In an IT classroom in the UK, kids have gathered to show off their coding skills.
But instead of poking at tablet screens or typing into laptops, these students are taking out brightly-colored plastic pods, connecting them with thick white wires and then adjusting the pods’ buttons and knobs.
These physical components will be used to create computer programs that can tell stories, make music and even crack jokes.
The students at New College Worcester are all blind or have low vision, and they are part of a group of students across the UK who have spent the previous school year beta testing Project Torino, a research project that led to the development of a new product called Code Jumper. It’s a physical programming language that is designed to be inclusive of children with all ranges of vision.
Microsoft has announced plans to transfer the research and technology behind Code Jumper to the American Printing House for the Blind, a nonprofit based in Louisville, Kentucky, that creates and distributes products and services for people who are blind or with low vision.
Over the next five years, APH plans to offer Code Jumper and related curriculum to students throughout the world, with a target audience of students who are 7 to 11 years old.