Communicating Science Concepts to Individuals with Visual Impairments Using Short Learning Modules
Stender, Anthony S.
Swearer, Dayne F.
Of the 6.7 million individuals in the United States who are visually impaired, 63% are unemployed, and 59% have not attained an education beyond a high school diploma. Providing a basic science education to children and adults with visual disabilities can be challenging because most scientific learning relies on visual demonstrations. Creating resources to help teachers and service organizations better communicate science is thus critical both to the education of sighted students as well as to the continuing education of individuals with blindness or low vision (BLV). Here, 4 new scientific learning activities that last 5–15 min each are described. These simple exercises are designed to educate the general public, including both those who are sighted and those with BLV. The modules use tactile and auditory approaches to convey basic concepts including the metric system, material strength and deformation, transparency, and the electromagnetic spectrum. These modules were tested on 20 adults with BLV during a science outreach event. Answers to learning assessment questions indicate that the modules conveyed information about the scientific concepts presented and increased an interest in science for most participants.