Accessible K-12 Computer Science Resources

Over the past few years, many initiatives have worked to increase the participation of K-12 students in computer science.  Unfortunately, many of the tools and curricula used are not accessible to students with disabilities, particularly students who are blind or visually impaired.  Based at the University of Washington and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, AccessCSforAll works to increase the successful participation of students with disabilities in K-12 computing through the development of tools, resources, curricula, and communities.  

Accessible tools and initatives include:

  • The Quorum programming language, which is born accessible and has been used extensively with blind and visually impaired students.  There are various curricula on the Quorum website that use the programming language..  A good place to start are with the Hour of Code tutorials.
  • There is also an accessible version of Code.org's Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles course that utilizes Quorum. If a blind student was interested in CS, they might advocate to get that course offered at their school.  It has been used at schools for the blind. We have also worked with teachers that aren't at schools for the blind who are teaching the standard Code.org curriculum and will utilize the Quorum version for a blind student in their class.  
  • Blocks4All, developed by Lauren Milne is an accessible block-based programming language that works with a Dash robot.
  • Bootstrap has really been working hard the past few years on accessibility.  Their computer science curricula can be integrated into math classes or standalone.
  • AccessComputing, a National Science Foundation funded project works to increase the participation of people with disabilities in computing education and carerers. The AccessComputing team for students with disabilities in computing fields is open to high school, 2-year, 4-year, and graduate students studying computing fields.  A high school student who is a good fit would be someone who is interested in majoring in a computing-related fields in college.  Team members participate in online mentoring and professional development activities.  
  • In 2018, we partnered with the CSforAll Consortium on the CSforAll Consortium Accessibility Pledge.  Over 125 computer science educators have signed a pledge to ensure that CS education is accessible.  As you're likely aware, many of the CS programming tools used in K-12 are extremely visual and are not accessible.  Find resources and a list of individuals who have signed the pledge on their website.

AccessCSforAll also serves as a resource for educators who have questions related to accessibility.  Reach out to us by emailing accesscsforall@uw.edu.