Microsoft has been working on a physical programming language, Code Jumper, for blind and visually impaired children to learn coding by connecting physical blocks together.
Code Jumper, which Microsoft originally developed as Project Torino, a couple of years ago, is designed to offer students between the ages of seven and eleven a basic understanding of coding. Beginning as an improved version of block coding for the visually impaired, it helped address issues where traditional screen readers or magnifiers weren’t enough.
The brightly colored blocks, which can be the size of a softball, are used for commands. Each different size is meant for a different command, and in order to build a program, the children have to connect them together.
Having worked closely with the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) to tweak its system, Microsoft is now handing its work off to the APH so students can start to gain access to it. This year, the APH will release Code Jumper in Australia, Canada, India, the UK, and the US, and over the next five years, there should be worldwide availability.