An Examination of Accessible Hands-on Science Learning Experiences, Self-confidence in One’s Capacity to Function in the Sciences, and Motivation and Interest in Scientific Studies and Careers.

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Vol: 19, Issue: 1

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Isaacson, Mick D; Supalo, Cary; Michaels, Michelle; Roth, Alan
Access; Accessible; Assistive Technology; Blindness; Disabilities; Diversity; Engineering; Hands-on; Learning; Mathematics; Motivation; Science; Technology; Self-beliefs; Self-confidence; STEM; Accessibility; Child Psychology; Cognitive Psychology; Curriculum and Instruction; Disability and Equity in Education; Education; Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research; Educational Methods; Educational Psychology; Elementary Education and Teaching; Higher Education; Higher Education and Teaching; Instructional Media Design; International and Comparative Education; Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching; Online and Distance Education; Other Communication; Other Education; Other Teacher Education and Professional Development; Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education; Psychology; School Psychology; Science and Mathematics Education; Science and Technology Studies; Secondary Education and Teaching; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Special Education and Teaching; Teacher Education and Professional Development
article description
This study examined the potential relationship of accessible hands-on science learning experiences to the development of positive beliefs concerning one’s capacity to function in the sciences and motivation to consider science as a college major and career. Findings from Likert survey items given before and after engaging in accessible hands-on science laboratories show that students who were blind or had low vision (BLV) were more likely to agree with the following items after engaging in accessible science experiences: 1) I plan on enrolling as a science major in college; 2) My educational experiences, so far, have given me the confidence that I need to decide on majoring in an area of science in college and then a career in science; 3) I feel that I have the skills needed to independently perform a lab activity in (on) ______; 4) I feel that I have the skills needed to independently start data collection during a lab activity in ______; 5) I feel that I have the skills needed to independently stop data collection on a lab activity in ______; 6) I was actively involved in data collection during the______ lab. The Likert survey findings are consistent with the notion that accessible science activities may foster the development of self-beliefs that one has the capacity to independently function in scientific domains, which may promote an inclination to consider scientific pursuits. Insufficient accessible science learning experiences may contribute to the underrepresentation of individuals with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Providing accessible science learning activities may help to increase both the number of individuals who have disabilities and diversity in the STEM fields.