Microsoft Creates a Physical Programming Language for Teaching Computing to Visually Impaired Children

Project Torino is a research project from Microsoft Research Cambridge. Researchers have designed a physical programming language and scheme of work (lessons) for teaching the primary school computing curriculum to learners regardless of their level of vision.

Learners put together pods to create code that plays music, stories, or poetry. An accompanying app provides a self-directed scheme of work that learners can work through under adult supervision. Learners are gradually introduced to reading or listening to their code in a textual form to support transition to coding in secondary school.

Microsoft Project Torino

This scheme of work includes concept introduction, a range of activities, and challenges, and ways to assess knowledge and understanding. It covers all of the major concepts in the primary computing curriculum, including: sequences, repetition, selection, variables, (and threads). In addition to these basic coding concepts, it also provides a number of challenges to push computational thinking. Not least, it encourages creative play with computation. The scheme of work is accompanied by a set of tutorials and a teacher resource guide.

Given the high demand, Microsoft Research Cambridge is considering to run the Project Torino Beta in both the autumn and winter terms of the school year (2017 – 2018) in the UK.

Learn more about Project Torino at