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# Category: Learning Design

## Site for Teaching Math to the Visually Impaired

I want to point you to a collection of resources for teaching the visually impaired. The site Teaching Math to Visually Impaired StudentsĀ is put up by Susan Osterhaus, who has been teaching math to the blind and visually impaired in Texas for almost 30 years. I have never even heard of many of the techniques and materials she refers to on the site, like Nemeth Code and Thermoform Tactile Diagrams. I wish there was a little more explanation of what these things are, but I am perfectly capable of searching on the Internet(which is what I did). Nemeth code is a special Braille used for math and science notations that allows arithmetic calculations, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, etc. There are a variety of Thermoform Tactile diagrams, but the general idea is that these are diagrams where the lines and curves that create the diagram are raised on the paper. Some papers are available where you can draw on the paper with black markers, and after running it through a copy machine, the lines become raised (the technology is based on light absorption). This would certainly be a great option for 2-D graphics. I have seen a machine that will make tactile 3-D graphs – when I was in Kentucky last year. More to come … Possibly Related Posts: Contemporary Algebra Collection (new resources 2/4/2019) Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about...

## Assistive Math Technology Product Matrix

Design Science has built a great resource to use if you need to find out what kind of math accessibility your software has, to find out which accessibility software you might want to buy, or to compare different systems in general. Check out the Design Science Assistive Technology Product page. Possibly Related Posts: Contemporary Algebra Collection (new resources 2/4/2019) Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in...

## Hammer and Nail Problem

Believe it or not, I have been at MathFest for three days and have only managed to attend four sessions (besides the one I presented in). But I talk to a lot of people and talk to a lot of the exhibitors and because MathFest is a lot more research-oriented and focuses more on upper level math, there are actually not a ton of sessions that I am interested in – although, as is always the case, the sessions I did want to go to were all scheduled for the time I was speaking. I haven’t seen Kien Lim since graduate school – I saw him walking down the street one night in Madison and recognized him. Kien and I used to be involved in some great discussions about how students learn. He invited me to his talk on the “Hammer-and-Nail Problem in Mathematics.” His talk (10 minutes) was briefly about his interest in math education and his experiences with students in Math for Elementary Ed. What he’s seen in teaching future teachers, is the same problem that I think we’ve all seen in different courses. Here are some examples that I’ve seen in math classes: After you teach algebra students how to multiply polynomials, some can suddenly no longer add polynomials and will multiply an expression like (x + 3) + (x – 4). In Calc II, I...

## A MATH reader for Blind Students

When I was in San Diego two weeks ago, I met with Bob Mathews, from Design Science and he mentioned a product called MathPlayer that they produce to help the visually impaired. The player reads mathematical text aloud, and you can alter the way it reads certain functions aloud (for example, you may prefer close parens or you might like it to just say parenthesis). The program understands the need to know whether a portion of a fraction is the numerator or the denominator, it understands that you would need to know when the argument of the square root ends, etc. I asked Bob if he could find a way to share the demo that he showed me and he has put some time in to create a web page to demonstrate the product’s capabilities (thanks Bob!). You may want to open the Audio portion in a separate window so that you can still see the text that it was set up to read. You can download the MathPlayer (free) on the Design Science website and play with it yourself. The voice is pretty mechanical-sounding, but Bob told me that if the listener has paid for an upgraded voice, it is pretty realistic. Our college paid thousands of dollars to have a math book printed in braille last year for a blind student. With all the materials available on...