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Multi-semester Projects to Improve Braille Instruction for Visual Impairments

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Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference



Publication Date

April 9, 2021

Start Date

April 9, 2021

End Date

April 10, 2021

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Daniel K. Jones P.E. State University of New York, Polytechnic Institute

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Dr. Jones is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at SUNY Poly in Utica, NY. His teaching interests include machine design, mechanical measurements, vibrations, instrumentation, and assistive technology for people with physical disabilities. His recent research interests include measuring and analyzing EEG signals from the brain in response to visual stimuli.

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Joanne M Joseph SUNYPOLY

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Joanne M. Joseph PhD is Psychologist and currently the Interim Dean of Health Sciences at SUNYPOLY. Dr. Joseph has colloborated with Dr. Daniel Jones and other faculty from the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Arts and Science to create Minor Concentrations in Humanitarian Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering Technology and Humanitarian Studies. The minors represent a multidisciplinary effort directed to improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

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For many years, faculty have worked with local community organizations to provide students project-based learning by developing assistive technology for people with disabilities. Most of these projects have been very effective at inspiring and motivating students to apply their technical skills to solve problems encountered in educational, occupational, and recreational tasks, as well as routine activities of daily living. However, the time constraints of a single semester made it difficult to provide a technical solutions, get feedback from users, and incorporate changes needed to make a usable end product.

Faculty and students have partnered with a local agency to engage students in the development of assistive technology for people who are blind or visually impaired. The agency identified the need for new equipment to assist with braille instruction since prior products had limitations making them difficult to use. Students from Engineering Technology (ET) programs worked with students in the Community and Behavior Health (CBH) program to develop and build a prototype braille scrabble game. CBH students provided the developmental specifications and evaluations for the blocks, and the ET students provided design details and prototypes. The agency then used the prototypes and provided feedback for improvements to be used as a starting point for the following semester. After several years of semester-by-semester iterations, a series of projects has proven to be an incredible learning opportunity which has led to development of real improvements in braille instruction.

Jones, D. K., & Joseph, J. M. (2021, April), Multi-semester Projects to Improve Braille Instruction for Visual Impairments Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . 10.18260/1-2--36309

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