2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 97-13
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

TEACHING GEOGRAPHIC FEATURES TO THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED THROUGH TACTILE METHODOLOGY

PAIVA, Kathleen A., Geography and Geosciences, Bloomsburg University, 400 E. 2nd Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, kap27593@huskies.bloomu.edu, VENN, Cynthia, Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, 400 E 2nd Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, and HARRIS, Martha C., Bloomsburg University, 400 E. 2nd Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

In April, 2010, we formed a team consisting of a professor, a pre-service teacher, and a visually impaired student, to aid the student in mastering knowledge of geographic features required in an assignment in an oceanography class. Using a large topographic relief map of the world, the pre-service teacher added materials with different textures to indicate 138 different oceanic and land features such as deserts, deep-sea trenches, rivers, islands, etc. To give the visually impaired student a spatial awareness of locations of specific features, the Equator and Prime Meridian were delineated with yarn, which then served as a reference framework for locating continental and oceanic features. The material to be learned was divided into 3 parts, organized in a geographic manner rather than by feature type (deserts, rivers, etc.) as it was in the regular class assignment. Each week, the pre-teacher would work with the student, helping to guide her hands to find the features assigned for that week. At the end of the week, the professor quizzed the visually impaired student on 10 randomly selected features from each section while standing with the student at the adapted map. Not only did the student achieve 100% on each quiz, but when asked to find a few features a year later, the student was able to locate them without hesitation.

The success of this approach prompted us to use similar materials to create a South America, and Asia map to be available for use with visually impaired students in other classes. The use of tactile maps to learn geographic features in regional geography and geology courses would greatly enrich the educational experience for visually impaired students. Since the creation of these maps takes time, we have developed a set of maps to be available for use in the geosciences program. We found our model of a team approach (professor, pre-service teacher, visually impaired student) using tactile maps to be very successful for the oceanography class, enriching the education of the visually impaired student and providing valuable experience for the pre-service teacher. We believe that approach could be beneficial not only for visually impaired students, but also for the sighted, due to the interactive nature of the process.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 97--Booth# 65
Geoscience Education (Posters) II
Minneapolis Convention Center: Hall C
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 255

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