Apple’s Everyone Can Code comes to U.S. schools serving blind and deaf students

Apple is teaming up with educators for blind and deaf communities across the U.S. to bring accessible coding to their schools. Beginning this fall, schools supporting students with vision, hearing or other assistive needs will start teaching the Everyone Can Code curricula for Swift, Apple’s programming language.

Everyone Can Code is a program designed by Apple to help everyone learn how to code using a Swift curriculum. The program includes a range of free resources, from helping students explore basic coding concepts to building fully functional apps.

  Students from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired use code they wrote through Swift Playgrounds to pilot Parrot drones. —Photo courtesy of Apple

Students from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired use code they wrote through Swift Playgrounds to pilot Parrot drones. —Photo courtesy of Apple

With teacher guides and lessons, students learn the basics on an iPad with Swift Playgrounds. Playgrounds is a free app that lets users use real code to solve puzzles and control characters with just a tap, to App Development with Swift to help aspiring app developers build their first iOS apps.

The schools will tailor lessons using Apple’s accessibility technology. You can list the initial list of participating schools here.

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, CEO Tim Cook in a press announcement. This will include providing additional tools and resources such as tactile maps to enhance the understanding of coding environments for non-visual learners.

The Everyone Can Code curricula is compatible with VoiceOver, the most advanced screen-reading technology for people who are blind or low vision. VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader that describes nearly everything happening on your screen. With VoiceOver integration, Swift Playgrounds can take students step-by-step through learning Swift, all without needing to see the screen.

Accessibility features for people who are deaf or hard of hearing include FaceTime for capturing every gesture and facial expression, Type to Siri, closed captions, LED Flash for Alerts, Mono Audio and Made for iPhone hearing aids.

iPad and Everyone Can Code can also be used by students with physical motor limitations through Apple’s built in Switch Control, which enables switches, joysticks and other adaptive devices to control what is on your screen.