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Teaching STEM subjects to blind and partially sighted learners

A project exploring the teaching of STEM subjects for blind and partially sighted students.

Author: Heather Cryer, Publisher: RNIB Centre for Accessible Information (CAI)


Technical subjects such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) have often been cited as difficult for blind and partially sighted students. This project aims to highlight some of the specific challenges and to signpost to available resources to improve the accessibility of STEM subjects.

Key findings

  • Accessing technical notation – such as equations and formulae – in accessible formats can be difficult, both in terms of conversion and the linear nature of braille and audio.
  • Many STEM subjects rely heavily on visual resources such as graphs, diagrams and charts.
  • The comprehension of “visual concepts” which may be difficult to explain in words can pose another challenge.
  • Some aspects of engaging in activities such as experiments can be difficult for blind and partially sighted students.
  • STEM subjects are commonly taught through “chalk and talk” methods, relying on seeing what is being worked through on the board.
  • Research highlights the need for teacher training to equip teachers to overcome these issues.