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Inquiry-based Science for Autistic Learners

A Multimedia Literacy Tool for Students With Autism

Project Report
by Judy Vesel, Project Director, TERC, and Tara Robillard, Senior Researcher, TERC

Questions for Reviewers


  • Font Size
    • Is the text (font) large enough for most students to read, connect the text with the pictures, and connect to the spoken text?
  • Pictures
    • Which pictures need to be substituted for ones that are more accurate or accepted?
    • What pictures might we use for the terms that do not have pictures?
    • How do we find pictures not included in the data bank to use for the unit?
  • Text to speech feature
    • Is there a way to highlight text as it is spoken without going over to Flash?
    • Is the speed of the voiced text appropriate? If not, should it be slowed down or sped up?


  • Reading level
    • Is the reading level appropriate for use with high functioning autistic learners?
    • Is the way the content is delivered easily accessible? Is it too advanced or not rigorous enough?
  • Navigation
    • Will students be able to easily follow/navigate the links and pages?
  • Internet and White Board Use
    • How comfortable are learners that might use the unit with the Internet and the use of White boards?
    • How comfortable are the teachers with having their students use the Internet and White boards?
    • Can/do students typically view sites on the web (example: Recycle City)?
    • Are students able to understand/access/make sense of content on the web even if it isn’t picture assisted?
    • Is linking to websites that have not been adapted a good idea?
  • Activities

    • Format
      • Which format for using software-based picture icons is best – fill in the blank, open space with word bank for writing/discussion, or should we use it to develop static/PDF activities that are done in print (i.e. circle or check answers)?
    • Software-based picture icons challenges
      • Software-based picture icons do not seem to support open-ended response question/discussion format also it is challenging to “format” what is there once it is written. What suggestions do you have for incorporating software-based picture icons activities into this session or the entire unit?

    Teacher Materials

    • What materials or information do you think teachers will need to support them in implementing/teaching this unit? Please place a check next to all that apply and feel free to add your own.
      • ____ Pointers for using the unit with individual students and groups
      • ____ Set up/questioning techniques
      • ____ How to build on students’ interests and what kids know
      • ____ Glossary/Vocabulary building
      • ____ Content-Concept building ideas
      • ____ Pointers for having kids do the work and the teacher as guide
      • ____ Building in rewards.
      • ____ Setting up where the unit is headed (students collecting their own data/reducing amount of trash)

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