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.
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) - Events
NEW ONLINE COURSE: COMPUTER SCIENCE
When? 2019-2020 School Year
To increase statewide STEAM opportunities for students who are blind or who have a visual impairment, KSSB stepped into online learning in the fall of 2018 by offering Braille Music and Algebra 1. This initial endeavor has been successful so we are pleased to announce that in the fall of 2019, KSSB will offer and additional course online – Computer Science! This course will be taught by Sandra Craig.
KSSB has signed up to work with Microsoft Philanthropies – TEALS: Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, Rural and Distance program. Their motto – “Computer Science in Every High School.” The program provides a trained computer science professional to mentor and collaborate with the local educator to team teach the curriculum to high school students. Sandra Craig, math instructor at KSSB will team teach the course starting in the 2019 school year. The course will be held during the first hour – Monday-Thursday 7:55-8:43 and Friday 7:55-8:32.
This is a unique opportunity for high school students who are blind or who have a visual impairment in the state of Kansas. Additional information about this program will be provided in the upcoming weeks.
For more information download and review the pdf from the Rural and Distance Program.
Contact Jon Harding, Superintendent of the Kansas School for the Blind
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!
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) - Goals
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.
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”.
Swift Playgrounds and Robots
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…