June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.492.1 - 23.492.14
Engaging Students with Visual Impairments in Engineering and Computer Science through Robotic Game Programming (research-to-practice)The ratio of entering college freshmen with disabilities has been increasing in the academicenvironment, including a recent reported growth of 9 percent. Among those, students withvisual impairments account for almost 16 percent, but only 3.9 percent of them majored incomputer science. The contributing factor to this can be found in the disparity in education ofprecollege math and science, which provide a foundation for pursuing a degree in computerscience, for the students with visual impairments. The reason for this disparity is related tothe unavailability of information and lack of accessible formats and alternative teachingmethods such as the utilization of non-visual curriculum. Currently, there are only a fewefforts made to encourage students with visual impairments to pursue higher education andcomputing career opportunities at the precollege level, which include the National Center forBlind Youth in Science, the Access Computing Alliance, and Project ACE (AccessibleComputing Education).One of the popular activities to encourage K-12 students in designing their future career inthe field of computer science and engineering is the utilization of robotic platforms. With themultidisciplinary characteristics of the robotics field with its basis on math and science, therobotics curriculum can provide an intriguing and challenging environment for students.Unfortunately, for students with visual impairments, there is still lack of opportunities instudying basic computing concepts with robotic-based curriculum. As such, our research isfocused on engaging students with visual impairments by providing accessible interface forrobot programming. Our main strategy is to incorporate robotic platforms and commerciallyavailable non-visual interfaces such as gaming devices to increase the interest of precollegelevel students with visual impairments and engage to deliver practical knowledge incomputing.Multi-level tutorials are devised to teach basic and advanced knowledge of programmingskills, and multi-modal feedback signals are designed to transfer the status of the roboticplatform to the user in the process of testing of the program. Furthermore, several roboticgames are provided for the students to challenge after basic programming sessions. By usingrobotic games as a means of engagement, our hypothesis is that as long as alternativeinterface technologies can be employed, a student can become an active participant inrobotics-based computing activities, with the goal of encouraging the student to considerfuture possibilities in computing. In this paper, we introduce the platform and interfacemodalities of our system, and also present our accumulated results taken over six camps forstudents with visual impairments hosted in five states. Along with the results from the camps,we discuss the basic curriculum for the camp and resulting game challenges that are used toengage the students while proving a means to evaluate their learned robotic programmingskills.
Park, C. H., & Howard, A. (2013, June), Engaging Students with Visual Impairments in Engineering and Computer Science through Robotic Game Programming (research-to-practice) Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19506
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015