5-Minute Reads

The 37th Conference on Education for the Blind and Low-Vision (Marburg, Germany): New Ideas on Science Education for Students with Visual Impairments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Authors: Marie-Luise Schütt, Sven Degenhardt, and Wiebke Gewinn (Edited by Ying-Ting Chiu)

From July 31 to August 4, 2023, the 37th conference on education for the blind and low-vision (BLV) took place in Marburg, Germany. The conference was organized by the Association of Education for the Blind and Low-Vision. For the first time since the pandemic, professionals in the field of education for BLV students from German-speaking countries met in person again. Occasionally, there would also be international attendees at the conference. (If you are interested in learning more about the conference, here is the conference program written in German. You may use web browser translation tools to read the program in other languages.)

At the historical location, Nationwide Competence Center for Persons Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision (Blista), new ideas on the participation of BLV students in science learning settings were exchanged with an emphasis on instructional strategies for math, chemistry, biology, and computer science. According to the majority of the presentations at the conference, overall, a variety of ways were sought to enable equal participation of BLV students in science education in German-speaking countries. Currently, despite legal requirements, access to materials, such as textbooks and worksheets, is not provided, so adaptations need to be made case by case. There were discussions on creating a more inclusive science learning environment in the presence of both students with or without visual impairments. Creating more tactile experiences and providing tactile materials were emphasized during these discussions. In the sense of universal design, heterogeneous grouping of students was also discussed in thinking of making schools more inclusive. In Germany, the accessibility law (Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz) ensures that accessible educational materials will have to be considered, even more, in the future.

Here are highlights related to STEM for BLV at the conference:

Published in August 2023

Join us to get notified of our new 5-minute reads!