Coding is a hot topic! Industry trends indicate that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs available; however, colleges are anticipated to only graduate 400,000 computer science students. Organizations such as Code.org (Hour of Code) and Girls Who Code were designed to encourage students of all ages to be introduced to coding. According to the developer survey by Stack Overflow’s, only 1.4% of today’s programmers self-identify as visually impaired.
Coding – the language of technology – is an essential skill. How can students with visual impairments and blindness be included in school coding activities? Apple has designed Swift, a powerful coding language for everyone. First-time coders can use Swift Playgrounds, an interactive, accessible iPad app which teaches coding. Swift has built-in coding lessons.
Read about how Apple teamed up with 6 schools for the blind and/or deaf to teach Everyone Can Code curriculum to students and staff. Article: Apple Brings Everyone Can Code to schools serving blind and deaf students nationwide.
Teachers of the Visually Impaired who are successfully using Swift Playgrounds with students, have mentioned that creating tactile models to accompany the Swift Playgrounds activities can be very helpful. More on that in a future Paths to Technology post!
The video below was filmed during Apple’s visit to the Texas School for the Blind. The video demonstrates students using Swift Playgrounds with VoiceOver (screen reader) to create code that runs a small drone.
Download the free Swift Playgrounds App here.
Swift Playgrounds Curriculum Guide PDF
Download the free Swift Playgrounds: Learn to Code 1&2 here.
By Diane Brauner