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Apple's Everyone Can Code Curriculum Expanding to Schools Serving Blind and Deaf Students

Apple today on Global Accessibility Awareness Day announced that its Everyone Can Code curriculum is expanding to schools serving deaf, blind, or visually impaired students, starting with various locations in the United States in the fall.


Initial list of participating schools:
  • California School for the Blind (Fremont, CA)
  • California School for the Deaf (Fremont, CA)
  • District 75/Citywide Programs (New York, NY)
  • Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (St. Augustine, FL)
  • Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Winnetka, IL)
  • Perkins School for the Blind (Watertown, MA)
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Austin, TX)
  • Texas School for the Deaf (Austin, TX)
Everyone Can Code enables students of all ages to learn how to code with Apple's open source programming language Swift. The curriculum involves the iPad app Swift Playgrounds, which lets students use real code to solve puzzles and control characters, and the iBooks course App Development with Swift.


Apple has tailored Everyone Can Code to work with its accessibility features, ranging from its screen-reading technology VoiceOver to Switch Control, which enables switches, joysticks, and other adaptive devices to control what is on the screen.
Apple collaborated with engineers, educators, and programmers from various accessibility communities to make Everyone Can Code as accessible as possible and will work in close coordination with schools to augment the curricula as needed. This will include providing additional tools and resources such as tactile maps to enhance the understanding of coding environments for non-visual learners.
Apple CEO Tim Cook:
Apple's mission is to make products as accessible as possible. We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology. We hope to bring Everyone Can Code to even more schools around the world serving students with disabilities.
Bill Daugherty, superintendent at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, offered praise for the initiative:
Our students were tremendously excited at our first Everyone Can Code session earlier this year. There are more than 10,400 students with visual impairments in Texas, and the development of this curricula is going to be a big step in opening up coding opportunities for our students and those across the nation.
Apple also announced that, throughout May, all of its retail stores will host accessibility-related sessions for customers. On May 17, Apple's corporate offices in Cupertino, Austin, Cork, and London will hold similar events.


Apple has also revamped the accessibility section of its website for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which has promoted digital accessibility and inclusion for people with all disabilities on the third Thursday of May every year since 2012.



Top Rated Comments

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27 weeks ago

I'd hate to sound like an *******, but coding for blind kids? The issues with doing text to speech and speech to text just for natural languages outside of traditional paper media (books, etc.) are already kind of significant and being a programmer myself I can't think of any way of doing completely sightless coding without it being completely unintuitive. More power to those who are able to make the hurdle and start doing something productive, but I have a feeling it's just going to be an insurmountable obstacle and huge a source of frustration for just about all of them.

Deaf kids I can understand because the only significant additional barrier they have is how different the syntax (language structure, which is very important in programming) is between sign language and spoken languages, which inspired the ones used in programming languages to a quite high degree (Grace Hopper and many other computing language pioneers insisted programming languages needed to

So, because knowledge is power… I am completely blind and work with students at one of the schools on this list. It is this kind of misconception that makes it difficult for the blind to get jobs. You feel programming is insurmountable because you can’t imagine how you would perform that kind of task. Most people imagine all the scary parts about being blind but have no idea about the kind of rehabilitation/adaptive techniques or Assistive Technologies that exist to help people who are blind to interact with technology and by extension the world around them. I started using Dos and Unix/Linux shell accounts during middle school in the early 90s, then various versions of Linux, even before there was a screen reader for the Linux console. I installed Slackware by memorizing the order of pressing certain keys and the only way I knew if I was successful is if when I issued the command to send the terminal output to the serial port if something appeared on my Dos terminal. Today, every major platform has a built-in screen reader. This allows the person who is blind the ability to interact with their computer using the keyboard and hearing synthesized speech. In fact, my first speech synthesizer was a hardware device that connected via serial port. As the processing power of computers could accommodate the software speech, hardware synthesizers became less relevant. That console screen reader for Linux, speak up, was written by a blind programmer from Canada. Speakup is a screen reader that gets compiled along with the kernel either directly or as a set of modules. Commercial screen readers for Windows exist, Narrator is getting to a usable point on later builds of Windows 10. There is a completely free open source screen reader for Windows called NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access) that is used all over the world and the two developers who created it are completely blind. Apple likes VoiceOver, Android has Talkback, Gnome and projects based around it have Orca. Back to me, I’ve been programming in C++ since high school, now Python, PHP, PEARL and I’ve been slowly learning Swift when I have time. I am an Assistive Technology Specialist. I have a full-time job with benefits, own a house, have traveled to developing countries in Central America to volunteer to provide technology instruction to teachers of the visually impaired at institutes for the blind, nationally to present at conferences, am an amateur radio operator and have my bachelor’s degree in International Relations. I just started grad school and I am studying Instructional Technology with a primary focus on the best methods to deliver distance learning courses to teachers of the visually impaired in developing countries. The truth is that the technology related fields are areas of work where the blind can contribute and earn a regular salary instead of government social welfare which leads them like me to have a normal quality of life and all the benefits that go along with it. If you are ever able to interview or hire someone who is blind, do not discount their abilities based on what you believe that your abilities would be in that situation because your ideas of your abilities would be limited by your lack of experience or understanding of what is possible. I could write about so many other examples of people who are blind who work in the STEM fields but so can you, a little Googling goes a long way. I hope this helps clear up some of these sadly too common misconceptions.
Rating: 5 Votes
27 weeks ago

Everyone can code, but the question is should everyone code? All this will do is flood the market with programmers and lower the wages for everyone in the field even though as Markoth said there's going to be a huge difference of code quality between all of them.

There's a good reason we don't see "Everyone can XYZ" for other job categories.


Just like everyone can write. Not everyone can write a good novel or poetry.

While programming should be available to students. It should be treated like art class, drama, auto shop, wood shop, advanced courses, sports, &c. Only those interested and capable need apply.
Rating: 3 Votes
27 weeks ago

Everyone can code, but the question is should everyone code? All this will do is flood the market with programmers and lower the wages for everyone in the field even though as Markoth said there's going to be a huge difference of code quality between all of them.

There's a good reason we don't see "Everyone can XYZ" for other job categories.


Coding isn't necessarily a category in itself, but more of a tool similar to being good (or even just okay-ish) at math. Nobody's getting replaced by mathematicians, but numbers just so happen to be a brilliant invention which requires some level of insight to understand.
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago
My wife's parents and about half of her aunts and uncles are deaf and I know some sign language myself. Being a programmer sounds like a really great job for a deaf person. Being a web dev/designer myself, I often wish I could have complete silence so that I could concentrate. Furthermore, most communication is done through Slack or other text-based chat anyway—and literally the rest of your job is typing in code and posting on Stack Exchange, lol.

Considering how difficult it can be for deaf people to find full-time work sometimes (based on my wife's family) this sounds like a great idea to show these kids that yes, you can be successful in a high paying job without needing to rely on disability checks for the rest of your life. Not that there's anything wrong with disability checks, but I know my mother-in-law wishes she didn't have to take them. She was born with a birth defect which caused deafness and all of her brothers and sisters have had really successful careers while she was left behind and I can see how that affects her well-being when she is around them at gatherings. Meanwhile her father's side is genetic and so about half of them have it and the ones that do have struggled immensely. There is a real problem with people who have disabilities being left behind in our society so it's great that Apple is doing this.
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago

It comes down to logic if you can break a problem down into its logic parts you can code.

Coding well is more akin to keeping your room organized than logical flow. Basic programming is all about learning logic, but once you've got that down, organization becomes your top priority. It's only once you've mastered logic, and have developed good code organizational skills, that you can consider yourself a decent programmer. Keeping your code organized is really a full-time job, and a lot of devs, even some of the good ones, tend to do only a somewhat mediocre job at that.
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago
I believe that everyone can code, but I don't believe most people are willing to take the time, or make the effort to figure it out. Even being bad at programming isn't easy. Being good at it can take years, and most don't last that long.
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago
]Maybe the reason Apple added this for blind and deaf people is that XCode 9.3.1 still didn't fix the 'diagnosticd' and 'homed' issue with playgrounds that has sighted people worriedly staring at Activity Monitor and hearing their Macs fans running on high while those other folks may not notice either of them. :mad:
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago

The ad isn't about comparing flagship smartphones, it's about enticing frustrated iPhone 6 users to switch to Samsung/Android! The vast majority of iPhone users are on older hardware -- hence the incessant talk about the next "super cycle" upgrade -- so this is an extremely savvy marketing move on Samsung's part. Most people who watch this ad will immediately identify with the performance issues that it highlights -- it's really that simple.



I think you you're looking for this thread:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/samsung-compares-galaxy-s9-to-very-slow-iphone-6-in-frivolous-ad.2119150/page-2#post-26064995

:D
[doublepost=1526578268][/doublepost]This has been discussed (anytime these code camp topics come up), but to just say it again: there are skills learned through the introduction of programming basics that are incredibly useful outside being a professional software developer. Problem identification, logic, time management, teamwork and communication - skills that are useful even outside of an occupation. At the very least, you get kids thinking and engaged and a [potentially] positive experience, and who knows, maybe the next great computer scientist/software engineer will come from one of these events :)
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago

I believe that everyone can code, but I don't believe most people are willing to take the time, or make the effort to figure it out. Even being bad at programming isn't easy. Being good at it can take years, and most don't last that long.


It comes down to logic if you can break a problem down into its logic parts you can code.
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago
What would be nice is if Apple can teach a language like Python or JavaScript that isn't proprietary to Apple so that "everyone" can contribute to the world and not just Apple.
Rating: 1 Votes

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