Category: Accessibility for Math

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...

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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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3-D Function Machine

Last spring break, I traveled to NKU and ICTCM. Andy Long, a mathematician at NKU, generously gave me a home for a few days while at NKU, and on the last night he confessed that he had a “Function Machine” in his basement. A what? A function machine. You type a 3-D function into MatLab, and it builds the function on this machine he created. No kidding. Although this would be a fantastic device to have for visually impaired students, it would also be great for students who just have difficulty envisioning curves in 3-D. Here’s the inside of the machine: The machine is based on metal pins with rounded tops. Each pin is pushed upwards to the correct height. Creating the 3-D surface on the top of the machine. 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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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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