Accessible Astronomy


Problem: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is commonly taught using visual aids, which greatly hinders the learning experience of someone who is visually impaired.  These are subjects that are important to make accessible to all students. 

 

Process: For my undergraduate senior thesis, I worked on the initual steps of making astronomy education accessible to visually impaired and blind students.  I aimed to inform the design of a tool that would not only help the visually impaired, but also supplement and better teach those who are sighted.  The initial stages of this project included semi-structured interviews with STEM instructors and a survey to college students to see how much they remember about space science and if there are any common misconceptions. 

 

Solution: Our lab is partnered with Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta. I have handed this project off to another student who is working on creating an auditory display that can go along with Fernbank's Planetarium presentation, since this is a common field trip for students.