The Geological Tactile Image Repository: A Digital Resource Collection to Support Instructors of Blind and Low-Vision Geoscience Students

Wednesday 12:35 PT / 1:35 MT / 2:35 CT / 3:35 ET Online


Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
P. Jack Reed, Stanford University
Sydney L. Clark, Kentucky Department of Public Health
Donna Lee, University of Kentucky
Christopher Atchison, University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

To support instructors of Blind and low-vision students and to make the visual component of geoscience more accessible to all students regardless of ability, we have developed a online repository of tactile images suitable for high-school Earth science and college-level introductory geoscience instruction. The repository is housed on the website of the International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD) and can be freely accessed at Funding for the repository was provided by the American Geophysical Union.

The repository includes more than 82 black-and-white vector graphics suitable for printing on heat-sensitive microcapsule paper with a Harpo "Pictures in a Flash" (PIAF) printer or a TactPlus 3D imaging printer. The graphics in the collection include a variety of diagrams, graphs, maps, and geologic cross-sections chosen to represent commonly taught topics and themes within introductory geoscience courses (e.g., minerals, rocks, volcanoes, Earth's interior, geologic structures, regional geology, plate tectonics, glaciers, coasts, mass wasting, soils, geochronology, and climate change). The images were designed using principles of tactile graphic design, annotated and labeled with Grade 2 (contracted) Swell Braille font, edited by 14 graduate students in the Teacher Preparation Program in Visual Impairments at the University of Kentucky's College of Education, and tested by two braille readers. The graphics are tagged for discovery by search term and are available in both PDF and PowerPoint format to allow for immediate use or modification by instructors.

In addition to highlighting the resources on the website, best practices for designing tactile graphics for the PIAF will also be discussed during this talk. Persons interested in contributing additional graphics to the collection are encouraged to contact the IAGD for more information.

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