New NSF Funded Project Will Study How Podcasts Can Support Inclusive STEM Learning

Picture of girl listening to podcast

[Washington, D.C.] Tumble Media, in partnership with Associated Universities Inc (AUI), Oregon State University (OSU) and Independence Science, has been awarded a $1 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division Of Research On Learning. The team will study podcasts as a classroom tool to engage blind and visually impaired students, focusing on representation and accessibility in STEM fields. 

Blind and visually impaired (BVI) students face many obstacles pursuing STEM careers, beginning in early education. Existing biases make it difficult for these students and their teachers to imagine BVI people as scientists or engineers. This project will evaluate how storytelling featuring scientists with disabilities can shift those attitudes. Tumble Media’s flagship science podcast for kids, Tumble, will produce new episodes featuring disabled scientists over several seasons. These episodes will be assessed within sighted and BVI classrooms, and research findings will be integrated into future episodes. The project will also explore the impact of students learning to make their own science podcasts.   

“Podcasts are an underutilized medium in education with the potential to inspire younger generations,” said Sara Robberson Lentz, Principal Investigator on the grant and STEM Education Officer with AUI. “This research will explore the value of podcasts and set the standard for their use in science classrooms moving forward.”

OSU’s STEM Research Center will lead the education research. “This study is one of the first of its kind to examine the use of podcasts for engaging students in the classroom,” said Kelly Riedinger, the other Principal Investigator on the grant from Oregon State University. “Blind and visually impaired scientists, a group historically under-represented, can influence how students think about who belongs in STEM and STEM careers.” 

Independence Science (ISci), an organization founded and run by blind and visually impaired science experts, will support OSU’s research by visiting schools and observing how BVI learners interact with the podcast content. ISci brings a critical perspective to the project with their expertise on accessibility.

“Science is a multi-sensory learning experience for all learners, including the blind,” said Peter Walters, science consultant with ISci. “We feel this project will be another major step towards promoting inclusion for all children learning science.” 

Education and content experts from Tumble Media will lead the development of teaching resources based on the research findings, focus groups, and testing within selected classrooms across the country. “Tumble Media has been a pioneer in kids’ podcasts, and helped lead the first research into children’s podcast listening behaviors. With our focus on educational podcasts, we have long recognized that there is a gap in our knowledge about how this powerful medium can serve STEM students and educators,” said Lindsay Patterson, CEO of Tumble Media. “This project will help bridge that gap, while creating best practices for accessibility that can lead to more high-quality STEM education for blind and visually impaired students.”

Tumble Media is advised and supported by AUI through their STEM Education Incubator, an “umbrella” initiative to broaden research impact. “AUI is committed to championing underrepresented groups, and to develop a robust STEM workforce and a better-informed citizenry,” says Tim Spuck, Director of Education and Public Engagement at AUI. “We look forward to future projects, and making connections that will fuel the future of science outreach in an innovative way.”

Media Contact: Sara Robberson Lentz [email protected] 

In Other News…

NSF and SpaceX Finalize Radio Spectrum Coordination Agreement

This news article was originally published on NRAO.edu on January 10, 2023.Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, Jeff HellermanThe National Science Foundation (NSF) and SpaceX have finalized a radio spectrum coordination agreement to limit interference from the company’s Starlink...

ALMA and JWST Reveal Galactic Shock is Shaping Stephan’s Quintet in Mysterious Ways

This news article was originally published on NRAO.edu on January 9, 2023.Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/JWST/ P. Appleton (Caltech), B.Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)Shockwaves resulting from the violent collision between an intruder galaxy and Stephan’s Quintet are helping...

ALMA Scientists Find Pair of Black Holes Dining Together in Nearby Galaxy Merger

This news article was originally published on NRAO.edu on January 9, 2023.Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Weiss (NRAO/AUI/NSF)While studying a nearby pair of merging galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)— an international observatory...

Hydrogen Masers Reveal New Secrets of a Massive Star to ALMA Scientists

This news article was originally published on NRAO.edu on January 9, 2023.Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Weiss (NRAO/AUI/NSF)Scientists used the unique hydrogen radio recombination lines on MWC 349A to reveal hidden collimated jets While using the Atacama Large...

Northwest Indian College Hosts Inaugural Cosmovisions of the Pacific Meeting

Bellingham, Washington – Over 14,000 years ago, Indigenous groups in the Pacific traveled by boat, guided by starlight, and likely settled the West Coast of the Americas. Today, Indigenous and non-indigenous people gathered at Northwest Indian College (NWIC) to...

AUI Board of Trustees Elects Christine Wilson as Board Chair and William Harris as Vice Chair

AUI Board of Trustees Elects Christine Wilson as Board Chair and William Harris as Vice Chair Washington, D.C.— The AUI Board of Trustees met at AUI’s Dunn Loring office in Vienna, VA September 22 and 23. Following President Adam Cohen’s overview of AUI, and reports...

Heising—Simons Foundation Partners with AUI and the IAU to Boost Gender Equity Programs for Young Astronomers

The Heising–Simons Foundation (HSF) has awarded $126,500 to Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to support two programs: the Women and Girls in Astronomy project and the IAU Junior Member Travel Grant Fund. Women and...

AUI and NRAO Announce 2022 NAC Bridge Scholarship Recipients

This news article was originally published on NRAO.edu on July 5, 2022.AUI and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) have announced the recipients of the 2022 AUI Board of Trustees NAC Bridge Scholarship Award. Now in its second year, the scholarship...

Pride Month Statement

Pride Month is a time for celebration of LGBTQIA+ communities and commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 and the ensuing liberation movement it inspired for the ongoing fight for full equality.  At AUI, we celebrate an environment that is safe and welcoming...

You are now leaving AUI

You will be redirected to the related partnering organization's website.

You will be redirected to
in 4 seconds...

Click the link above to continue or CANCEL