Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Technology solutions to support blind students in the chemistry laboratory

For blind and low vision chemists to participate independently in the chemistry laboratory we must employ principles of universal design and embrace new technologies mirroring those available outside the lab. By designing a first-year chemistry course that provides non-visual access, we are taking the first step to empower more blind and low vision people to be successful in chemistry careers.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type

from$1.95

to$39.95

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

References

  1. Developing Diverse Chemistry Departments (American Chemical Society, accessed 5 October 2023). https://www.acs.org/education/policies/acs-approval-program/news/developing-diverse-chemistry-departments.html.

  2. Nepomuceno, G. M. et al. The value of safety and practicality: Recommendations for training disabled students in the sciences with a focus on blind and visually impaired students in chemistry laboratories. J. Chem. Health Saf. 23, 5–11 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bandura, A. Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychol. Rev. 84, 191–215 (1977).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Orth, U. & Robins, R. W. The development of self-esteem. Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci. 23, 381–387 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Supalo, C. A., Isaacson, M. D. & Lombardi, M. V. Making hands-on science learning accessible for students who are blind or have low vision. J. Chem. Educ. 91, 195–199 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Rose, D. H. & Meyer, A. Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002).

  7. Dalton, E. M., Lyner-Cleophas, M., Ferguson, B. T. & McKenzie, J. Inclusion, universal design and universal design for learning in higher education: South Africa and the United States. Afr. J. Disabil. 8, a519 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Submersible Audio Light Sensor (American Printing House, 2022; accessed 5 October 2023); https://www.aph.org/product/submersible-audio-light-sensor-sals/.

  9. Rashid, I. & Chehadeh, D. Adaptation of chemistry experiments for middle school blind or visually impaired students. J. Chem. Educ. 100, 2262–2268 (2023).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the accessibility requirements for products and services. (European Union, 2019; accessed 5 October 2023); https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32019L0882.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we research, teach and collaborate at the University of Sydney. We acknowledge the supportive environment that the School of Chemistry provides for this work, and in particular P. Devi and the First Year Technical Team for their assistance with trial experiments. Our work has been supported by grants from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Inclusion and Diversity Fund, the University of Sydney’s Educational Innovation Program and the School of Chemistry’s Alan Williams Bequest.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Cary A. Supalo or Siegbert Schmid.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

C.A.S. is the founder of Independence Science, developing access technologies for making laboratory learning accessible to blind and low vision students. J.B. is employed by Independence Science and oversees science accessibility research. S.S. and A.M. declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Supalo, C.A., Schmid, S., Bhattacharya, J. et al. Technology solutions to support blind students in the chemistry laboratory. Nat Rev Chem 7, 823–824 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41570-023-00559-x

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41570-023-00559-x

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing