Experts Look to Jumpstart Computer Science Interest for Kids Who Are Blind

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

According to a study published by the Lancet Global Health Journal, there are around 252.6 million people in the world who are blind or severely affected by vision loss. Specifically, in the United States, Latinos have higher rates of developing visual impairment, blindness, diabetic eye disease and cataracts than other ethnic groups. The students at New College Worcester are all blind or with low vision, and they are part of a group of students who have spent the previous school year beta testing Project Torino, a research project that led to the development of a new product called Code Jumper. It’s a physical programming language that is designed to be inclusive of children with all ranges of vision. Microsoft has announced plans to transfer the research and technology behind Code Jumper to the American Printing House for the Blind, a nonprofit based in Louisville, Kentucky, that creates and distributes products and services for people who are blind or with low vision. Over the next five years, APH plans to offer Code Jumper and related curriculum to students throughout the world, with a target audience of students who are 7 to 11 years old. The impetus for Code Jumper began about four years ago, when Cecily Morrison, a Microsoft researcher and computer scientist, began exploring technology options for her son, Ronan, who was born blind.

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