OCAD University Open Research Repository

Using Inclusive Design to Improve the Accessibility of Informal STEM Education, for Children with Visual Impairment

Murgaski, Stephen (2020) Using Inclusive Design to Improve the Accessibility of Informal STEM Education, for Children with Visual Impairment. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Murgaski, Stephen
Abstract:

In this research paper, STEM workshops are designed to provide experiences for twenty-five blind and visually impaired children at a summer camp, with STEM activities that are engaging and fun as well as educational. The aspiration is that the participants should have equitable experiences to their peers without visual impairment, so that they may get the same enjoyment from the STEM workshops as any other participants. Another research goal is to investigate the accessibility features of various commercially available robots, and consider the stability of accessibility features as robots are updated and replaced over time. An analytical autoethnographic approach and an Inclusive Design Model are used, which employ the researcher’s experience as a blind person and children’s feedback to inform ongoing design revisions to the Informal STEM Education activities. Children experimented with playing with and programming robotic toys such as a Bee-bot, Cubetto, Cubelets and Lego Mindstorm EV3, using modified mats and building materials. Video recording, group interviews and direct observation were the data collection tools used. Although all of the STEM education tools used in this study required at least some modification to make them more accessible for the participants, the amount of modification needed varied widely. Some tools were nearly accessible out of the box, while others could not easily be made accessible at all. This suggests many avenues for future research into the accessibility of tools for STEM education, especially robots. The inclusive design of some potential STEM education activities which were not tested, for lack of time, are also described.

Date: 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: accessibility standards, inclusive STEM activities, robotics camps, coding, children and teenagers with visual impairment, analytical autoethnography, inclusive design
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2020 00:53
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 00:53
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3124

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