Coding has gone mainstream! Coding concepts are being integrated into core subjects and are being introduced in preschool. Learn how students with visual impairments and blindness can fully and equally participate in coding concept activities! Below is a summary of Paths to Technology posts on coding-related topics including apps, coding concepts, robots, programming languages, success stories, and of course fun activities! Find out what is being used in mainstream classrooms and how to modify these activities - if needed - to be accessible for students with visual impairments. This list is organized by categories to help TVIs quickly fnd what they are looking for.
What are TVIs responsible for?
- TVIs typically are not computer scientists or programmers
- TVIs are responsible for modifying materials
- TVIs are responsible for pre-teaching VI-specific concepts
- TVIs are responsible for teaching the tech skills required to use the apps
Accessible Coding Concepts Activities
Three or four years ago, I started seriously looking for accessible coding concept apps geared for young students and came up empty. While there were many coding concept apps for this age group, at the time, none appeared to be accessible with a screen reader for students with little or no vision. About that time, unplugged coding concepts were being introduced into preschool and early elementary classrooms. While some of these mainstream classroom activities required vision, a number of activities can be modified slightly to enable students who are visually impaired to fully and equally participate with their peers. Check out the post below about accessible coding activities!
The Sequencing Coding Concepts Activities post is designed to help TVIs understand the progression of the unique skills that students who are visually impaired should be taught as they are introduced to coding concepts.
Unplugged Coding Concepts (no tech)
- Egg Carton Unplugged Coding Activity
- Coding Concepts: We’re going on Bear Hunt
- Coding Concepts #2: Brown Bear, Brown Bear
- Coding Concepts #3: Snowy Day
- Coding Unplugged: My Robotic Friends Activity
Coding Concept Apps (accessible apps)
Since mainstream coding concept apps tend to be visual and not accessible, in the fall of 2016, Paths to Technology worked with a computer science student team a the University of North Carolina to develop an accessible coding app called CodeQuest. This app was developed by two teams over the period of two semesters and an education major went on to develop 3D printed tactile models of the app as part of her thesis. This app was designed as a "proof of concept" app to demonstrate to app developers how a coding concept app can be created to be inclusive; the app also intentionally teaches and reinforces tech skills (such as drag-and-drop and picker items) for students who use a screen reader. CodeQuest has been given to APH in 2017 and is anticipated being available for field testing/initial feed back in January 2020. (Read more about CodeQuest - including videos! - in the post, Hidden Resources: Collaborative University AT Projects.) The beta version of CodeQuest was used to encourage app developers, to consider creating accessible coding apps.
Field Testing Opportunity!
FYI: APH will be asking for CodeQuest field testers in December; field testing will be January and February. If you are interested in field testing with a student, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Coding Concepts: Code and Go Robot
- Botley Activities #1: Accessible Robot and Coding Concepts
- CodeSnaps: A SAS Coding App
- Coding Club Activity: SAS CodeSnaps and Sphero Robot
- CodeSnaps Activity Part 2
- Sphero City Activity
Code Jumper: Accessible Programming
- APH stated that Code Jumper will be released for sale in January (both on quota and non-quota). The first release is the Microsoft version and APH is currently working on an Android version. Teachers can go to Codejumper.com to sign up for an email list to receive updates.
- Cubetto: Teaching Children How to code without Screens
- Code-A-Pillar (The robot is accessible and can be run without the app; the app is not accessible)
Coding Obstacle Challenges (Engineer Design Process)
- Coding and Stem: Robot Obstacle Challenges 1
- Coding and STEM: Robot Obstacle Challenges 2 (Hurricane Dorian)
Swift is Apple's coding language for iOS devices. Apple created Swift Playgrounds as a fun app to teach students how to code using Swift. Swift Playgrounds has a teacher's manual and a manual for how to use Swift Playgrounds with VoiceOver. The San Francisco Lighthouse partnered to create/large print tactile diagrams that accompany Swift Playgrounds. There are a variety of posts about Swift Playgrounds on Paths to Technology. Note: Some of these posts were written when Swift Playgrounds first came out and focus on more general information.
- Apple Expands Everyone Can Code to bring more coding resources to teachers and students (includes links to all new puzzle words, student manual and teacher manual, information about preschool coding workshops and more!)
- Apple's New Accessible Coding Resources for Swift Playgrounds
- Getting Started with Swift Playgrounds: Coding
- Understanding Swift Playgrounds - a student create post with videos demonstrating the grid concepts used in Swift Playgrounds
- Swift Playgrounds - the VoiceOver Challenge
- Everyone Can Code: Swift Playgrounds
- Playgrounds App Review
- Swift Playgrounds: Apple's Accessible Coding App for Kids!
- 3D Printing with Playgrounds App
- HopScotch Coding App Review
- Accessible Coding: Quorum
- Quorum Programming Language: Accessible Programming
- Accessible Coding (Quorum and more)
- New Accessible Computer Science Principles Curriculum (Quorum)
- SoloLearn Programming App Review
- Why I Use Repl.it IDE for My Coding Assignments
- Mercythe: An Accessible E-Textbook that Teaches Python Coding!
Coding Apps Reviews that Require Vision
- Fix the Factory App: Teaches Beginning Coding Logic
- Rocket Cupcake Co: Coding iOS App for Kids
- Osmos Coding iOS App Kit
Hour of Code
Additional Coding-Related Posts
- SpecDrums by Sphero: Turn Colors into Sounds and Sounds into Color
- Coding the Muffin Pan (Specdrums Ring)
- Accessible Coding: What's Out There?
- Accessible K-12 Computer Science Resources
- Teaching Coding and Programming Logic to Young Students
- From a Blind Developer's Perspective
- How I Code and Use a Computer at 1,000 Words Per Minute: Sina Bahram
- Blind Apple Engineer Instrumental on Makign Coding Accessible for Blind Students
- Building Mental Maps: preschool to college
- Picture in a Flash: A Tactile Image is Worth a Thousand Words(files to create tactile graphics via PIAF are available for three unplugged book activities)
- Digital Transitions #2: Math Grids
- Paths to Technology website
- Coding posts on Paths to Technology (Note: Coding posts are added regularly, so check back under Technology Search “coding” for new posts!)
- Subscribe to Paths to Technology newsletter
Please share your favorite accessible coding device, application and/or activity!