New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Engaging high school women and minority students in high impact engineering experiences offers a promising means to educate and inspire these students to pursue STEM degrees and careers. Not only do the students obviously benefit from pursuing degrees in the STEM fields, but the bring welcomed diversity to STEM research and practice. A frequently overlooked minority group is students with disabilities, specifically students with visual impairments or blindness (VIB). Often lacking access to advanced math and science courses in high school as well as lacking opportunities to engage in STEM activities outside of the classroom, this population of students may be less likely to pursue STEM fields. Therefore, it is essential to continue developing engaging opportunities and activities that expose these particular students to engineering practices and problem solving applications. Socially relevant, hands-on engineering activities can provide multisensory engagement allowing students with VIB to access science and math content. With minor modifications and implementations of assistive technology, exposing students with VIB to engineering activities can provide further access to engineering career paths as well as to strategies to teach and assess math and science concepts.
As summer camps are not confined to teaching specific state science or math standards, they provide an excellent platform in which to generate novel methods of instruction, assessment, and curriculum, including how to adapt existing curriculum to meet the needs of all students. The results from tested interventions in camp settings may lead to promising practices that teachers can implement in their classrooms including how to appropriately incorporate assistive technology. During the summer of 2015, a diverse team of engineering educators, curriculum development specialists, special educators, teachers of visually impaired students (TVIs), orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists, science teachers, and undergraduate engineering and education students, developed and implemented a comprehensive program to address aspects of skills needed to transition to college as well as an overview of the engineering grand challenges, engineering design process, and engineering habits of mind. Through a week-long, residential Summer Engineering Experience for Students with VIB, nine 10th - 12th grade students with VIB explored engineering practices and current engineering research while living on a college campus and developing independent and transition skills needed to be successful in post-high school settings. Additionally, this summer engineering experience allowed us to explore the efficacy of adapting existing engineering actives as well as employing appropriate assistive technology that can be used to access engineering concepts. Results from preliminary data collected from this underrepresented population of students further allow us to examine the efficacy of increasing student understanding of engineering practices and habits of mind while simultaneously incorporating "tech time outs" during the camp experience, i.e. explicit instruction on how to effectively use assistive technology in a variety of settings. The results suggest promising practices in engaging students with VIB in engineering activities while supporting transition to college skills in a summer camp setting. This paper will also explore replication models of this camp as well as implementation of these practices in school year settings.
Starling, A. L. P., & Brauner, D. (2016, June), Engaging Students with Visual Impairments or Blindness through Comprehensive and Accessible Engineering Experiences Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26979
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