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Microsoft Unboxed: Code Jumper (Ep. 17)

Microsoft Unboxed: Code Jumper (Ep. 17)


>>Hello world, and welcome
to Microsoft Unboxed. [MUSIC] Every week, we share stories about Microsoft technology and the
people behind that technology. Typically, Sonia and I each
have a story to share, underneath a broader theme. But today we’re going to do
things a little bit differently. We’re dedicating our entire
episode, to Code Jumper.>>Code Jumper is a set of
physical blocks that are specifically designed to teach coding to kids with visual impairment. So it’s just one of the many
initiatives that Microsoft has been focusing on when it comes to
inclusivity and accessibility.>>Code Jumper will present
opportunities for students around the world to explore careers
in Computer Science.>>So we transferred the Code Jumper Research and
Technology to the Louisville, Kentucky based non-profit
American Printing House for the Blind or APH. APH plans to make Code Jumper
available in Australia, Canada, India, and UK, and US in 2019 with
worldwide distribution by 2024. Because Colleen and I are very
jazzed about Code Jumper, we wanted more of
an insider’s perspective, on the project and how it came about. So we actually invited
Microsoft senior researcher Dr. Nicolas Villar
to the studio today. So we’re going to go jump into
that little interview right now.>>Nick, welcome to the studio.>>Thank you. It’s
so nice to be here.>>Nick, what is the origin story
behind Code Jumper?>>It’s actually wonderful and
colleague Cecily Morrison, her son was born blind. So she’s been very involved
in the AI community. She identified earlier on that
there is a difficulty for children with blind or low vision
to learn how to program. The ways that children normally
are introduced into programming, are very hard for them to adapt. That was really the inspiration.>>Who specifically
is Code Jumper for?>>We designed it for
children aged 7-11. But really, we’ve seen it work with anyone that is tactile learner, is interested in learning
how to program and benefits from being
able to play and touch. I think I would have loved to enhance program when I
was growing up like that.>>I’m very much a tactile learner.>>Same.>>So how did you become interested
in this type of research?>>I’ve always been really
interested in using technology to enable new forms of interaction, new forms of play. I was super excited
straight away that we could build something
really special.>>Some your research is really
focused on this concept of play.>>I think play is so important. It’s human thing to want to play. We learn a lot through play. We communicate through it. So I just feel like
the element of fun. There’s always a play for it.>>Do you think that
you could focus on gamification of my e-mail inbox next?>>I’m not sure.>>So how’s the project
evolved over this time?>>It looks completely different from what you might have
seen four years ago, and what we built is
completely different. We work very closely with
this group of kids that we called the Torino Young Inventor Team. As we would come up with
ideas we would test them out. We weren’t even really
using technology. It was bits of clay and string. Whatever we could use
to promote ideas, and let them play with it, try things out, and we would
observe them like Wizard of Oz. Pretend that things are working. The kids were as much part of the invention process as we
were under different process. It’s completely unexpected
to me how I’ve ended up.>>I remember reading that one version of
Project Torino, was blocks. Because there was no differentiation
in the blocks tactically, that they’re just stacking them up.>>Code is sometimes represented as blocks on the screen when
you’re trying to learn. When you try to make
a physical version of that, the blocks just weren’t particularly
nice objects to manipulate. Sometimes you would drop your
program and this thing would just. Your code would literally be
scattered all over the floor. So that’s what led us to really think about how we want to represent the connection
between things, and down till the details
about exactly what type of connections we should
use that were easy to connect together and disconnect, but also maintain structure
even if you dropped it or you passed your program to
someone else across the table.>>What do we have to gain by enabling more people
to learn how to code?>>This concept of
computational thinking, and about how you
would tackle problems. It gives you really useful tools. What we wanted to achieve
was just to broaden the base of people that can
learn that way of thinking. By addressing people that
might have particular needs I think we ended up with something that is really easy to use. A pleasure to learn for everyone.>>You’ve created a form
of self-expression?>>That’s a very nice way
of putting it. Yeah.>>Thank you so much for
the work that you’re doing.>>Thank you so much for inviting me.>>Yes. Very exciting.>>Thanks.>>So now, we’re going to
split off and go work on our own Code Jumper projects.>>Mine is totally going
to better than Colleen’s.>>I’ll bring it. So Nick
was a great instructor, and he taught me a little bit
about the kit here. So this is the hub. There are four different inputs
to the hub gear. I had heard that you could make animal noises or there are different instruments
that you can tap into. But I was really fascinated by
this potential to create a poem.>>Simple sound, percussion. Beethoven’s 5th. I’ll do something I can get
a little bit more familiar with. Let’s do row row row
your boat, DJ version.>>So each one of these pods is
like a statement in your code. It’s a single line of code. I’ll plug in this first pod. It has a sound knob and
a duration knob on it. Then I’m plugging that
into the third input here. I can see on this PC as well
that it has registered my input. Nick told me that that
was so they could support the teachers who were teaching many different students
how to use this. They could quickly see
what was going on.>>All right. I’m going to. Okay. We want row, how fast? Row. While it lasts. Okay. Chipmunk’s version.>>This is a British poems about Doctor Foster who
went to Gloucester.>>Doctor Foster went to Gloucester.>>Isn’t that so cute?>>Row.>>Okay saying row once, but I needed to do row row row. So I need to loop it
because I don’t have enough blocks to add three rows. Handy-dandy yellow one is the loop. I need to figure how
many times I’m rowing.>>Three.>>Row, row, row, your boat. Okay. I need to close the loop.>>Your boat.>>No. All right. Let’s do it.>>Row row row.>>Music to my ears.>>In a shower of rain.>>Okay. So we have some adjustments to make
on the speed of sound.>>A bit faster. My life is but a dream.>>You sing so high.>>Gently down your row.>>The octaves are.>>Row.>>Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.>>I wish I had those kid’s pipes. He can sing. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily. Four Merrillies. He’s very merry. He’s not very merry.>>There we go.>>Went to Gloucester.>>Great, and then this third one.>>He stepped in a puddle.>>Yes. Okay, we’re doing great now. I’m finding the bugs in my code here.>>This has a go. How many loops?>>Merrily.>>I just want to hear that. Could hear it, like
dogs could hear that. This is going to in the blue.>>[inaudible].>>Okay. Let’s speed that up.>>Never went there again.>>All right. I think we’re ready.>>Doctor Foster went to
Gloucester in a shower of rain. He stepped in a puddle, right up to his middle, and never went there again.>>My first project to Toreno Code.>>Row, row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily,
life is but a dream.>>I forgot a merrily.>>Merrily, merrily, merrily
merrily, life is but a dream.>>Then I can do the remix, and I can add in the other threads, and we can have row, row. You’ve seen Hocus Pocus. They’re all sitting in
the cages at the end. I think my memory way
better than Kubernetes.>>That was a blast.>>Yeah. This is my first time really pulling together a coding project. I’ve ever done it. I know. I’ve learned what it was
like to use looping. It was really interesting. I even just thought
the physical design very kid-friendly, Sonia friendly.>>Good for you.>>Yeah. What did you do?>>I thought that I wanted to
do something musical as well.>>DJ O’Brien.>>I don’t really have the
vocabulary of music at my command. I opted instead for a poem. It was a great introduction to me, to this concept of bugs
and troubleshooting bugs. At Microsoft, this focus
on accessibility is a very much woven into
our ethos as a company. So I have really high hopes
about the potential of this technology to empower
a new generation of coders.>>I love how they’re inspiring blind and low-vision children now that they can code and
they can do these. It was really heartwarming.>>Speaking of empowering
everyone to achieve more.>>That’s a transition.>>I’m going to let you achieve
an answer to this question. We’re in the Outside
the Box segment now. Hello everyone. What is
your favorite season, and why?>>The reason why anyone stays in Seattle is because there is summer. I summer is by far
my favorite season. At first I thought first
you were going to ask what is your ideal date? It’s April,13th.>>Yeah. Is not too hot, it’s not too cold. Just need a light
solider light jacket.>>Light jacket. I think that’s fine. You can ask me a question now.>>Thank you for the permission.>>Colleen, are you an early bird, or a night owl?>>I am 100 percent an early bird.>>Yes, you are.>>I love being in the world
before everyone else’s. I love getting up bright and
early, a nice meditation, warm coffee, great breakfast
before everyone is up, and getting in my space.>>It’s usually my inbox is full
like Colleen O’Brien before 7:05. Okay, she is up and add them today.>>If you have any questions
that you’d like to ask us, please be sure to e-mail them to
the address below or comment.>>Please remember to subscribe to our channel if you
haven’t done so already. We have a new episode dropping
every Thursday at 9:00 AM Pacific. Do you want to go build
some more Code Jumper projects?>>Yeah, absolutely.>>I want to try another song. We could totally DJ.>>I’m going to do a joke
at this time. Let’s go. [MUSIC]>>Hey everyone, if you
can’t get enough of us, I would highly recommend
subscribing to our podcast, Women in Business and Technology
available right here.>>You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram at our social
handles right here. [MUSIC]

18 comments on “Microsoft Unboxed: Code Jumper (Ep. 17)

  1. Microsoft you suck I put in a code for xbox live and it didn't work so I put it in again and it said that the code was already used even though it said when I put it in in the first place it didn't work

  2. Thank you for the great episodes and for promoting science and technology.

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    Bullshit coming, !knok !knok nlp master!"

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  4. Global Software UNION – First Global Internet Provider.

    Investors:

    Microsoft

    Apple

    Midway

    Rockstar

    Valve

    Bethesda Softworks

    Electronic Arts

    Ubisoft

    Adobe

    "Internet Providers from Microsoft, Apple, Midway, Rockstar and other sofwtware companies. Stop the pirats! Buy internet provider and sell all windows, all games, all software! Enjoy! Global Software Union Coming!

    I am your angel!!

    Bullshit coming, !knok !knok nlp master!"

    "Angry 250k birds"

    CIA Leaks?!

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