Reitz Union, Room G320
655 Reitz Union Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611
Accessible K-12 Computer Science Education
Richard E. Ladner, Ph.D.
University of Washington
For the past 10 years, there has been rapid growth in the teaching of computer science in K-12 with a particular focus on broadening the participation of students from underrepresented groups, including students with disabilities. Popular tools such as Scratch, ScratchJr, and many other block-based programming environments have brought programming concepts to millions of children around the world. The United States has about 7.6 million school children with recognized disabilities. It is generally not the case that these students are adequately served by the current K-12 computer science education or any of the block-based programming environments. In particular, the approximately 30,000 blind and visually impaired children are left out.
In this talk, we address this by describing two programming environments that are accessible: the Quorum Language and Blocks4All. The Quorum Language, created by Andreas Stefik, is a text-based programming language with syntax and semantics that have been created to be as usable as possible using randomized controlled trials. For younger children, Lauren Milne created Blocks4All, a block-based programming environment that can be used by anyone, including those who are blind or visually impaired. The challenge for the future of K-12 computer science is to be more inclusive regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability status.
UF Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering