Apple’s Everyone Can Code initiative, which introduces young students to coding through the Swift Playgrounds iPad app, is coming to several schools across the US that support students with vision, hearing, and other assistive needs, the company announced today. Eight schools will be participating in the initial accessibility push, including schools for the deaf and blind in California, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New York.
"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," Apple said in its press release. "This will include providing additional tools and resources such as tactile maps to enhance the understanding of coding environments for non-visual learners.” Apple’s VoiceOver screen-reading technology will also play a significant part in making Everyone Can Code more accessible.
Today’s announcement coincides with Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Apple is holding events at several of its corporate locations (Cupertino, Austin, Cork, London) today and says that its retail stores will host accessibility-related events through the remainder of the month. “We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology,” said CEO Tim Cook. “We hope to bring Everyone Can Code to even more schools around the world serving students with disabilities.” Swift Playgrounds has been praised as a fun, intuitive way to get kids coding, but The Verge’s Paul Miller recently explored whether it’s enough to prepare them for making actual software.
Here’s the full list of schools that will offer the accessibility-focused Everyone Can Code this fall:
- California School for the Blind (Fremont, California)
- California School for the Deaf (Fremont, California)
- District 75/Citywide Programs, New York City Department of Education (New York, New York)
- Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (St. Augustine, Florida)
- Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Winnetka, Illinois)
- Perkins School for the Blind (Watertown, Massachusetts)
- Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Austin, Texas)
- Texas School for the Deaf (Austin, Texas)
In late March, Apple announced a new, entry-level iPad with support for Apple Pencil and additional updates for its education software. The company is also working with Chicago schools to build what it calls the “Center of Excellence,” a hub for training teachers on its Everyone Can Code curriculum.