June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
This research-based paper presents a professional development program for teachers of students with visual impairments (TVI), targeting grades 5-12 focused around bio-engineering. The program goals are to 1) Increase the science, math, and engineering content knowledge for TVIs; 2) Increase TVI’s capacity to teach science, math, and engineering concepts to students with visual impairments (VI); 3) Increase TVIs efficacy in science, math, and engineering; 4) increase TVIs capacity to make modifications and accommodations for students with VI to pre-existing science, math, and engineering lesson plans.
Beck-Winchatz and Riccobono (2007) estimate that there are approximately 100,000 students with visual impairments (VI) in the United States and the majority of these students are following general education curricula. However, less than 30 individuals with VI earned a science and engineering research doctorate on average each year from 2001 to 2009 compared to 25,600 people without a disability on average per year during the same time period (NSF, 2012). Lack of higher level degrees in the science and engineering fields do not reflect the fact that students with VI have the same spectrum of cognitive abilities as sighted peers and with appropriate accommodations can master high-order concepts.
The impact of VI is widely recognized to be particularly significant for math and science learning. Challenges for students with VI in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) areas include lagging several years behind in developing an understanding of particular mathematical concepts (e.g., many and few, same and different, large and small, and part and whole), accessing problem information, and difficulty conceptualizing spatial concepts. Students with VI are not receiving the appropriate accommodations and modifications to curriculum in order to master the concepts.
This quasi-experimental study design involves both qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative ethnographic study aims at exploring the ways in which teachers teach scientific concepts or misconceptions that they have in science lessons for students with visual impairments. The current study uses an ethnographic approach that includes extended observations and semi-structured interviews to understand the current teaching practices pre- and post-professional development.
Quantitative data collected includes the Revised Mathematics Anxiety Survey, the Mathematics Evaluation Anxiety Survey, the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument, and the Math Teaching Efficacy Instrument as outlined by Bursal and Paznokas (2006) to determine the anxiety of teachers’ of students with visual impairments anxiety levels and teaching beliefs of math and science. In addition, a custom bio-engineering instrument is being given pre- and post-professional development. Teachers in the treatment group (receiving professional development) will be compared to the control group of nationwide TVIs who complete the same surveys.
We hypothesize that TVIs receiving the professional development graduate level course on bio-engineering will increase their content knowledge, improve their teaching efficacy and reduce their anxiety all leading to improved learning for VI students. We will report on the first year of data collection based on the TVIs professional development pre- and post-testing.
Grzybowski, D. M., & Wild, T., & Yang, S. J. (2017, June), Board # 90 : Engineering Education for Visually Impaired Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27952
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