Dr. Amy Bower (WHOI) has begun a collaboration with the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. The oldest school for the blind in the United States, Perkins offers accredited K-12 education to over 200 students on campus as well as support to local educational organizations for the blind in over 50 developing countries.
The goals of the collaboration are to communicate the importance of understanding how the earth works, instill the excitement of oceanographic research, and introduce Perkins students to careers in the geosciences that they might not otherwise consider as accessible to them. Three main activities are being proposed: (1) meet with Perkins science teachers to learn how best to present scientific material to their students; (2) meet several times over the course of the project with Perkins students and parents to present career information and information on climate, ocean currents and oceanographic instrumentation; and (3) direct the development of an accessible expedition web site and set up an e-mail correspondence system for the IR mooring deployment cruise to provide updates on weather, research activities, life aboard ship, etc, and answer students’ questions. These activities would allow Perkins students to participate from the classroom in field research and observe the work of a practicing research scientist who shares their particular disability
We anticipate that this pilot program could be expanded in the future to reach more visually impaired students and their parents.