As several of my students on my caseload approach transition age, we are continuing to find ways to explore coding as a skill for them to explore as a possible career path.
Apple has recently released a free coding app called “Playgrounds” which teaches students the basics of Apple’s Swift coding language.
For students with visual impairments, exposing students with visual impairments to this skill can help them become effective coders and problem solvers with marketable skills.
I recently introduced Playgrounds to one of my secondary students who relies on Voice Over and Zoom to access the iPad.
Here is what we found out about Playground’s current accessibility features:
- The app is compatible with Voice Over. It is able to read all the text features in the app.
- It was challenging for my student to fully see the visual details of the scene and actions of the character on the screen.
- Our student needed a working set of eyes on a few of the codes when she made an error in the code and there were very few audio visual descriptions to help discern where her character was on the screen.
My two cents
The word on the street is that Apple is piloting a Braille coding program for students with visual impairments. This is exciting news and I am so excited to hear about the outcomes of their pilot.
In the meantime, it would be great if there was some an audio visual description describing the character whose moves are being coded to the person whose visually impaired.