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Oceanography for Students with Visual Impairments

Learn how to make oceanography accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired.

This article by Kate Fraser discusses oceanography for students who are visually impaired and describes a scientific collaboration which allows students with visual impairments to experience oceanography firsthand.  The project, which is called OceanInsight, gives students who are visually impaired the unique opportunity to study oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Here, students learn in an interactive way from a practicing research scientist who shares their particular disability. Amy Bower works as a physical oceanographer and senior scientist at the WHOI, and is legally blind.

At the WHOI exhibit center, students sit in on research labs, handle whale bones, and even explore the R/V Knorr, a typical research vessel that has special accommodations for the visually impaired. Bower shares with the students how she uses adaptive equipment to facilitate her job, and the assistive technology is briefly described in the article. Overall, OceanInsight’s purpose was to introduce students with visual impairments careers in oceanography and the geosciences that they might have considered unavailable to them.

By Laura Hospitál

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