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Accessibility in Technology: Code Jumper

We are excited to announce Code Jumper™ – the newest innovation to assist children, regardless of their level of vision, in learning computer coding and programming skills through a unique, physical system. Developed by Microsoft® and distributed by APH, this educational toy bridges the skills gap and opens up the world of coding to every student.

In January, APH President and longtime educator, Dr. Craig Meador, along with Cecily Morrison, Microsoft Researcher and Project Leader for Code Jumper, revealed the product and discussed the partnership on the Microsoft Schools Theater stage in London at the BETT Show. APH again provided Code Jumper demonstrations to interested attendees at ATIA in late January. We are both honored and excited to help get this valuable, groundbreaking technology into the hands of those who need it most: our customers.

What you should know about Code Jumper:

  • Code Jumper makes coding immediately accessible for kids who are blind or visually impaired, and who also have no prior computing experience.
  • Code Jumper is an intuitive system designed to be inclusive, enabling all students to work together and build confidence through socialization, cooperation, critical thinking, and hands-on learning.
  • Brightly colored plastic pods with oversized buttons and knobs are connected by “jumper cables” (thick cords) to physically create computer code that can tell stories, make music, and even crack jokes.
  • Code Jumper teaches underlying skills that can empower the next generation to pursue meaningful careers in computer science.
  • Any teacher can facilitate Code Jumper lesson plans without prior computer science experience! A full library of curricula for coding, including teacher guidance and student activities, is also included.

What people are saying about Code Jumper:

“It became really clear that the most popular path to introducing young children to coding wasn’t very accessible. We realized we really need something physical; something that would excite the hands.” – Cecily Morrison, Microsoft researcher and computer scientist, and Microsoft project leader for Code Jumper.

“What I like about Code Jumper is that you can actually physically touch the program.” – Victoria Gregorcova, age 14 and student at New College Worcester, UK.

“If you put this in a classroom, not only is the student who is blind going to be using this, but every student in the classroom is going to want a crack at it. From a teacher’s perspective, that’s all you ever really want – something that’s inclusive.” – Dr. Craig Meador, APH President

For more information about Code Jumper or to join our waiting list, please visit codejumper.com.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Code Jumper updates.

To view an informational video, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-P7EjBafY4&feature=youtu.be

Honoring Dr. Jan van Dijk

APH and the Division of Visual Impairment and Deafblindness welcomed professionals and parents to a CEC preconference workshop in Indianapolis on January 29. The session honored the memory of Dr. Jan van Dijk and his child-guided strategies that are practiced globally. APH consultant Dr. Catherine Nelson, who dedicated years working with Dr. Van Dijk, presented on APH’s book, Child-guided Strategies: The Van Dijk Approach to Assessment, written by Dr. Nelson and Dr. Van Dijk with Teresa Oster and Dr. Andrea McDonnell. APH exhibited products related to Dr. Van Dijk’s work, such as the APH Expandable Calendar Boxes.

Call for Entries! APH InSights Art Competition 2019

APH invites artists who are blind or visually impaired to submit artwork for the 2019 APH InSights Art Competition and Exhibition. For 28 years, our renowned international contest has delighted the senses, provoked discussion, and allowed artists with vision loss the opportunity to share their creative imagination with the world.

Artists may enter original artwork created in any medium, including (but not limited to) painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber, metal, and wood. The deadline for all artists is March 29, 2019.

Rules and entry forms are available for download here.

Winning artwork in nine categories will be displayed at the InSights Art Exhibit during APH’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville, October 10 – 12, 2019. We look forward to your participation in our competition.

For more information, please email insights@aph.org, or call Rob Guillen at 502-899-2242.

Twisty Turbulent Torrents of Science!

A mix of chemistry, physics, geology, biology, medicine, ecology, meteorology, and art forms the theme of the next week-long Sensational Adventures in Summer Science (SASS). Sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind, and hosted at the University of Michigan in Dearborn, this camp experience for middle and high school students with visual impairments will take place August 4 -11, 2019. Applications from student scientists will be accepted until July 1, 2019. Places will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, but there will be a waiting list. Camp organizers guarantee full participation of all students regardless of visual ability and will provide a fun, accessible and educational science learning environment emphasizing “skills of blindness” in everything they do.

Contact Fred Wurtzel for an application: f.wurtzel@att.net
Send completed application forms to youth@nfbmi.org

Product Updates

  • New! Jupiter Portable Magnifier™

    3…2…1…Blast Off! Jupiter is a sleek and compact device that helps users of all ages who are visually impaired see the world in high definition. Whether it’s in the classroom, workplace, or at home, this powerful magnifier allows you to continue those activities that bring joy to everyday life, while exploring new opportunities for lifelong education.

    Jupiter Features and Benefits:

    • Three camera modes: Reading – excellent for reading a book, prescription bottle labels, completing a homework assignment, etc.; Distance-view – magnifies up to 150x and is great for viewing a presentation, guest speaker, instructor, etc., at the front of a classroom/venue; Self-view – serves just like an HD mirror, and is perfect for applying make-up and other grooming activities.
    • LED screen with adjustable light brightness.
    • 35 color contrasting color modes to select according to your viewing preference and comfort.
    • Jupiter’s durable and portable design allows you to take this easy-to-use magnifier on the go!

    Jupiter and other products on the APH Innovations product line are not available for purchase with quota funds.

    Please visit aph.org to order, to learn more, or to find related products.

  • New! Building on Pattern (BoP) 2nd Edition: Pre-K

    BOP is a systematic, comprehensive, and balanced literacy program designed to teach young children (through second grade) with visual impairments to read and write using braille.

    BOP Prekindergarten is the first level of the second edition of BOP. This curriculum reflects best practices in braille literacy instruction and includes lessons designed to build literacy skills related to listening, speaking, reading, and writing in preparation for kindergarten.

    BOP Pre-K may be used as a stand-alone program, or can also supplement the regular preschool curriculum. It includes 28 instructional lessons, each paired with a children’s book and a tactile storybook that supports lesson concepts through activities that involve tracking, simple reading, and understanding tactile graphics. More information and resources for all levels of BOP can be found at www.aphbop.org.

  • Revised for 2019! Braille Datebook and Calendar

    The Braille DateBook is now revised for 2019, and is an attractive planner/organizer designed specifically for braille users!

    Keep track of appointments, addresses, family schedules, class assignments, and more with the Braille DateBook from APH. Use it at your desk or on the go; it is sturdy, compact, and fits in a backpack or briefcase.

  • Other Products

    We are pleased to announce that the TI-84 Talking Graphing Calculators are back in stock. We also have a very limited supply of the Orbit Reader 20 in stock. To order, visit our shop!

  • Update! APH Education and Outreach Team

    With Janie Blome’s departure from APH, and other staff changes in the Education and Outreach Department, we are currently reviewing the events we have planned for the year, as well other requests we receive from our EOTs and others in the field.

    As we look at better ways to serve you, we are also considering additional ways we can deliver training and support. During this time, we welcome your requests but ask for your understanding as we consider which events we can support in person, and which we may be able to support in another way. If you have any questions, please let us know at communications@aph.org

  • Envision Training Programs — We Need Your Feedback!

    The ENVISION training programs use stories and activities about Emmy the Emu and other high-interest characters to teach younger and older students to use magnifiers and telescopes. It covers skills such as tracing, tracking, and scanning, and includes enrichment activities and objectives for each lesson.

    Each kit provides different styles and strengths of magnifiers and telescopes and each program comes with instructional manuals to teach the use of these optical devices. First, we would like your feedback on deciding what is needed in the Envision I and Envision II training kits. Second, we would like your feedback on whether a low vision Kit would be useful for the transition age student and adult population to assist with tasks in their home, work, and daily living environments.

    If you are familiar with the Envision Training Programs, please take this survey!

Events

  • APH Winter Wonderland Sale

    Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Winter Wonderland Sale 2019, January 1—March 31. As always, first come, first served.

    www.aph.org/sale/

  • Summer Camp

    It is that time of year again to start thinking all things camp. Check out the 2019 listing of camps on the APH Physical Education, Recreation, and Health website.

    If your state does not offer a camp, we have the “download” on how to start one.

  • APH Travel Calendar

    AFB Leadership Conference
    February 28-March 1
    Arlington, VA

  • Important STEM Conference: POSB Math & Science Institute for Instruction

    The 2019 Principles of Schools for the Blind (POSB) Math and Science Institute for Instruction will be held in St Louis, Missouri, from April 8 – 10.

    This is your chance to connect with other professionals around the country about teaching math and science to students who are blind or visually impaired. What to Expect:

    • To build community and a support system among teachers of the visually impaired. Often, teachers feel isolated and don’t have easy access to other teachers for guidance and support.
    • To expand professional development opportunities, including a training component focusing on a particular area of instruction to inspire teachers and provide them with tools to improve their instructional practices.
    • To establish online communities for individual disciplines in order to provide ease in communication and to share documents and other materials related to instruction.

Treasures from the APH Libraries

  • From the Migel Library

    Findlay, Hugh. Gardening for Health and Happiness. 1946.

    For students and adults alike, spending time gardening can bring exhilaration, pride, and independence. The feel of different soils and plant textures, the sounds of wind blowing through the foliage, and the smells of earth and flora stimulate the senses of a gardener who is visually impaired. In this pamphlet, Findlay discusses a gardening program that he developed with the Perkins School. Gardeners used adapted tools, some of which could be attached to wire guides that ran along the garden rows. Even as student-gardeners became more skilled, the challenges of gardening gave them a sense of pride and accomplishment, in addition to regular exposure to the natural world.

    Gardening for Health and Happiness has been digitized for Internet Archive.

  • From the Barr Libraries

    This month’s treasure is the Barr Library itself. Located on the fourth floor next to the Hall of Fame, the Barr Library grew out of APH’s role as an Instructional Materials Resource Center (IMRC). Much of the early material was of an educational nature, such as in-service or teacher training material, as well as blindness-related research reports and pamphlets. In addition to materials collected, the library served as a depository for unpublished reports submitted by APH research staff, reprints of journal articles, and books and journals used by the research department.

    In recent years, there has been an attempt to bring the collection up-to-date with research in the fields of blindness and special education along with expanding its scope to include business, manufacturing, and field-service related resources. Today, the total number of volumes in the collection numbers approximately 4,500. The holdings consist of a monograph collection of books and pamphlets; a journal collection, and an Audio/Visual collection. The library also subscribes to a number of online journals and data services. Collection development and growth of the Barr Library is through active input and recommendation of new titles from APH staff members.

    While its collection has evolved over time, the Barr Library’s goal of supporting the research, business, manufacturing, and educational needs of APH staff remains. Whether providing research information and resources for current and planned research, maintaining an on-site collection of resources, producing selective bibliographies, facilitating remote access to resources via electronic means and interlibrary loan networks, or offering bibliographic instruction and Internet research skills as a teaching library to APH staff the Barr remains the APH library for APH employees. Want to learn more, contact the librarians in Resource Services at x705.

    The APH Barr Library supports research initiatives at APH, while the Migel Collection is one of the largest collections of nonmedical information related to visual impairment in the world. Although the collections do not circulate, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will make materials available online at https://archive.org/details/aphmigel. The digitized texts are available in a variety of accessible formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, and read-aloud. Contact Library staff: resource@aph.org , 800-223-1839, ext. 705.