instructor’s Email: outreach@aph.org

  • Instructor:   Beth Dudycha

      • Instructor’s Title: Senior Manager, Content Development

      • Instructor’s Affiliation:  i2e

      • Instructor’s Email: outreach@aph.org Primary Core or ECC Area: 

  • Assistive Technology Target Audience: Teachers, Parents, Assistive Technology Specialists

  • Pre-requisite knowledge:  None

  • Lesson Plan Goal: Introduce participants to the Code Jumper kit and three introductory lessons developed for the kit.

  • Learning Objectives:  

      • Participants will examine three resources designed for professionals to utilize Code Jumper in the classroom setting.

      • Participants will name five elements of the Code Jumper kit used in lessons two, five, and six.

      • Participants will describe how to design a simple program that uses a sequence of commands.

      • Participants will describe a bug, and then identify how to fix a bug.

      • Participants will describe a loop and how to create a program with a loop.

  • Materials Needed:  

  • Pre-work:

      • Explore Kit

      • Install Code Jumper App

      • Download Lessons 2, 5, and 6

      • Change Sound so it is Coming from Computer and not Hub

          • Once the Hub is connected, all computer sound might be routed to the Hub; if so, your screen reader, music, and other audio will play from the Hub.

          • You can change the playback device by going to the Speakers/Headphones settings on your computer. Make sure your computer is not muted.

          • Contact APH at 800.223.1839 if additional support is needed for sound configuration.

Code Jumper engages all learners from elementary to middle school in block coding instruction. Join this webinar and learn how Code Jumper ignites interest in computer science activities. We will unpack the Code Jumper kit, demonstrate the pods and app, and dig into Lesson 2: Sequencing and Algorithms to enable you and your students to start coding.

    • Instructors: Joe Hodge and Jim Sullivan

    • Primary Core or ECC Area:  Assistive Technology

    • Target Audience: Teachers - Visually Impaired, STEAM and STEM Teachers, Assistive Technology Instructors, Paraprofessionals, Students, Parents

    • Pre-requisite knowledge:   None

    • Lesson Plan Goal:  The participant will explain how Code Jumper can be used in both individual and group instruction.

    • Learning Objectives:  

        • The participant will describe at least 3 ways Code Jumper can engage students in learning block coding.

        • The participant will list at least 3 ways students can express their understanding of block coding concepts using Code Jumper.

        • The participant will list two ways the lesson, Algorithms and Sequences can be used in group and individual instructional settings.

    • Materials Needed:  Code Jumper Lesson 2

Code Jumper supports all students in developing the seven core practices identified in the K-12 Computer Science Framework. Through an examination of Lesson 4: Threads, we will highlight each core practice. We will also discuss how students can collaborate with Code Jumper to develop a foundation of computer coding knowledge.

  • Instructor: Joe Hodge

      • Instructor’s Title: Technical Innovations Product Manager

      • Instructor’s Affiliation: APH

  • Instructor:   Jim Sullivan

      • Instructor’s Title: Director, Social Enterprise

      • Instructor’s Affiliation:  APH

  • Primary Core or ECC Area:  Assistive Technology

  • Target Audience: Teacher - TVI, Teacher – STEAM / STEM, Administrator, Parent, Student, Assistive Technology Instructor

  • Pre-requisite knowledge:   None

  • Lesson Plan Goal:  The participant will identify how Code Jumper aligns with the 7 code practices of the K-12 Computer Science Framework.

  • Learning Objectives:  

      • The participant will identify 7 core practices of the K-12 Computer Science Framework.

      • The participant will list 4 parts of the Code Jumper Lesson Plan structure.

      • The participant will describe what threading is and identify how threads are created in Code Jumper.

  • Materials Needed:  Lesson 4

Repetition is a key component of learning any new skill. In this webinar, we’ll explore how keeping a Computer Science journal can activate and reinforce skills learned during Code Jumper lessons. Get in the habit of coding while we explore repetition in coding with Lesson 6: Loops.

  • Instructor:   Joe Hodge

      • Instructor’s Title:  Technical Innovations Product Manager

      • Instructor’s Affiliation: APH 

  • Instructor:   Betsy Anne Huggins

      • Instructor’s Title: Engagement and Training Specialist

      • Instructor’s Affiliation:  APH

  • Primary Core or ECC Area:  Assistive Technology

  • Target Audience: Teacher - TVI, Teacher – STEAM / STEM, Administrator, Parent, Student, Assistive Technology Instructor

  • Pre-requisite knowledge:   None

  • Lesson Plan Goal:  The participant will understand the concept of a loop in computer coding through the exploration of Code Jumper Lesson 6: Loops.

  • Learning Objectives:  

      • The participant will list the steps to pair the Code Jumper Hub with a Windows computer.

      • The participant will explore 4 examples of computer science journaling.

      • The participant will summarize content to be included in the student’s computer science journal.

      • The participant will identify 3 benefits of journaling for elementary school computer science students.

  • Materials Needed: None

The experts agree: an early introduction to coding can build a student’s confidence in math and science and an interest in pursuing STEM. But coding has historically been inaccessible to many. Get inspired by women who code and learn how to jump start your students' interest in computer science with Code Jumper, a unique, physical system for teaching block coding

  • Instructor:  Robin Lowell

      • Instructor’s Title: Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments / Senior Accessibility Manager, i2e

      • Instructor’s Affiliation: i2e

      • Instructor’s Email: outreach@aph.org

  • Lesson Plan Goal:  The participant will clarify the importance of teaching block control to students and introduce Code Jumper as a solution for all students.

  • Learning Objectives:

      • The participant will list three skills students can attain by learning coding.

      • The participant will understand the importance of introducing coding to students at a young age.

      • The participant will identify two ways to get started teaching Code Jumper to your students.

      • The participant will examine the impact of Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson’s contributions to the field of computer science.

Join us as we highlight three mainstream computer coding tools, discuss where accessibility challenges exist, and demonstrate either how APH has made such tools accessible, or show equivalent accessible tools that have been created to solidify appropriate grade level skills. You will also have the opportunity to share needs in your classrooms where coding resources are not accessible, and how APH can help optimize those tools for all users.

Are you interested in holding your own STEAM program? Feel free to use the linked, premade activity plans, assembled by the WCBVI Short Course team. The plans include student expectations, directions for activities, and a sample schedule. Feel free to make a copy of this document and tailor to your own needs.

Hands-On Learning

Apps and Resources for the iPad

CodeQuest

Swift Playgrounds

Coding and Electronics Access Kits

Note: APH manufactures “Access Kits” used to modify commercially available products for students who are blind or visually impaired. The sets from APH are available using Quota Funds and include the commercially available set as well.

General Resources:

Snap Circuits Jr. Access Kit

Snapino Access Kit

RC Snap Rover Access Kit

BRIC: Structures Access Kit

Code Jumper


APH Coding Symposium 2021

Day One Content:

Day One Details

  • Day 1 - Keynote 1: Ted Henter, Formerly Founder and President of Henter-Joyce (developers of Jaws), retired -- This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 1 - Presentation 1: Coding is accessible for everyone! - Glen Gordon, Software Fellow, Freedom Scientific/JAWS/Vispero

      • A presentation on the accessibility of coding will focus on the problems that individuals with visual impairments have that are not related to coding but rather are related to the technology environment that surrounds and presents coding. This creates a false sense of inaccessibility to coding itself. Learning the basics of coding and hearing about languages that might be more conducive to getting started can inspire youth to overcome their initial attitudes surrounding coding and the difficulty in getting going. How can students use a screen reader to make something happen? Stories or examples of how and why coding is accessible.

  • Day 1 - Panel 1: What are Coders and what do they do?

      • Moderator: Steve Clower, Desmos

      • Panelists:

          • Juan Hernandez, Best Friends Animal Society

          • Stephanie Ludi, University of North Texas

          • Ken Perry, APH

          • Blind programmers will answer questions about how they advanced into their position and what a typical day of coding entails including identifying obstacles and avenues to success.

  • Day 1 - Panel 2: If I learn how to code, do I have to be a Programmer?

      • Moderator: Pete Denman, Intel

      • Panelists:

          • Joe Hodge, APH

          • Peter Tucic, HumanWare

          • Ka Li, Fable Tech Labs

      • Not everyone who learns to code becomes a programmer. Participants will answer questions about how their career paths relate to coding and how learning to code helped their career success.

  • Day 1 - Keynote 2: Peter Tucic, HumanWare Brand Ambassador – Blindness Products, HumanWare

      • This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 1 - Presentation 2: What do the job availability and future of technology employment look like? - Dean Hudson, Accessibility Technical Evangelist, Env, Policy & Soc Initiatives, Apple, Inc.

      • A presentation on job availability and the future of technology employment will identify questions such as: What do coding jobs look like? What is the difference between a backend and frontend developer? What does the current job market for programmers and non-programmers look like? Is it true that a college education is not always necessary to finding employment in this field? What are employers seeking in entry-level positions and what is different for other positions? What is the importance of knowing how to code for jobs that do not require programming but are related and intertwined with code?

  • Day 1 - Panel 3: What does it take to get a job in coding?

      • Moderator: Anna Thielke, CVS Health

      • Panelists:

          • Matthew Ballinger, Oregon Commission for the Blind

          • Carl Wise, Vispero

          • Mike Hess, Blind Institute of Technology

      • Panelists representing Hiring Managers, Career and Transition Agencies, and blindness technology manufacturers and vendors will explain the opportunities available to blind and low vision candidates in seeking positions in the field of technology.

  • Day 1 - Panel 4: How do I turn a cool tech idea into a business?

      • Moderator: Mike May, Good Maps/Sendaro

      • Panelists:

          • Dave Pinto, YesAccessible! and The Academy of Music for the Blind (AMB)

          • John Gardner, ViewPlus

          • Joe Jorgenson, Accessibyte

      • Panelists will detail how they started businesses and sought out taking an idea and making it a product or service. Students will learn entrepreneurship skills and identify with successes of panelists.

Day Two Content:

Day Two Details

  • Day 2 - Keynote 1: Kisiah Timmons, MBA, CPACC- Principal Product Designer – Mobile Apps, Verizon Media –

      • This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 2 - Presentation 1: Printf (“Are there prerequisites to learning how to code?\r\n”); That’s not a typo, folks! - Ken Perry- Senior Software Engineer, American Printing House for the Blind –

      • A presentation identifying the prerequisites to learning and advancing knowledge in coding including addressing questions such as: What prerequisite skills do you need to know to get started in coding? What skills do you need to take your familiarity with code to the next level? What does a coder’s technology toolbox look like, and how versatile does a coder need to be with their screen access software? What level of familiarity does a student interested in coding need to have to learn about their primary operating system, other operating systems, word processors, the internet, and other software?

  • Day 2 - Panel 1: What does it take to get a job in coding?

      • Moderator: Russell Shaffer, Walmart

      • Panelists:

          • Enjie Hall, University of Toledo

          • Heather Kennedy-MacKenzie, APH

          • Cory Joseph, CVS Health

      • Panelists representing Hiring Managers, Career and Transition Agencies, and blindness technology manufacturers and vendors will explain the opportunities available to blind and low vision candidates in seeking positions in the field of technology.

  • Day 2 - Panel 2: How do I turn a cool tech idea into a business?

      • Moderator: Alex Russamanno, New Haptics

      • Panelists:

          • Bill McCann, Dancing Dots

          • Hans Jorgen Wiberg, Be My Eyes

          • Tom Pey, WayMap

      • Panelists will detail how they started businesses and sought out taking an idea and making it a product or service. Students will learn entrepreneurship skills and identify with successes of panelists.

  • Day 2 - Keynote 2: Laura Allen, Head of Strategy, Accessibility & Disability Inclusion, Google –

      • This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 2 - Presentation 2: Dealing with the Inaccessible - Sina Bahram, President and Founder, Prime Access Consulting, Inc. –

      • A presentation will focus on dealing with the inaccessible addressing questions such as:

          • What do you do with so much inaccessible content?

          • How can students engage in a space that is not designed for screen reader users?

          • Are there avenues and ways around these problems?

          • What can students do to advocate for themselves and others in similar situations?

  • Day 2 - Panel 3: How do University programs support accessible coding?

      • Moderator: JooYoung Seo, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

      • Panelists:

          • Andy Stefik, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

          • Richard Ladner, University of Washington

          • Sean Mealin, SAS Institute

      • University professors will discuss the prerequisites necessary to enter a university program and will address the content and expectations focused on in the program as well as projects and outcomes associated with university computer science programs.

  • Day 2 - Panel 4: How do we teach coding to students with visual impairments?

      • Moderator: Robin Lowell, i2e

      • Panelists:

          • Vanessa Herndon, CSB

          • Amanda Rodda, Washington State School for the Blind

          • Sara Larkin, Iowa Ed. Services

      • Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments that focus on teaching technology and computer science will share strategies and curricula used to promote technology acquisition and integration as well as strategies to build computer science programs in K-12 education.

Day Three Content:

Day Three Details

  • Day 3 - Keynote 1: Jyotsna Kaki, Program Manager, Google –

      • This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 3 - Presentation 1: Learning by Making: Going from Idea to App - Saqib Shaikh, Software Engineer, Microsoft/Seeing AI –

      • A presentation outlining the development of an app including addressing questions such as: What does it take to create an app? How is creating an app different from other types of coding? What is the process of app development? Is creating an app something that students can do on their own or with a small group of friends or is it something the requires a team of programmers?

  • Day 3 - Panel 1: How do University programs support accessible coding?

      • Moderator: Sile O’Modhrain, University of Michigan

      • Panelists:

          • Lauren Milne, Macalester College

          • Jeffery Bigham, Carnegie Mellon University

          • Donal Fitzpatrick, Dublin City University

      • University professors will discuss the prerequisites necessary to enter a university program and will address the content and expectations focused on in the program as well as projects and outcomes associated with university computer science programs.

  • Day 3 - Panel 2: How do we teach coding to students with visual impairments

      • Moderator: Diane Brauner, Perkins

      • Panelists:

          • Jennifer Bliss, Iowa Ed. Services

          • Gina Fugate, Maryland School for the Blind

          • Tim Lockwood, NCECBVI

      • Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments that focus on teaching technology and computer science will share strategies and curricula used to promote technology acquisition and integration as well as strategies to build computer science programs in K-12 education.

  • Day 3 - Keynote 2: Michael Forzano, Software Engineer, Retail Accessibility, Amazon –

      • This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 3 - Presentation 2: Learning to Code; It’s Not Just for Programmers - Greg Stilson, Head Of Global Innovation, American Printing House for the Blind –

      • A presentation will address that learning to code is not just for programmers. It will address questions such as whether there are career opportunities related to coding aside from programming? What level of coding knowledge will help a non-programmer to develop ideas and participate in technology and modern business practices?

  • Day 3 - Panel 3: What are Coders and what do they do?

      • Moderator: Ed Scott, Good Maps

      • Panelists:

          • Michael Forzano, Amazon

          • Lucas Radaelli, Google

          • Austin Seraphin, Accessibility Consultant

      • Blind programmers will answer questions about how they advanced into their position and what a typical day of coding entails including identifying obstacles and avenues to success.

  • Day 3 - Panel 4: If I learn how to code, do I have to be a Programmer?

      • Moderator: Peter Torpey, Xerox/Eyes on Success

      • Panelists:

          • Greg Stilson, APH

          • Darryl Adams, Intel

          • Brian Buhrow, ViaNet Communications/NFB

      • Not everyone who learns to code becomes a programmer. Participants will answer questions about how their career paths relate to coding and how learning to code helped their career success.

Day Four Content

Day Four Details

  • Day 4 - Keynote 1: Leonie Watson, Director, TetraLogical –

      • This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 4 - Presentation 1: Coding for K-12 Students - Sara Larkin, Statewide Math Consultant, Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Jennifer Bliss, STEM Consultant, Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

      • A presentation on teaching coding to K-12 students including identifying curriculum resources and the roles TVI and parents can play in ensuring equitable access to school coding curricula including addressing questions including what is available for teachers and parents to introduce to students to coding and further develop their coding skills? What resources are available to continue discovering accessible content? What can teachers and parents do during Hour of Code and other coding opportunities that limit the participation of visually impaired students?

  • Day 4 - Q&A 1: Meet the Coders and Professionals in the field of coding

      • Steve Clower, Desmos

      • Greg Stilson, APH

      • Darryl Adams, Intel

      • Lucas Radaelli, Google

      • Peter Torpey, Xerox/Eyes on Success

  • Day 4 - Q&A 2: Meet the Professionals who get you hired and Entrepreneurs who are today’s change makers

      • Enjie Hall, University of Toledo

      • Heather Kennedy-MacKenzie, APH

      • Bill McCann, Dancing Dots

      • Corey Joseph, CVS Health

      • Mike Hess, Blind Institute of Technology

      • John Gardner, ViewPlus

  • Day 4 - Q&A 3: Meet the Instructors teaching code in K-12 and higher education

      • O’Modhrain, University of Michigan

      • Donal Fitzpatrick, Dublin City University

      • Diane Brauner, Perkins

      • Jennifer Bliss, Iowa Ed. Services

      • Gina Fugate, Maryland School for the Blind

      • Sean Mealin, SAS Institute/NC State

  • Day 4 - Coding Camp Info and Scholarship Awards - Round 1

      • Adrian Amandi, CSB

      • Michael Wood, Vispero

      • David Bradburn, HumanWare

      • Anne Durham, APH

  • Day 4 - Keynote 2: Jennison Asuncion, Head of Accessibility Engineering Evangelism, LinkedIn –

      • This Keynote address highlights the opportunities that Coding provides to blind or low vision individuals. Students will be encouraged to identify with pathways currently available to them and pursuable in their future.

  • Day 4 - Presentation 2: Learning to Code, With or Without School - Chancey Fleet, Assistive Technology Coordinator, New York Public Library –

      • A presentation will address how participants will learn how to code with or without school including addressing questions: What can someone do to continue learning code and technology as a way to seek employment or for leisure? Is going to college necessary? What avenues are there that can be combined with formal education for a student who is interested in coding? What are the benefits of learning and continuing to learn code?

  • Day 4 - Q&A 4: Meet the Coders and Professionals in the field of coding

      • Kisiah Timmons, Verizon Media

      • Ken Perry, APH

      • Ka Li, Fable Tech Labs

      • Austin Seraphin, Accessibility Consultant

      • Joe Hodge, APH

      • Glen Gordon, JAWS/Vispero

      • Brian Buhrow, ViaNet Communications/NFB

  • Day 4 - Q&A 5: Meet the Professionals who get you hired and Entrepreneurs who are today’s change makers

      • Enjie Hall, University of Toledo

      • Heather Kennedy-MacKenzie, APH

      • Joe Jorgenson, Accessibyte

      • Corey Joseph, CVS Health

  • Day 4 - Q&A 6: Meet the Instructors teaching code in K-12 and higher education

      • Gina Fugate, Maryland School for the Blind

      • Vanessa Herndon, CSB

      • Amanda Rodda, Washington State School for the Blind

      • Sara Larkin, Iowa Ed. Services

      • Andy Stefik, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  • Day 4 - Coding Camp Info and Scholarship Awards - Round 2

      • Adrian Amandi, CSB

      • Joseph McDaniel, Vispero

      • Peter Tucic, HumanWare

      • Anne Durham, APH