Making Earth and Space Science Accessible
Students with disabilities are held to the same National and State science, math and technology education standards as their peers. However, current earth and space science classroom materials are often not designed with the deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, orthopedic, multi-disabled, or learning disabled user in mind. During the workshops we work with educators and experts from exceptional classroom settings and organizations to identify what kinds of educational materials they need and which educational products will work best for their students. Based on discussions and field experiences, it is clear that there is a need to modify and/or adapt existing educational materials and to encourage product developers to include educational methods for involving the exceptional student population. To address this need, we work closely with educators of students with disabilities, science content experts and education product developers to implement more effective ways for ALL students to share in the excitement of earth and space science lessons.
For Dr. Runyon's reflections on the course and its design, see Making Earth and Space Science Accessible: Role in the Program.
- To familiarize developers of education materials with the diversity of classroom and audience needs for persons with disabilities,
- To familiarize educators of students with disabilities with the wide variety of standards-based earth and space science educational support materials available from NASA and elsewhere;
- To evaluate several popular classroom materials from the different Science Mission Directorate themes for use in exceptional educational settings, and
- To build a communication and support network of educators of persons with disabilities, content experts in earth and space sciences, and education product developers
- To provide educators of exceptional students with exciting new resources to use in formal and informal settings, as well as some experience using them
- To provide recommendations for modifications and future design issues to developers of earth and space science and NASA mission-related educational products so that they are readily usable by audiences with disabilities.
Participating in the Making Earth & Space Accessible workshops helps to:
- Build participants' confidence in working with students and persons with disabilities in the sciences and STEM-related topics
- Increase participants' personal awareness about the importance of earth and space sciences
- Increase participants' personal awareness about the importance of using effective (appropriate) materials and resources to teach earth and space sciences to students / persons with disabilities
- Change participants' attitudes toward the abilities of persons with disabilities in STEM
- Change participants' attitudes toward science
For and example activity from this course, see Accessible Solar System on a String.
Pre- workshop survey (written)
Daily assessments: post- presentation and activity and at the end of the day (written)
Post-workshop survey (written and oral)
6 months afterward (written and oral)
1 year afterward (written and oral)
2, 3, 4, 5—years afterward (written and oral)
(we stay in touch!)