Tool to help visually impaired children learn how to code launched in UK

Post date: 
Monday, 20 January 2020

Tool to help visually impaired children learn how to code launched in UK

An educational tool to help primary school children with vision impairment learn how to code has been launched on to the UK market by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

The award-winning tool, called Code Jumper is the first of its kind. It was designed by Microsoft and developed by American Printing House (APH) as a tactile teaching aid that is fully accessible for all children – including those with vision impairment. It is formed of a series of pods, each of which contains a single line of code that represents a set of commands. They can be joined together in different sequences to create a programme.

Computer coding and programming skills are a key National Curriculum subject and it is hoped that Code Jumper will help children from the age of seven get to grips with coding. The idea for the project came from Cecily Morrison, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. Teaching children with a vision impairment how to code is a cause close to Cecily’s heart as her seven-year-old son was born blind.

Cecily said: “The idea for Code Jumper was inspired by working with children who were blind or visually impaired who were excited to create their own technological future, after my son was born blind. The team wanted to create something that excited the hands of blind or visually impaired children as well as their mainstream peers.”

RNIB Director of Services, David Clarke said: “Code Jumper is a real game-changer in the accessible education field. With the advent of the digital age, many teaching aids for virtual skills – such as coding and web design – are based in a virtual space, so these subjects can be intangible and inaccessible to those who can’t see and feel it. Code Jumper is different. It makes virtual ideas tangible in a form that children can physically touch and move around.

“By helping children with a vision impairment learn how to code, this product is opening up coding and computer programming as a viable career path to thousands of young people who might otherwise not have considered it. RNIB is delighted to be a part of bringing Code Jumper to the UK and breaking down barriers to learning for children across the nation.”

CEO of American Printing House (APH), Craig Meador said: “Code Jumper shows the importance of companies working together for a greater good. We are so grateful to be working with Microsoft and our international distribution partners HumanWare and the RNIB. Together we are providing a product that is the first of its kind that will break down barriers for students across the globe.”

 

Notes to editors

All media enquiries to the RNIB press office on 0207 391 2223 or [email protected]. For urgent enquiries out-of-hours, please call 07968 482812.

About RNIB

We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.

RNIB. See differently. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk