By Independence Science on April 1, 2013
Applications are now open for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience life on a college campus, meet new friends, and learn exciting information about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Students will learn different STEM disciplines ranging from engineering and robotics to the science of cooking. Held on the campus of Towson University from July 29- August 3 fifty blind high school students from around the country will learn alongside blind and sighted STEM professionals. The National Federation of the Blind states, "the program challenges the notion that blind people are unable to pursue STEM fields, or on a larger scale, are predestined to a life of social welfare and government dependence." In the title STEM-X the program draws inspiration from the aerospace community where historically programs and missions have utilized the letter "X" as an abbreviation for exploration. This acts as a statement that the effort seeks new solutions that surpass previously assumed barriers to scientific advancement. Independence Science will be donating researchers, technology and curriculum development to assure success of this very valuable program. Expected tools will incliude the pH, temperature and salinity sensors for chemistry experiments, the hand-grip sensor, force plate and motion detector for physics and engineering procedures. Future blog posts will outline the exact involvement of our staff and technology. But you can guarantee the Talking LabQuest will be speaking loudly most of the week. Who: Blind students currently in grades 8-12 Where: Towson University, Towson, Maryland (just north of Baltimore) When: July 29 to August 3, 2013 Cost: Registration for the program will be $300. Note: The registration fees covers travel, lodging, and food for the program. How: Apply Now Note: Applications will close at 11:59 on May 15, 2013 Hashtag: #NFBSTEMX
Our staff still hears positive stories from Youth Slam and we look forward to the STEM-X educational program. Of the 4 instructional days students will choose one of the five disciplines to focus to create innovative solutions to complex problems in chemistry, computer science, engineering, robotics, and space science.
By Independence Science on March 29, 2013
Sci-Voice Access Software is a great product for users who are blind, but did you know that Sci-Voice Software is also helpful for those who have low vision? For maximum access there are some other tools that may be helpful to increase access to the Vernier Software & Technology used by Independence Science. Our researchers tested the Ai Squared, ZoomText product to insure compatibility with Logger Pro Data Analysis Software. The testing confirmed that the zooming feature worked flawlessly with the graphs, data tables, menus and other software features. When it came to speech output, the menus items were navigable through speech, but other on-screen items were not as reliable. Access to the table, graph, and statistical boxes are the most important feature on Logger Pro and thus if one wants to use ZoomText along with speech output they will need another software solution. We recommend users with low vision use ZoomText for magnification and turn the speech feature off. Utilizing Window-Eyes and the Window-Eyes Logger Pro app will provide the advanced speech output needed to navigate the graphs, tables, and statistical boxes. Contact Independence Science for further science accessibility needs. And enjoy ZoomText magnification with Logger Pro!
By Independence Science on March 12, 2013
This Low-Tech Design by Dr. Lillian Rankel, shows the physical properties of wind. Complete this hands-on activity to improve fine motor skills and comprehension of following directions. Use the handmade windsock to make observations about the wind strength and direction. It is not necessary, but advised to do this observation in the spring/summer/fall months for more enjoyment. Materials:
By Independence Science on February 11, 2013
Kate Fraser teaches science at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA where she has seen the evolution of technology develop to include data collection and analysis tools from Independence Science. "STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is important for ALL students, and for students at Perkins it opens up a number of careers that would not be possible." she states in the interview. This behind the scenes interview briefly explains the value of Sci-Voice Access Software and the tools used in the science classroom for students to better understand science concepts through hands-on education. Featured in the video is the Talking LabQuest and Logger Pro Lab Access Solutions for students who are blind or visually impaired.
By Independence Science on February 6, 2013
The ability to adapt visual concepts into tactile objects are a key technique commonly used by teachers of the visually impaired to relay information. Creativity can allow the teacher to increase engagement and provide a hands-on educational experience for students who are blind or have low vision. Cost effective methods are obviously ideal, and we have provided 4 different ways to use the very affordable Q-Tip cotton swabs and pasta to adapt scientific concepts into tactile material for students with visual impairments. Tactile Skeleton Dip the Q-Tips in glue and stick to a tactile sketch of a skeleton. Apply puff glue or glitter glue to the sketch prior to the activity. The photo shows a skeleton made with ribs, spine, legs and arms, where the fingers and feet were made with a Q-tip cut in half. You can also use this lesson as a counting activity for younger children. *This hands-on activity is great to let the student explore the separate components of a human skeleton. Tactile Skeleton (with pasta) By using five different kinds of pasta, a human skeleton puzzle can be made to intrigue the students to figure out the proper alignment of the human body. To make assembly easier, add glue on the tactile sketch to show where each bone (pasta) should be placed. For the head, use a pasta that comes with faces like spongebob, for the ribs use elbow pasta, longer ziti can be used for arms/legs, small shells for hands/feet, and cut up capellini or rice to represent fingers. Encourage problem solving skills and improve fine motor skills as students put together the tactile skeleton model. Tactile Snowflakes Each snowflake has a hexagonal structure, yet no two snowflakes are identical. You can start by purchasing snowflakes from the dollar store and snipping parts of the “arms” to deliver the concept that no snowflake is the same. To add additional tactile material dip a Q-tip cotton swab in glitter glue and position in a radiating pattern to show the six arms of the snow flake. Gluing the arms on a tactile snowflake will produce the best example and easily explain the hexagonal structure of the frozen water formation. Tactile Flower Diagram Start with a cotton ball to represent the flower’s center and then add Q-tips as petals around the center. Rub the cotton ball in blue chalk to get a blue color for better contrast with students who have low vision. Insert a pipe cleaner as the stem and add glue where necessary. We have just found 4 low-tech adaptations for the science classroom using every day, inexpensive material. What other techniques do you use and how do you adapt the classroom? Tell us in the comments below. Read more TVI Tips
By Independence Science on January 22, 2013
Would you like to learn how blind people tackle the very visual subject of organic chemistry successfully? Do you have a general love for science? Do you want to learn how you can do chemistry as a blind person just as successfully as your sighted peers? Then the 2013 California Chemistry Camp is for you! When: Friday, May 3, 2013 through Sunday, May 5, 2013. Where: Enchanted Hills Camp near Napa, California. Who: Up to fifteen blind high school students ages 14-18 will be selected to participate. Cost: There is no cost to apply for the program. 2013 Chemistry Camp Application Join Accessible Science, a 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of providing accessible educational opportunities, for an Educational, exciting, and Fun-Filled weekend of science education! The 2013 California Chemistry Camp is made possible through a partnership with the National Federation of the Blind of California and with additional contributions from the University of California, Davis chemistry department, and the Lighthouse for the Blind of San Francisco. Experience this exciting and busy 3-day camp dedicated to accessible chemistry education. Students will learn how blind and visually impaired people use chemistry in their careers. Explore techniques for hands-on chemistry experiments, talk with blind and sighted scientists, participate in recreational activities, and apply techniques to basic cooking and olive oil chemistry. Socialize with blind mentors, instructors and fellow students throughout the weekend. Each student will be put in a group of three to work with a blind mentor who will accompany and do everything with the student through the weekend. Most likely the group will share a sleeping area in one of the Enchanted Hills Camp Lodges. Apply immediately by downloading this 2013 Chemistry Camp Application. Note that this is a preliminary application. If applicants are selected to move on in the process, the student and/or parent or legal guardian may be interviewed via telephone. Once a student has been accepted to participate, they will be notified by email or phone. Transportation will be provided to Enchanted Hills Camp from pick-up points in the San Francisco bay area and at pick-up points in Sacramento. Transportation will leave the pick-up points in both the bay area and Sacramento around 2 PM on Friday, May 3 and will be dropped off at the same points at about 4 PM on Sunday, May 5. Contact Angela Fowler, Director of Planning, Accessible Science with any questions fowlers(@)syix.com, 530-902-0987 Once students are accepted, the parents or legal guardian of the student will be sent several permission release and safety forms to be signed and returned in the pre-addressed envelope which will be included in the packet. Logistical specifics of the camp such as transportation, dietary allergies, a more precise schedule, and health concerns will be discussed at this time. Note that if they do not receive all permission forms signed by the parent or legal guardian of a student by the time of the camp, the student will NOT be able to participate in the camp.
By Independence Science on December 4, 2012
The Institute for Accessible Science is searching for researchers to join their Summer Undergraduate Fellowship Program Apply Now!
This opportunity will pair you with a faculty mentor who will work with you to design and conduct a project related to their research in biomedical science. You will actively contribute to an improved understanding of the issues students with physical disabilities face in pursuing their careers.
IAS Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships include:
IAShub.org offers many resources for people with disabilities, including:
Applications accepted through April 15, Read about requirements and apply for the fellowship program
For those who have a disability but are not physically disabled, the IAShub is still a very valuable resource for those interested in jump starting their career in a biomedical science field. View an accessible laboratory virtual tour and read more about the benefits of an IAShub membership
By Independence Science on November 26, 2012
Searching for the right post high school education is a long process for every student, but for the student with a disability, extra caution and consideration should be taken. A strong relationship should be developed with the disability services coordinator and the student. Visiting the school is truly the best way to find out if it is a good match for the college bound student. We have compiled a few resources that should help you better understand the decision making process and a few guidelines to follow. Visit this resource for Accredited Online Colleges and Disability Education to gain a better idea of how to arrange proper accommodations, compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the IDEA Act. This resource is best if considering an online education for your student. The Huffington Post published an article on the Colleges with the Best Learning Disability Programs and includes information on study abroad programs, schools dedicated to disability education and strategic alternative learning programs. This article includes an image slideshow with captions and links to each school. US News covers an article on 8-Steps for Learning Disabled Students who Want to go to College. Although the accommodations may be different for a student with a visual impairment, these 8-steps still do apply for choosing the right school. A summary of the steps are listed below.
By Independence Science on October 25, 2012
Hosted by the Massachusetts Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and the UMass Donahue Institute, the MA STEM Summit brought together leaders in business, government and education to discuss programs that promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education from early childhood through adulthood and progress on implementation of the Statewide STEM Plan. The economical development goals of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are directly tied to the STEM mission to fill the highly skilled jobs needed to propel an innovative economy. Invited to present on accessible laboratory equipment was the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. Independence Science provided the Talking LabQuest, conductivity, temperature, salinity, motion detector, and humidity sensors for demonstration by Lindsay Yazzolino. Lindsay works for the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary as a program coordinator and researcher in the Merabet Lab. She is blind and has always had an interest in science material. Receiving a degree in Cognitive Science from Brown University was an important milestone for Lindsay, but is really just the beginning of her journey as a role model for students who are blind or visually impaired. The demonstration started by testing the relative humidity and temperature measurements of the room. Lindsay was able to access the usually visual data due to Sci-Voice Access Software installed on the Vernier LabQuest data collection device. The next sensor she demonstrated was pH, and she collected measurements from local tap water, coffee, coffee with cream and monsoon chai tea. As you might have guessed, the lowest pH was the black coffee. This event was important to the Science Access movement because the attendees are not often exposed to equipment that can help the blind succeed in classrooms. In fact, many were not familiar with the Vernier LabQuest in general. Lindsay shares very similar ideals with the mission of Independence Science, stating "All too often, blind students do not actively participate in hands-on science lab activities, and are instead relegated to taking notes or passively watching their sighted classmates perform the experiments. It is crucial to raise awareness of tools such as the Talking LabQuest which enable blind students to fully participate in the science classroom experience, and hopefully motivate many to pursue careers in STEM fields." The new education technology available for all students is very impressive with capabilities like WIFI and bluetooth technology to make the transfer of data even faster. Independence Science is working towards connectivity to the iPAD through the Vernier LabQuest 2 Connect System (not yet available in an accessible format through Sci-Voice Access Software). With a WIFI connected system the possibilities are endless, and During the conference Lindsay explained to the audience how Voice-Over works on her iPhone and from there, the conversation heated up on the possibilities of new and current technology for the blind, mostly by the ease of apps, siri, and the iPADs camera feature for OCR recognition devices. Science education is essential for all students understanding of the world, but for one who can not see their surroundings, a scientific understanding of their environment pays off in many ways beyond passing a chemistry, biology or physics course. Gravity, heat, and other elements taught are encountered outside the classroom way before a student takes a course on the material. If science is taught to a young child they not only have a chance for a greater interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) studies, but they have a greater understanding of how their world operates. Other TVI Tips: IsLAND Conference on Disability 2012 New Programs to Intrigue and Inspire your Child – Chicago Lighthouse Cary Supalo’s Experiences as a Blind Chemistry Student (Braille Monitor, July 2012) TVI Tips: How to Conduct and Analyze a Science Experiment for a Student who is Blind (Video) TVI Tips: How to Prepare the Science Laboratory Bench for a Student who is Blind (Video)
By Independence Science on October 23, 2012
Independence Science Learning a New Direction Conference on Disability serves as a way to connect teachers, researchers, and accessibility experts as we explore alternate teaching methodologies, assistive technology, and low tech adaptations for accessible Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields of study.
Speakers Presenting on Accessible Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Fields of Study:
Emphasized during this conference are multi-sensory and hands-on approaches to generate elevated student interest in classroom material and thus, improve concept development. Examples of topics covered in the conference: experiences shared by instructors of students with visual impairments in college level chemistry laboratory classes, the use of audemes into scientific meaning interpretation of visual concepts for students with visual impairments, research on the findings of the Talking LabQuest project and future directions for this powerful scientific data collection tool, the innovative program at Purdue University known as, "Able Flight," information regarding the Purdue University Institute for Accessible Science, and a program that promotes people with disabilities to become licensed pilots.
The IsLAND Conference on Disability is free to all with pre-registration.
Complimentary continental breakfast and lunch sponsored by gh, LLC provided to all pre-registered guests.
Friday Nov. 16, 2012 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Kurz Purdue Technology Center (Conf Rm A-B) 1281 Win Hentschel Blvd. West Lafayette, IN 47906
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NFB STEM-X Program | National Center for Blind Youth in Science
How to Use Screen Magnification with Logger Pro Data Analysis Software
TVI Science Tips: Observations about Wind Direction
Behind the Scenes Video at Perkins School for the Blind | Non-Visual Access to Scientific Data
TVI Tips: 4 Creative Ways to Use Q-Tips and Pasta as Tactile Adaptations
Accessible Science Chemistry Camp (3-day educational opportunity)
Research Fellowship Opportunity for Students who are Physically Disabled
Resources for Higher Education Disability Services
Opening Doors for Blind & Visually Impaired Students at MA STEM Summit 2012
IsLAND Conference on Disability 2012
It's a miracle!?! Nope, just Stem Cell Research http://t.co/3POsIMmxCc