Microsoft Helps Teach Blind Children How to Code

Theo Holroyd, a pupil at king’s college school in Cambridge, loves nothing more than to code, but until now that has been particularly hard. Theo is blind and the coding program scratch, used at king’s college and across many other schools, just hasn’t worked for him.

Scratch is a visual learning program that uses coloured tiles with functions to teach simple coding (e.g. on X clicked start Y etc.). Microsoft have been trying to combat this problem by creating a physical means of teaching children such as Theo how to code.

The project now under the name Code Jumper, previously named Project Torino during development, uses pods each containing a line of code which represent a command. These commands can be stringed together to create a program which Theo has been testing with the help of his friend Ollie.

The leader of the project Cecily Morrison has had her own motivations for the project as her son was born blind six years ago. Cecily found that many of her son’s older friends wanted to learn code, but it was not possible for her son to follow suite. Cecily devised that Code Jumper should use sound to represent the outcome and with the different pods acting as ways to change the sound.

So far the project has been a success with Theo saying “From not being able to code at all its enabled me to understand all these concepts and then be able to move on to Python which is accessible,”  Theo has also expressed how he would like a career in coding in the future and how he would like to make phones and computers more accessible to people with impaired vision.