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Accessible Mathematics for Students with a Visual Impairment and/or Additional Disabilities

taught by: Susan Osterhaus

co-presented by: Maylene Bird

Session Summary:

During this session, we will introduce and allow hands-on exploration of various low-tech and high-tech accessible math tools, technology, and materials appropriate for use by students with a visual impairment and/or other disabilities enrolled in grades Pre-K through 12 mathematics classes. These will include a quick glimpse at the Nemeth Code (braille for mathematics and science notation), tactile math graphics, and our favorite math toys. We will provide links to resources that will provide more detailed information on many of these math tools and materials.

Description:

During this class, we will introduce and allow hands-on exploration of various low-tech and high-tech accessible math tools, technology, and materials appropriate for use by students with a visual impairment and/or other disabilities enrolled in grades Pre-K through 12 mathematics classes. These will include a quick glimpse at the Nemeth Code (braille for mathematics and science notation), tactile math graphics, and our favorite math toys. We will provide links to resources that will provide more detailed information on many of these math tools and materials.

There has been a recent resurgence of interest in learning, producing, and using the Nemeth Code, and a proliferation of ways to do so have emerged and continue to grow. These methods need to be accessible to all and meet the needs of the pre-school, elementary, middle-school, high school, and college student, as well as the teachers of said students and even the trainers of teachers. Parents often wish to be included as well.

The need for high quality tactile math graphics to accompany these brailled materials and the ability of students to independently create their own tactile graphics is of paramount interest at this time as well. This includes hard-copy tactile graphics and hands-on accessible drawing boards to high tech refreshable graphic displays that are interactive. That is, students can both interpret an electronic tactile graphic, and they can also create one with the touch of a fingertip.

The accessible math tool box contains both low tech and high tech tools. They each have their place as we prepare students to explore their options of moving into a STEM career upon graduation.

We will furnish various vendor contacts and free public resources and demonstration videos. In addition, we will highlight recent inventions designed by MIT engineering graduate students, collaborative efforts of existing companies, and a joint project among a company, schools, a consumer organization of blind individuals, and blind computer science majors. Finally, we will challenge the audience to consider developing new products through collaborative efforts among companies, educators, and students at all levels.

Practical Skills:

Explore various low-tech and high-tech accessible math tools, technology, and materials appropriate for use by students with a visual impairment and/or other disabilities enrolled in grades Pre-K through 12 mathematics classes.

Presentation Materials: