Exploring New Areas of Accessible Coding

Two teachers of students with visual impairments and one student examine the accessible coding materialsOver the past month, PRCVI has been exploring ways to extend our coding project. This past week Colton and I had the opportunity to explore some of our ideas with a high school student and her teacher of students with visual impairments. 

Apple developed the Swift Playgrounds app for the iPad to teach programming concepts and the Swift programming language through interactive puzzles. Swift is a programming language, developed by Apple, which is used by developers to code iOS apps. Apple has made the app completely accessible with VoiceOver.

Photo shows a student's hands exploring the tactile diagram of the Swift Playground grid.We were interested in how accessible and usable students find this app as well as whether supplemental resources, such as tactile diagrams of the screen layouts, manipulative commands that could be re-ordered, and use of an external keyboard and braille display. The student we visited had a great time being introduced to this app and was eager to continue learning even after we left! We were also able to get some great feedback about our ideas and suggestions for improvement from the student and TSVI.

If you have a student who is interested in exploring accessible coding at a level more advanced than our Code and Go mouse activity kit, get in touch with Jen to arrange an outreach visit.

Image shows an iPad, refreshable braille display, and tactile diagram of the Swift Playground app.

About the author

Jen Jesso

I have worked in various roles in the field of visual impairment since 2007. In addition to working as a teacher of students with visual impairments, I recently completed coursework to become an orientation and mobility specialist. I have been fortunate to work with the fantastic team at PRCVI since 2014.

I enjoy many aspects of my role at PRCVI, but highlights include working with teachers of students with visual impairments and their students on outreach visits and working on PRCVI initiatives and projects.

Outside of work, my interests include reading, computer programming, swimming, and spending time with friends and family.

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