Category: Accessibility

Math Graphs for the Blind

If I had to produce tactile graphs for the visually-impaired, or have such a student produce a graph for me, I think I would spend an hour to create one of these velcro and wool yarn slates for the blind. I stumbled across this Touching Slate “toy” in MAKE Magazine’s current issue and realized that this simple slate solves a key problem in teaching higher-level mathematics to visually-impaired students: How can a teacher or student quickly produce graphs of functions to share during a class, study session, or exam?  I think you could use yarn of different thicknesses in order to...

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ADA and Hyperlinks

You know how sometimes you let a question linger in the background until one day you decide to just deal with it?  This is one of those questions that rose to the top because I knew that I should know the answer definitively before the MCC Math & Technology Workshop started. Here’s the question:  If you’re making a hyperlink and you leave the title or alternate tag blank, will the text-to-speech readers automatically just default to the text you’ve linked to?  For example, suppose your hyperlink is on the words “brief twitter guide”.  Without any extra tagging, will this get read aloud as “brief twitter guide” or do I have to retype it into the secondary tags?  Obviously, creating a hyperlink to text like “click here” would really suck for visually impaired users unless you included alternate titles and alternate text.  So the question is really whether the alternate or title tags are redundant when you already have good hyperlink practices. The answer (from @suburbanlion) is that it is just redundant.  If the original hyperlink is descriptive in the same way the alt tag would be, there is no need to do both.  He provided me with a great resource to check on these types of issues, Dive into Accessibility (Day 14 covers adding titles to links), although it is a little old. Possibly Related Posts: Learning at Scale Slides from...

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MathDaisy 1.0 for Accessible Math

Last year, I posted about a product that could read math for blind, sight-impaired, or learning disabled students.  With the release of MathDaisy 1.0, it’s just gotten a LOT easier to produce accessible materials.  I’ve got thousands of pages of math materials built with MathType in Microsoft Word.  With MathDaisy, I can now just save these files in the MathDaisy “daisybook” format, give it a little time to produce, and then the produced file can be opened in a player (like gh player) and be read out loud to the student. Before you read any further, you’re going to want to see just how easy this is.  As you know, I’m super busy right now with my dissertation, and don’t have extra time to mess with much else myself – but my friend Bob was nice enough to make me a short video to show me how MathDaisy works.  Invest five minutes of your time to see how MathDaisy works. Want to use it now?  Once you’ve got the software set up, it should be pretty easy.  Here’s what you will have to do for software installation: You need to have MathType 6.5 (or use only the upgraded equation editor in Microsoft Office 2007).  For older files, you’ll want to first convert all the equations to the newer MathType 6.5 format using the Format Equations feature of MathType. Install...

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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 Students 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: Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator...

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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: Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in 2020 AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and Curiosity AMATYC Keynote Notes: Interaction and...

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