Data show that ALL students do better when Introductory Geology course is adapted to actively and equitably include visually impaired students

Thursday 1:45pm Tate B20


Kate Pound, North Hennepin Community College
Educators work within a system that expects us to address the learning needs of all our students, which can be challenging, particularly given the status of funding, resources, and time available to us, it can seem difficult to address the societal need to equitably integrate all students into our classes and labs. Geoscience educators have focused much of their energy on helping students SEE geology, but the benefits of working with visually impaired students as part of a class require (1) different presentation styles, and (2) adapted classroom and Lab demonstrations, which in turn build stronger, more-inclusive communities in which ALL students do better.
Data collected from an introductory college geology course for majors that was modified to truly include a visually-impaired student shows that ALL students do better compared to both previous and subsequent renditions of the course. Modifications to lecture style were the key initial step; the modifications meant that it took longer to 'present' a topic, but the focus on true understanding resulted in improved learning for all. Intentional pairing or grouping of students to answer in-class questions, resulted in more active discussions, improved student engagement, and improved student learning. Most importantly, data collected show that demonstrations or tactile 'in-class' activities relating to seafloor sediment distribution, Walthers Law, cross-cutting relations, contoured data, geologic maps, and earthquake activity at subduction zones not only built a stronger, more-inclusive classroom community, but also helped all students 'SEE' geology better – as well as communicate their understandings with their peers.

Presentation Media

ALL Students Do Better (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 26.7MB Jul13 22)