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Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics

Most schools today include instruction on some form of coding with children from preschool through high school. It has been acknowledged by many educators that it teaches children how to communicate and helps build logical thinking. It’s a language that strengthens both verbal and and written skills. For students who have low vision or who are blind it has the same benefits, although access to the materials needs to be considered. “Block Coding” is one example of an inaccessible tool that is often used in schools to teach coding, and training at KSSB provides accessible alternatives to their coding experience. 

At the Kansas School for the Blind, students have an opportunity to learn coding during weekly technology club activities and other scheduled events sponsored by KSSB such as the Braille Challenge and Girls/Boys weekends. It is also now included in KSSB’s ESY summer program.

STEAM - AT Club

Every Wednesday you will find a group of students actively engaged in STEAM activities. STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.  Each student eagerly waits for this weekly extra-curricular activity. Where else can you build and control robots, fly drones, create music, and develop logical thinking?

Under the direction of Bob Taylor, students learn to code and engage in hands-on experiences that will prepare them for the future! To learn more about the skills taught as a part of the STEM Club, download and read about the accessible coding activities Coding instruction at KSSB.

Five students sitting around a table investigating Snap Circuits. A teacher is the facilitator.
Students using beginning coding to move a purple mouse on a green track.

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) - Events

Robotics Trip

In Collaboration with KSSB, Apple hosted a coding/robotics event at the Apple Store in the Country Club Plaza for students who are blind or who have a visual impairment. On January 14, 2019, students in grades 8-12 were invited to the Apple Store for lessons in coding directed by the Apple store Staff.

This innovative collaboration will continue…. Keep watching for future announcements!

Students sitting on chairs listening to Apple Store Representations

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) - Goals

Introduction

Younger or beginning students learn directionality and sequencing using a variety of “hands on” tools such as the coding mouse (buttons on top of mouse for directionality); or, coding tiles and a robot. Maze activities help the students learn the concepts of directions and sequencing.

Note: The products described below does not indicate an endorsement, but are examples of items currently in use by the STEAM/AT Club at KSSB.

Blue Bot Mouse Robot
Cubetto Tiles Direction Robot. A wooden square with colorful tiles that can be moved in a maze.
TacTile Reader Rectangular shape base with labeled cards to snap in specific order.

Building on Varied Coding Experiences

For students that have experience with tablets, basic touch gestures and keyboarding, coding is taught within Apple’s Swift Playgrounds in two ways: using the standard Apple playground coding lessons with the build-in two dimensional games or with customized coding activities (with sample coding starters) to control external robots such as “Spheros”, the Wonder Workshop robots “Dash” or “Cue”, Parrot drones “PARROT AIRBORNE CARGO” or “The Mini Spider”.

iPad screen with image of Swift playground on the screen. Two small pdf images that says Learn to Code 3 and Lean to Code 1 & 2.
iPad screen with Sphero advertisement on the screen. The Ad is yellow background and an image of TV screen framed with a red border and a joystick console attached below.

Swift Playgrounds and Robots

A clear plastic ball with silver and blue gears and computer chips inside. A white circle with 2 blue dots in the center and and a blue border.
A small blue robot on wheels. A round ball with one circle shaped eye framed in orange is on the head of the robot. The neck is a black triangular shaped black bib with a small white and light blue triangle in center. Two ball shapes on wheels with flat bottoms for the legs directly under the head.
A drone airplane using 4 legs with propellers on top. Connecting the front leg with the back leg is a thin curved strip of plastic.
A black square plastic box with a raised circle on top and 4 sides. Each circle is outline with a different color: orange, red and green are seen in the photo.

Building on Communication and Logical Thinking

Coding experiences require organization, understanding how materials in their environment can interact with each other, and utilize communication to complete the 20 projects. Using the APH “Snap Circuit Kit”, students will work individually and in small groups to complete projects by following instructions; assemble parts by snapping them together. Instructions given in large print, Braille, and a picture of the finished project. Example of projects: turn on a fan, activate an auditory buzzer, shoot a propeller into the air, play a tune…

An advertisement with image of rectangular clear base with red, blue, yellow and green snaps connected around the edge of base and connected to a propeller and wheel.
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