As we progress towards a more technologically oriented world, computer science becomes more and more important for almost all career paths. And it is important that nobody gets left behind in this race.
With this in mind, Microsoft has developed Project Torino. It is a system that consists of a programming language and large colorful toys called pods, which will be used to make sounds, stories, poems, and songs with the aim of teaching coding concepts to children with visual impairments.
The central theme here is to familiarize kids in the age group of 7-11 with computational thinking and the facilitate teachers, without a background in computer science, in helping the kids in the process.
In addition to the pods, children will also be able to use apps to transfer the coding they have created in physical systems.
Microsoft said that Project Torino was developed in close collaboration with a dozen of young students from the UK. Feedback from the student was also incorporated to finally be able to reach to this stage.
Nicolas Villar, a senior researcher in Microsoft’s Cambridge research lab said,
“The team originally made the pods all white, until the kids with limited vision told them that more colors would help them. And although in electronics there’s often a push to make things as small as possible, with this project they found the kids were more engaged when the pods were larger, in part because two kids working together would often both physically hold the pod and touch hands as part of that teamwork.”
This is a positive step towards making technology all-inclusive. Microsoft is presently working with the Royal National Institute for the Blind in the UK to bring Project Torino to 100 children in a beta trial starting this autumn.