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Although previous research exists on making adaptations for students with visual impairments in online settings, there is limited research on the teaching and learning dynamics of students with visual impairments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since responses to the pandemic made it difficult for students with visual impairments to participate in educational opportunities that require hands-on experiences, gaps have been identified in gaining access to educational opportunities. The current project was originally planned with programs based on in-person modes, aimed at increasing motivation and awareness of science, technology, engineering, and math of students with visual impairments. Due to limitations of in-person participation, substantial modifications and adaptations were required for the programs to be meaningful and effective when delivered in online environments. It was found that proficiency in the use of technology options, specific instruction and guidance for access of information, and program planning in advance were the three key elements for successful implementation of the programs. This article documents 1) existing research on the impacts of the pandemic, 2) meaningful adaptations and modifications, 3) essential elements for developing online programs in STEM, and 4) identified strategies in program transition for students with visual impairments. Some skills may not be most efficiently taught through online interactions, however participation of family members, careful modifications of existing activities, and sufficient level of technology support allows many skills to be acquired through online learning. Most importantly, strong collaboration of participating team members makes it possible for students with visual impairments to participate equitably in online environments.
Hong, Sunggye; Topor, Irene; Park, Jinseok; Alshuli, Tasnim A.; and Topor, Irene L.
"Out-of-school STEM Program for Students with Visual Impairments: Adaptations and Outcomes During the COVID-19 Pandemic,"
Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities: Vol. 26
1, pp. 1-10, Article 2.
Available at: https://repository.rit.edu/jsesd/vol26/iss1/2