IDATA is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and brings together blind and visually impaired (BVI) and sighted high school students and their teachers to create a fully accessible astronomy data request, retrieval and analysis software tool. Students and teachers will collaborate with astronomy and computing science professionals, and educators and education researchers in the design and development of the software as well as learning modules and tutorials that help students explore the role of computation in astronomy. The project team utilizes user-centered design/universal designing (UCD/UD) processes and the iterative method for the development and testing of software and the modules: improving access to our amazing universe for those with BVI related disabilities. Teachers and students who fully participate in IDATA will be considered co-developers in the project, and their contribution will be recognized in the dissemination of IDATA final products.
Education Research: IDATA is a NSF STEM+C project, and will work to advance knowledge and understanding of best practices in teaching and learning related to computation and computational thinking in astronomy and how participation influences students’ attitudes and beliefs about who can engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and computing. The accessible software and instructional modules and tutorials produced by the project may be adopted by a range of BVI and sighted individuals, but may also be transferrable to other similarly visually-intensive domains such as satellite, geophysical, and medical imaging.