Jugend hackt in action

Accessible Development by Young People

The organization Jugend hackt would like to teach young people how to code and the right ethical approach to it. Moreover, it has developed a Code of Conduct to instill diversity in all of its programs and to actively counteract the lack of diversity in technology. Along with the inclusion of girls and young people of all genders, those from educationally disadvantaged households and immigrant backgrounds, this includes young people with physical disabilities.

Jugend hackt is offering diversity openings to include young people who otherwise have few education opportunities in technology.

Thus, for example, 12-year-old Frida had the opportunity to actively participate in Jugend hackt projects at a Jugend hackt event in Berlin in October 2018, despite her severe visual impairment. Frida's story attests to the incredible competence and commitment of the volunteers, who repeatedly express their willingness to support Jugend hackt A mentor who has a visually-impaired child herself and a mentor who programs software for the visually-impaired for a living immediately volunteered to provide Frida with support.

Frida, who is highly motivated, came up with the idea of programming a game controlled by audio signals, since there are very few accessible computer games on the market right now. Many other youth participants joined her project. At the start, the team's challenge was that the process of coding a computer game is not usually accessible for the visually-impaired. But, together with the mentors, the team found a remarkable solution: first, Frida built a haptic model from lego to determine the game's design. One of her teammates then built the whole thing digitally. After that, the team faced its next challenge: coding programs do not support voice input. But they overcame this problem, too. The group wrote the code in a text document first and transferred it to the program by copy-pasting. The result? "South Island," a game where the female hero has to come out of a dark cave and can only guide herself by sounds.

The "South Island" project is a successful example of how Jugend hackt is able to foster ethics and a participatory, solution-oriented approach among young coders. This is exactly the kind of coders that Germany and the world will need for the future.

By the way, the presentation of "Sound Island" by the De-Coder team (Frida, Lennart, Lucas, Jaro, Lucas, and Elias) is available online:

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