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Tactile Scratch for Visually Impaired Students in Romania

The Association for Development and the Environment - ADEMED from Romania has won in the SDG-10: Diversity category, in the Meet and Code Competition, 2021 edition.

ADEMED, Romania, Winner of Diversity Category in 2021

The Romanian Association for Development and the Environment - ADEMED has won the prize worth 2,000 euro, in the Diversity category, in the Meet and Code 2021 edition.

As part of their event: “We Can Code! Tactile Scratch for Visually Impaired Students”, 20 visually impaired students from the Special Gymnasium School for the Visually Impaired in Bucharest, RO, learned to use the Scratch visual programming language adapted to their needs to make the right decisions in case of a potential earthquake.

Based on the experience with tactile plans of the classroom, designed and made for simulation, ADEMED had designed a simplified and accessible Scratch programming platform, consisting of 9 pieces of cardboard, with distinct tactile shapes for each basic command, which were attached with pins on a plate of cork or on the table. Each student received this platform set by mail.

Mr Florin Alexandru, Professor of Applied Sciences at the Association for Development and Environment (ADEMED), guided the online sessions with verbal exercises using large colored shapes on the screen for those of the participants who were able to see a bit.

Watch an interview with Mr Florin Alexandru made by Our Local Partner, TechSoup Romania, and listen to him talking about the unique Meet and Code experience.

Before you watch, as an introduction, here are some of the additional questions and answers, not included in the video:

  1. Please, introduce your organization in 1-2 sentences. 

FLORIN: ADEMED ngo is an association of retired and former teachers and professors aiming at expanding innovative, non-formal education and interdisciplinary education to remote rural areas and disabled students communities.

     2. Why did you choose to participate in Meet and Code?

FLORIN: Freedom to innovate in education is one of our core values. Meet and Code allows us to experiment and prove effectiveness of teaching methods based on audacious means.

     3. Please, give us 1-2 quotes from the participants.

"I want to get a complete set of Scratch Tactile Shapes at home, so I can keep coding and prepare for high school!"

"I do not want to leave the Workshop before learning all the algorithms by Tactile Scratch!"  

     4. What gave you the most joy while working on the project this year? 

FLORIN: That is the chance to develop even more coding methods, on the ground of this experience. We feel very unique in the approach of coding and we are happy to see that the long time we design and experiment with the shapes, the sizes and the coupling solutions resulted in a simple, yet effective new computer language, which borrows the logic from the Scratch, but the way of use from tactile exploration.

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