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Teaching Math to Students with Visual Impairments Gaeir Dietrich High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community Colleges De Anza College

Tips for Teaching Math

Be wary of assumptions n Blindness covers a range – Most blind folks have some sight – Many do see color n Not all blind people read Braille – In fact, many CC students do not n Not all students who read Braille read Nemeth math Braille

Nemeth Braille for Math n Numbers – 1234567890 –#1234567890 n Symbols – x² + 2 x + 2 = 10 – x^2"+2 x+2. k #10

Nemeth Code Information n Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired – http: //www. tsbvi. edu/mathnemeth. htm n Resources for students and teachers

What will be true Likely to have very good listening skills n Likely to need one-on-one tutoring n Likely to require extra time on tests n

Some Issues Will not see what you project onscreen or write on board n Will not see a show of hands n Often prefer sitting near the front so they can hear n Prefer a seat that is easy to find n

What you can do n Order books as early as possible – Consider adopting a book for 3+ years Provide campus alternate media personnel with electronic files for tests n Educate yourself about the issues n Be creative n Verbalize, verbalize! n

Use Meaningful Words Use concrete terms n Meaningless! n – “Here is the equation. ” – “We start with the equation and factor. ” – “Set both factors equal to zero and solve to get the result. ” n Avoid – This, that, here, thing

In the following example, you would say everything! Don’t just write it; verbalize it! 6 x 2 = 53 x + 9 Subtract 53 x and 9 from both sides 6 x 2 – 53 x – 9 = 0 Trinomial factoring gives us (6 x + 1)(x – 9) = 0 Set both factors equal to zero 6 x + 1 = 0 and x – 9 = 0 Solve each equation…etc.

Alternate Formats

Braille options n Brailling math is expensive and timeconsuming – Algebra books can cost \$25, 000+ – Calculus books can cost \$50, 000+ n Consider “independent study” with a book already in Braille

For the CCCs n Alternate Text Production Center (ATPC) – www. atpc. net ATPC produces Braille and tactile graphics free for the CCCs n Must have syllabus to begin project n – Does only those chapters required – The more advance notice, the better

Nemeth Braille Resources n American Printing House for the Blind hosts the Louis Database – Anyone can search for Braille materials – www. aph. org n Hadley School for the Blind – Free courses – www. hadley-school. org/Web_Site/ 2_b_ae_and_hs_program. asp

Other Resources FIPSE grant project to produce audiotactile statistics workbook n Looking for campuses to participate n – Contact: Annette Gourgey at CUNY – [email protected] com

Creating Nemeth on Campus n Scientific Notebook documents can be translated into Nemeth math Braille – www. mackichan. com – From other equation editors, save as La. Te. X – Take into Scientific Notebook and save – Open with Duxbury Braille Translation Software (www. duxsys. com)

Tactile Diagrams n PIAF paper – “Pictures in a Flash” (www. optelec. com) – Microcapsule paper – Can start from any computer file

Graphics Printer n Tiger Embosser – Embosses graphics in raised dots (www. viewplus. com) – Creates Dots Plus

Commercially Available n Wikki Stix – www. wikkistix. com n Sewell Raised Line Drawing Kit – www. maxiaids. com n Non-slip abacus (Cranmer Abacus) , Braille ruler, protractor, compass, Cubarithm – www. aph. org n Math. Window – www. mathwindow. com

Other Tactile Strategies Be creative! n Magnet boards n – Letters and numbers can be purchased – Symbols can be cut from magnetic sheets n Corkboard for graphics – Glue thread to make a grid – Push-pins and string for graphing

Be Creative! n Manipulatives – Many standard K-12 manipulatives will work n Collage – Puff paint – Cut-outs – Real objects

Electronic Solutions

Hardware Calculator n Orion TI-36 X – Hand-held, talks – American Printing House for the Blind www. aph. org

Software Calculator n Audio Graphing Calculator – Computer software, talks – View. Plus Technology www. viewplus. com – Note: Graphs can be printed on Tiger Embosser or to PIAF paper

Computer Options n Virtual Pencil Algebra n Math ML with Math. Player n – Auditory output and input – Set up through its own interface – www. hentermath. com – – Auditory output for Web pages (free!) Works with screen readers (JAWS, Window Eyes, Super Nova) Set up in Math. Type www. dessci. com – – – Auditory output and input Set up in Math. Type www. wintriangle. com Win. Triangle

General Resources n Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) – www. tsbvi. edu/math n Blindmath List n Chisenbop Finger Counting n Calculus – www. nfbnet. org/mailman/listinfo/ blindmath – www. cs. iupui. edu/~aharris/chis. html – http: //163. 238. 35. 147/Calculus. For. The. Blind/inde x. html

Tips for General Interaction

When a blind person enters the room Speak to the person by name n Identify yourself n If the person will be remaining in the room, let him/her know who else is there n Always speak directly to the blind person, not to his/her companion n

When you encounter a blind person Greet the person by name. n Tell the person who you are. n – After a while, the person may learn your voice, but don’t assume they’ll recognize you. – It’s not polite to play guessing games when only one person is guessing! n Make it clear when the conversation is at an end or you are leaving.

When talking with a blind person n Look directly at the blind person. – A person can hear when you are speaking directly to him/her Speak in a normal tone. n Feel free to use words like “look” and “see. ” n – Blind people also say “see you later. ”

When assisting a blind person n If you think the person needs help, ask. – Offer assistance; don’t just assume the person needs help. n Ask the blind person directly how you can help him/her. – Do not ask the person who is with the blind person.

When explaining things to a blind person n Use very specific, concrete language. – Avoid words like “this, ” “that, ” “here, ” “there” – Especially avoid “thing” – “Get that thing over there” is a meaningless statement for a blind person. n To show the person something tactually, ask the person if you may take his/her hand.

When giving directions to a blind person n Make sure that you use specific language. – – – n Left/right In front/behind Degrees of a circle Clock face Compass directions Always give directions from the blind person’s orientation.

When guiding a blind person Never grab the person’s cane or dog or arm. n Let the blind person take your arm. Do not grab his/her arm. n When guiding a blind person, let him/her take your elbow. n – Most blind people will prefer to take your left elbow (i. e. , they will grasp your elbow with their right hand).

When the person has a dog Never distract a working dog. n Never call to the dog or use its name when it’s working. n Never grab a dog’s harness. n Never give commands to the dog. n Never feed the dog. n

Interacting with the dog n n n If you would like to pet a guide dog, ask the handler’s permission. Never encourage the dog to interact with you unless the handler tells you it’s okay. Sometimes handlers will use attention as a behavior modification tool. – Interacting with the dog without permission can interfere with its training.

Understanding the dog n Guide dogs undergo strict training, but the training continues with the blind handler. – Do not be disturbed when you see a handler correcting his/her dog. n Remember that these dogs are working dogs, not pets!!

In conclusion… "Since mathematics is an experience of the mind anyway, it should be doable for the student. The student probably has a way of creating 'pictures' in his/her mind already. You just have to figure out which descriptors to use to promote understanding in prealgebra and algebra. ” --Claudia, for the Teacher 2 Teacher service

Feel free to contact me Gaeir (rhymes with “fire”) Dietrich n [email protected] net n 408 -996 -6043 n www. htctu. net n