Sighted and visually impaired students’ perspectives of illustrations, diagrams and drawings in school science

McDonald, Celia and Rodrigues, Susan (2016) Sighted and visually impaired students’ perspectives of illustrations, diagrams and drawings in school science. Wellcome Open Research. pp. 1-9.

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In this paper we report on the views of students with and without visual impairments on the use of illustrations, diagrams and drawings (IDD) in science lessons.
Our findings are based on data gathered through a brief questionnaire completed by a convenience sample of students prior to trialling new resource material. The questionnaire sought to understand the students’ views about using IDD in science lessons. The classes involved in the study included one class from a primary school, five classes from a secondary school and one class from a school for visually impaired students.
Approximately 20% of the participants thought that the diagrams were boring and just under half (48%) of the total sample (regardless of whether they were sighted or visually impaired) did not think diagrams were easy to use. Only 14% of the participants felt that repeated encounters with the same diagrams made the diagrams easy to understand. Unlike sighted students who can ‘flit’ across diagrams, a visually impaired student may only see or touch a small part of the diagram at a time so for them ‘fliting’ could result in loss of orientation with the diagram.
Treating sighted and visually impaired pupils equally is different to treating them identically. Sighted students incidentally learn how to interpret visual information from a young age. Students who acquire sight loss need to learn the different rules associated with reading tactile diagrams, or large print and those who are congenitally blind do not have visual memories to rely upon.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: Copyright: © 2016 McDonald C and Rodrigues S. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Teacher Education
Depositing User: Susan Rodrigues
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2016 08:56
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2018 00:27

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