The Head of The Cushman School, Arvi Balsiero, and I spoke about developing a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum around the building of Blindfold Racer.
During the initial three months of app development, we investigated so many issues that are at the core of the STEM/STEAM concept: solving real-world problems to teach science, technology, engineering and math:
- How does a blind person navigate the world?
- How can you communicate with a device without using your eyes?
- How do you teach (the rules of a game) and fascinate the game player at the same time?
- How do you test to determine if a game player has learned anything
- How does echolocation relate to navigation?
- What is important in designing a level of this game?
- What are the limitations of voice recognition and speed-to-text?
- What is “the cloud” that all mobile devices now rely on?
- What are the attributes of an “accessible” app?
- What do sighted people rely on that we don’t even realize?
- Why is inertia important in driving a car?
- What are design tradeoffs and how do you make them?
- How are products tested?
- What is a product release cycle?
- How do you tell people about a product?
- What role does product-related artwork serve?
I condensed many of these topics into STEAM classes for 4th through 8th grade, and taught the class for 45 to 90 minutes. Since the students were allowed to play Blindfold Racer (before it was available) at the end of the class, students were highly motivated to learn. Many of them came up with great suggestions for levels.
If you are interested in using Blindfold Racer as part of a STEM/STEAM curriculum, please contact me.