We’re all about developing educational tools that work. During development we do numerous internal usability studies but when it comes to testing the prototype, the easiest way to remove bias is to have someone else study the feasibility. For our Phase I grant we worked with the folks at WestEd to better gauge if we were meeting our goal of making an inclusive tool that is also useful for learning about Lewis Structures. Read on to see what they learned!
This week’s infographic inspired sharing of results is focused on the impact on Blind and visually impaired students.
This feasibility study was most akin to a think-aloud interview. During the “interview” a WestEd researcher observed via Zoom a BVI student independently using Kasi as their teacher guided them through a Lewis Structure active learning lesson. Following the lesson students and instructors were interviewed about their experience.
While we tried to summarize the findings to each research question we also included quotes(and oh my teacher do like to talk and we love it!) from the follow up interviews. Like we said before, we have a bias so the quotes are the raw data for you to evaluate for yourself.
Student: “I know some other students, friends of mine in other parts of the country who have had to do the same thing, just writing out the Lewis Structures. Which is satisfactory, it works. But I think having that aspect of being able to actually build it and feel it and get the feedback and hear as you're putting all the pieces on the board really enhances the process itself. So yeah, I think it would be a great asset to a lot of students' toolbox of accessible technology.”
Teacher: “Oh, compared to some other way of teaching Lewis structures. I definitely think it’s useful to do it this way because students who are blind or visually impaired have trouble with anything that’s visual drawing it or themselves or showing what they’re able to make to their teacher so that they can assess their knowledge and help them if they need help. So what I think is one of the most important things is being able to have the student manipulate things and then have the computer, tell them how it’s going and then have the teacher be able to see what’s going on so they can check it and talk to the student about it.”
Student: “[The session was] very successful because I was able to do it on my own and I like to be self-sufficient.”
Student: “I think it's just really easy to figure out what you need to do, where the stuff needs to go, and how you can solve everything with it.”
Student: “I thought it was super cool. It was great to have some audio feedback as I was putting the pieces on the board and I've never seen something so, I guess, interactive and hands-on, I really liked it.”
Student: “I think it really taught a lot...I think it could probably teach you most everything if you just spend enough time doing different things with it.”
Teacher: "Value added? I think having the lone pairs together, having it in a specific, tactile model, which I don’t have in any of the models that I have, and having specific items that are easy to identify for the elements on a board that can hold itself in place and you don’t have to worry about Velcro, because that’s one of the other pieces that... not a big fan of from the other model that I’ve used, allows for the students to be able to rearrange things easily, manipulate the pieces, learn about the structures of it.”
Teacher: “But overall the whole idea, I’ll be honest and get sappy for a minute. I got teary-eyed whenever... When I was sitting there with [my student], I was teaching him just like I teach any of my other students that I’ve had the luxury of having him before. And so, we have a great relationship and I teach in a very human aid kind of format where I questioned the students to make them think about what they’re doing, why they’re doing and what’s to come next.
And so I was pretty much just reading the script and talking to him with questions and stuff. And then when he built that ammonia molecule, that the ammonia molecule was correct. It hit me that I just taught a blind kid what ammonia molecule looks like. And so that was kind of a really cool, squishy teachable moment for me, that made me feel really cool that something that this kid, who’s never seen an ammonia molecule, I just taught him what one looked like. I was screaming.”
Teacher: “I appreciated being able to see what [my student] was working with because that’s something that [my student] and I have trouble with sometimes. And I appreciated that the technology was talking back to him so he could get his own feedback from the system instead of waiting for feedback from the teacher. And I really liked the hint token because we didn’t have that when I did my initial practice thing. And that helps because well first of all you can ask for help from the system instead of waiting to ask for help from the teacher. And also you can get information about individual atoms instead of trying to keep track of all of the electrons in the entire structure.”
Teacher: “[My student who] I did the lesson with, she was very excited about it, and I think that she was very enthusiastic about chemistry afterwards. She was like, "Okay, I know a little bit about it. I think I understand what octet means, and I think I understand about the fact that that means the eight valence electrons around each atom, that’s the goal." So, I think that when she comes back around to this next school year, when we’re talking about chemistry in the next school year, she’ll be able to recall it and be like, all right, this is how we apply this, and might be able to even assist her classmates in learning about it, rather than having to spend the exact same amount of time relearning it as the other students would be learning it.”
And just like a research presentation or poster we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge some great folks!
Thank you to:
WestEd for designing and conducting the study
IES for funding (Grant # 91990020C0072)
And you for your continued support!
Remember to participate in our kickstarter if you want to see the Kasi system expanded to more topics!