[nobe-l] Suggestions for STEM resources

Kaden Colton atmosaddict at gmail.com
Tue Dec 12 23:00:09 UTC 2017

Hello Frederick,

I studied meteorology as an undergraduate and plan to continue that once I
enter into my graduate program.  So, the framework I come from is very
physics and mathematics based.  The suggestions i have in this email are
more geared towards the earth science and physics end of STEM.  Below are
some of the adaptations I've used to make coursework more accessible.

   - In the straight out physics classes I took, I used a little ball with
   beads inside of it when conducting laboratory experiments.  The little
   sound helped me gauge the speed of the ball down a track auditory.  Other
   things I used in a physics laboratory were tactile rulers, speaking timers
   and lab equipment which uploaded all of it's data to an online
   spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet was accessible.  I also asked the professor
   running the lab if they had an accessible version of the laboratory manual
   and if I could receive it electronically.
   - I asked the physics professors I had if they could use larger balls
   with bells in them when demonstrating concepts.  I also asked if they could
   describe visuals as best they could when demonstrating momentum and gravity.
   - I took mathematics classes through Calculus 3 and Ordinary
   Differential equations.  For these mathematics courses, I used wiki-sticks,
   tactile graphing paper  with cartesian coordinates, polar coordinate and
   logarithmic schemes.  I preferred graphs I could feel and manipulate.  Some
   of the higher level mathematics classes necessitated the tactical graphing
   paper so I could keep up in class and ask the professor if I was on the
   right track with the concepts.  But I know there are talking calculators
   that can be used as well for the essentials.
   - In the computer science class I took, a computer loaded with screen
   reading software and paired with a Braille display really helped.  This
   way, I could double check the code I wrote and the teaching assistants
   could visually check the scripts I wrote as well.  I primarily used Linux
   and Mac operating systems with the built in screen readers and my Braille
   Note as a display to double check the syntax.  Sometimes, I did use screen
   magnification.  But I used the magnification to check about the visual
   outputs like graphics output by MATLAB.
   - Throughout my undergraduate studies, I took several meteorology
   classes.  One adaptation I used in the beginning was larger versions of
   isobaric and isothermal maps and pens so I could see where the high and low
   pressure systems were located, and to locate where bands of temperature
   were closest together.  Later, I moved to a tactile map of the lower 48
   states, wiki-sticks and different texture beads and buttons.  Certain beads
   represents which direction a high or low pressure moved and where storms
   devolved and disappeared.  Three different texture beads were only needed
   for this.  I used the buttons to mark where the center of the low or high
   pressure systems were.
   - For the general sense of the upper atmosphere, U used a tactile
   logarithmic map or a printed logrithmic map with thick lines and either
   wiki-sticks or a different colored pen to denote the general trend of
   temperature throughout the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and the
   - In the general chemistry class I took, I requested an assistant to
   describe what the different visual changes in the beakers took place.  For
   one of the labs, we used the mass spectrometer to determine the energy of
   different elements when put into a fire.  I found it helpful to turn out
   the lights (after all the chemicals were marked in Braille and print).
   Turning off the lights helped me see the different colors of flames and it
   helped the equipment to recognize what was going on more easily as well.
   All of the data recorded was uploaded to an external website that was
   accessible using a screen reader.  For the chemistry labs, I had an
   electronic version of the laboratory reports I had to fill out.  I emailed
   them to the professor at the end of each lab session.
   - One thing I used for my chemistry class was a three-dimensional
   tactile chemistry set where I could use different sized balls and sticks to
   play around and figure out how molecules were orients based upon there
   shell level and bond type.  This might be helpful for blind and visually
   impaired students.  Balls are different sizes and colors.

For a lot of the science and mathematics classes I took, did not go high
tech.  Sometimes, it was easier to use simple things, like art supplies or
tactile/larger version representations of materials.  That's what I have
found helpful as I moved through many STEM courses.


On 12 December 2017 at 12:55, Frederick R. Prete, Ph.D. via NOBE-L <
nobe-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:

> Colleagues:
> I am a Biology Prof at Northeastern Illinois University. I began my
> teaching career working with young, special needs children many of whom had
> vision loss, my father was blind, and I have vision loss due to glaucoma.
> So, I have some sense of the challenges that vision loss has in education.
> That said, I have been working with our Student Disability Services at
> NEIU to develop curricula that would increase access to our science and
> math courses for students with visual impairments. I would very much
> appreciate any advise, suggestions, or thoughts that you all could share
> with me to help us begin this project.
> For instance, are there specific technologies or software programs that
> you find particularly helpful, is it effective for a course to have a
> YouTube channel with all of the lectures recorded, are there particular
> laboratory techniques or equipment that you have found particularly
> effective (or not)?
> Any and all suggestions, opinions, or comments would be helpful as we
> explore ways to increase accessibility here at NEIU.
> Thanks in advance,
> Frederick
> ----------
> Frederick R. Prete, PhD
> Associate Editor, International Journal of Comparative Psychology
> Department of Biology
> Northeastern Illinois University
> 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
> office: 773.442.5724
> fax: 773.442.5730
> cell: 847.209.3515
> www.neiu.edu
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