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  1. Society’s increased reliance on technology has simultaneously increased the demand for people who can develop and design these new advancements. This has led to an influx of students looking to learn how to code and gain the technological skill set that is currently among the most marketable. Learning to code is challenging; without the right tools, resources, and assistance, it can be tough to build the foundation needed to understand key computer science fundamentals. The existing web platforms focused on assisting K-12 learners are competitive from an educational and technical perspective. There is a huge lack of virtual educational platforms that can deliver resources to students with disabilities through innovative accessible features and provide guidance to K-12 teachers that are trying to support this area. This lack of guidance is especially evident when examining resources available to teachers about increasing access and engagement of struggling learners including students with disabilities. The motivation of this paper is to introduce a prototype of a centralized portal, Accessible Virtual Learning, that implements user experience strategies and accessible usability principles aiming to be accessible to any student and also educators who need guidance on finding suitable materials. The success of this portal relies heavilymore »on its ability to allow teachers and self-directed learners to facilitate curriculums effectively while maximizing student engagement, ease of learning, and digital assistance for students at various ages with different learning abilities, both physical and cognitive.« less
  2. Antona M., Stephanidis C. (Ed.)
    Block-based programming applications, such as MIT’s Scratch and Blockly Games, are commonly used to teach K-12 students to code. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many K-12 students are attending online coding camps, which teach programming using these block-based applications. However, these applications are not accessible to the Blind/Low Vision (BLV) population since they neither produce audio output nor are screen reader accessible. In this paper, we describe a solution to make block-based programming accessible to BLV students using Google’s latest Keyboard Navigation and present its evaluation with four individuals who are BLV. We distill our findings as recommendations to developers who may want to make their Block-based programming application accessible to individuals who are BLV.
  3. An inclusive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce is needed to maintain America’s leadership in the scientific enterprise. Increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM, including persons with disabilities, requires national attention to fully engage the nation’s citizens in transforming its STEM enterprise. To address this need, a number of initiatives, such as AccessCSforALL, Bootstrap, and CSforAll, are making efforts to make Computer Science inclusive to the 7.4 million K-12 students with disabilities in the U.S. Of special interest to our project are those K-12 students with hearing impairments. American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary means of communication for an estimated 500,000 people in the United States, yet there are limited online resources providing Computer Science instruction in ASL. This paper introduces a new project designed to support Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) K-12 students and sign interpreters in acquiring knowledge of complex Computer Science concepts. We discuss the motivation for the project and an early design of the accessible block-based Computer Science curriculum to engage D/HH students in hands-on computing education.