When I studied physics, I remember struggling to understand concepts I could not visualize. I would read textbooks filled with descriptive text, equations and diagrams until I could finally form a mental model.
Things are different now. Students that play with science simulations made by the PhET Project at the University of Colorado Boulder can learn experientially. They can build virtual atoms, fire photons at molecules, and dynamically change the physical properties of objects.
These simulations are very popular for teaching science, but until just a few years ago, almost all of them were silent. Through an NSF-funded partnership with the GT Sonification Lab, I joined the team to help make these simulations accessible for the blind. Over the course of a year, I made countless prototypes and iterations that were reviewed and critiqued by project leaders at weekly meetings. I worked on Balloons and Static Electricity, Build an Atom, Ohms Law, Resistance in a Wire, Molecules and Light, Faraday’s Law and Friction. The stimulations on this page were published with my designs!
- R. Michael Winters, E. Lynne Harden, and Emily B. Moore. 2020. Co- Designing Accessible Science Education Simulations with Blind and Visually- Impaired Teens. In The 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS ’20), October 26–28, 2020, Virtual Event, Greece. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3373625.3418025
- Winters, R. M., Tomlinson, B. J., Walker, B. N., & Moore, E. B. (2019). Sonic Interaction Design for Science Education. Ergonomics in Design, 27(1), 5–10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1064804618797399
- Winters, R. M., Kaini, P., Walker, B. N. (2018). Collaborative Design and Evaluation in Auditory Displays for Interactive Physics Simulations, The 24th International Conference on Auditory Display. Houghton, MI.
- Tomlinson, B. J., Winters, R. M., Smith, T. L., Walker, B. N., & Moore, E. B. (2018). Multimodal STEM Simulations : Design, Development and Evaluation. CHI 2018 Workshop on Emerging Opportunities in Inclusive Education for People with Visual Impairments. Montréal, QC.