Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind programmers

Hi Andreas:
Since you are at Washington State School for the Blind you would seemingly be in a position to make some real world comments on this thread. First: I really discount the process of setting up an Acreddited University level program without some massive resources. Second, It would seem that a formal education is the best method for learning to become a Professional Computer Programmer at any level. That said, I see where there is a real need for a central repository where students can find out about accessibility tools, techniques and resources. In addition a central location where they can go to find Professional Mentoring, Tutors and a list like this where they can ask and answer questions in general. In other words, a place where a new student taking their first class in Programming can be sent to where they can ask initial questions, find tutoring for particular Programming Related issues and find Experts in their particular fields for mentoring. Most Universities have Accessibility Representitives but the University itself may not have the experienced blind individuals to provide this level of help. Combined, they, and us, would provide a massive amount of support to blind students but so far as I know nobody has ever attempted to coordinate such a centralized repository of tallent, resources and help for blind students. Being at a specialized University for the Blind you might be in a position to consider the potential process, difficulties and benefits of such a program. That said, it is what, in my opinion, would provide the biggest bang for the buck as a NationWide project.
Have you heard of anyone working on something like this?
Get the right people and Universities involved in it and it could be a game changer for Blind folks at Universities around the country.
Rick USA
----- Original Message ----- From: "Andreas Stefik" <stefika@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "Jamal Mazrui" <empower@xxxxxxxxx>; "Bill Cox" <waywardgeek@xxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 9:26 AM
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind programmers


Looks like I'm coming late to this thread, and I'll admit I haven't
read everyone's comments yet (I've been swamped submitting papers and
with teaching duties).

We would certainly be willing to let any such effort use any and all
of our tools, or to advise bill or others in whatever way folks found
helpful.

Just in case people don't know as well, my lab has begun teaching
programming at the Washington State School for the Blind this
semester, using Sodbeans/Hop, etc, and teachers are writing to us that
things are going great. So I'm personally highly encouraged that
others want to get more blind folks involved in computer science
education.

Anyway, for what it's worth (maybe nothing), that's my two cents,

Stefik

P.S. If anyone cares, Sodbeans 2.0 is coming out in July. Linux
support, a rewrite of our text-to-speech engine that will now also be
available separately on sourceforge outside of Sodbeans for others to
use, lots of little audio hints to turn those visual features into
aural features, new changes to Hop which our studies are showing makes
it easy to understand,new Hop language features like exceptions, a new
auditory tutorial system that teaches how to use Sodbeans and
programming, and a gadzooks of bug fixes. Anyway, lots of fun stuff
happening.

On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 7:19 AM, Jamal Mazrui <empower@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Andreas may also have some interesting perspective on this given his work in developing teaching tools and curriculum for programmers at schools for the
blind.

Jamal

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