Microsoft to help introduce visually impaired students to coding with physical blocks

In addition to a slew of new Windows PCs and other products for the education market, Microsoft also announced today that it will be helping more students with visual impairment worldwide learn to code with its Code Jumper program.

As part of that effort, the software giant will be handing over the program's technology to Louisville, Kentucky-based nonprofit American Printing House for the Blind. The organization plans to provide relevant curriculum based on Code Jumper to students aged between seven and 11 over the next half-decade.

Code Jumper is a physical programming language designed to help visually impaired children understand basic coding by connecting physical blocks. The blocks have different sizes for corresponding commands so that students can create a program by connecting them. It's based on Microsoft's Project Torino research that was conducted in collaboration with a group of students with visual disabilities.

The goal of APH over the next couple of years is not only to offer a coding curriculum to students but also to equip them with the skills necessary to pursue a career in computer science. Larry Skutchan, Director of technology and product research for APH, said the program offers "an opportunity for thousands of people to have meaningful and well-paying jobs."

Code Jumper will be made available to students in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia this year prior to its global distribution.

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