Re: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the Blind

  • From: Jared Wright <wright.jaredm@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 03:07:12 -0500

I've not dabbled in Python yet. With that disclaimer ut of the way, isn't this possibly an argument in favor of Python being used as an introduction? I did all the programming I've done up until a couple months ago (when I started my first course on it) completely on my own and self taught. One of the hardest things for me to adjust to is formatting properly for sighted readers. My screen reader cared little about white space, and the compiler cared even less. So remembering to format code properly this semester has cost me as much as real programming has. I very much wish the programmer's elements of style were conveyed to me more forcefully early on, and I wonder if this might not just be a feather in Python's cap. Now, as I said, I've not got around to exploring Python, and if it uses indentation rules that vary from the ones that people would typically like to see in other common languages, then I stand corrected. But taken completely on its own, the fact that Python requires indentation hardly seems like it should disqualify it from being a good starting point. The fact that indentation is something that a blind programmer could so easily overlook makes me think that forcing it to be done correctly in the early stages wouldn't be such a bad thing.

A different prospective.


Octavian Rasnita wrote:
Unfortunately Python is one of the most blind-unfriendly languages because of its requirement for indentation, so I don't think a blind person should start programming with python, because she or he might think that the indentation is important for all the languages. Octavian

    ----- Original Message -----
    *From:* Arnold Bailey <mailto:arnoldbail@xxxxxxxxx>
    *To:* programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    *Sent:* Monday, November 12, 2007 1:27 AM
    *Subject:* Re: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the Blind


    I have also been looking into the same issue. If you look at my
    website under teachers"->course
    plans, I am building a series of course sessions. These are being
    presented to blind and visually impaired middle and high school
    students in our school district. In my approach I will:

    1. Introduce Information Technology as a career. You'll see the
    presentation link.
    2. I decided on Python to introduce the concept of programming. It
    is an interpretive and can be executed interactively. This allows
    hands on and experience the results immediately. Also, the  IDLE
    (GUI) interface seems to be better for the  visually impaired
    because of the font; and, the command line interface is needed for
    Jaws for the blind students. You'll see a link to my scenario.
    Downloading and installing python is easy. You'll see the link
    there also.
    3. My next plan is to teach Java to any of the students who feel
    like trying programming. I picked Java because it is widely taught
    in colleges as an introduction to compsci. It is also C like and
    it is object oriented. If you click in the nav links on learning
    Java, you see the links to install it and some tutorials.

    The site is intended for student instruction. The references and
    links were largely gotten through  this mailing list by a lot of
    generous and knowledgeable programmers. I kept
    references/tutorials/etc. to a minimum because there is way too
    much information out there. Sometimes focus is needed.

    I have many years of programming experience in more languages than
    I care to admit. I have only a minimal cursory knowledge of Java;
    but, when I start instruction, I'll read up on the Java tutorials.
    I planned to instruct via email/skype and the online tutorials;
    but, I haven't gotten to that point yet. In a couple months, I
    should be ready.

    Contact me via email if I can help in any way.


    On Nov 11, 2007 4:10 PM, inthaneelf <inthaneelf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    <mailto:inthaneelf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:


        I don't totally agree with the statement about learning jaws
        scripting to
        learn programming, but the rest of those recommendations work.
         more on this
        though, is what programming instructional classes (both in
        there high
        school, and outside/after)are available in there area.

        if any or all the basic languages are readily available, then
        what does he
        wish to program, as we all know, the language should be based
        on his
        learning style, and what he wishes to do, anywhere from visual <> and
        C#, to java, to C and C++ or raw assembler are available to
        him, along with
        html, xhtml, xml, <> incorporated with
        C# or VB, PHP, and the rest of
        that group.

        so, I'd say that the main question is what does this student
        wish to do,
        then they can go from there!

        if you want, give the person that contacted you my E mail and
        I'd be more
        than willing to talk with them at length on what can be done,
        and since I am
        an information monger, and not much of a programmer, but do
        have some
        knowledge in programming, I think... I'm not as set in stone
        as to a
        particular language or learning method, so may be able to
        tackle it with a
        bit more "All around lack of preference".

        • For Blind Programming assistance, Information, Useful
        Programs, and Links
        to Jamal Mazrui's Text tutorial packages and Applications,
        visit me at:
        • to be able to view a simple programming project in several
        languages, visit the Fruit basket demo site at:

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Joseph Lee" <joseph.lee22590@xxxxxxxxx
        To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
        Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 7:50 AM
        Subject: RE: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the Blind

        > Hi there,
        > I would presonally recommend this student to:
        > * Subscribe to number of mailing list such as Blind
        Programming list.
        > * Search on Google for tutorials on basic programming.
        > * Take online AP Computer Science course to learn about
        Java, object
        > oriented programming, etc.
        > The best way to start in programming would be learning about
        JAWS scripts.
        > This should allow a student to learn how JAWS actually
        works, under what a
        > variable, function and other things in programming mean and
        to learn how
        > to
        > interpret script languages. Then I would recommend this
        person to study C
        > or
        > Java. Or, if the student is interested, he can learn HTML to
        > websites.
        > Cheers,
        > Joseph P.S. I'm also a high school student so I understand
        > situation.
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
        > [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
        <mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>] On Behalf Of Chris
        > Hofstader
        > Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 7:38 AM
        > To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
        > Subject: FW: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the
        > Can people here help this person?
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Anya Kogan [mailto:akogan3@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
        > Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 1:47 PM
        > To: Chris.Hofstader@xxxxxxxxxxx
        > Subject: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the Blind
        > Hi Chris,
        > I am a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of
        Technology and also a
        > new volunteer at the Center for the Visually Impaired in
        Atlanta.  I
        > assist
        > in teaching the computer class there to blind and visually
        > students.  I am sighted myself and very new to the
        challenges of being
        > visually impaired.  One of my students is a blind
        high-school age boy
        > named
        > Wilkens.  Wilkens is very proficient in the computer basics
        using Jaws.
        > He
        > very quickly and easily surfs the net, types on Microsoft
        Word and uses
        > Microsoft Excel.  He has now expressed interest in learning
        to program.  I
        > am very new to programming myself, but would be willing to
        > However,
        > how can I teach or at least assist a blind young man to
        program?  I am not
        > even sure where to begin.  Can you recommend any resources
        or lend
        > any advice on this topic?  Do you know of any online tutorials?
        > Courses?  What language should he start with?  Is there a
        first project
        > that
        > would benefit him?  Any help that you can lend me would be most
        > appreciated.
        > Wilkens has a lot of drive and I would hate to have that go
        to waste.
        > Best,
        > Anya
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-- Arnold

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