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How To Teach Mathematics To Visually Impaired Students

Sudipto Das Jan 18, 2019

Mathematics, being primarily visual in nature, presents visually impaired students with many challenges.

Therefore, teachers need to implement certain techniques to provide visually impaired students with an effective math education. Traditional pen and paper methods and conventional classroom learning aren’t good enough.

They need something more. In this post, we are going to discuss a few effective ways through which mathematics can be taught to visually impaired students.

Teach Mathematics

Connecting Regular Objects With Mathematics

You can use regular objects to teach a number of important basic math concepts to students suffering from visual-impairment.

You need to be a little innovative in your efforts. Say for example, you can use simple containers to teach your students the basics of counting. With a little bit of more improvisation, you can teach them basic operational arithmetic such as additions and subtractions. Such hands-on learning experience can be extremely gratifying from the student’s point of view.

Abacus

Abacus

This is an ancient calculating device invented centuries ago. But that doesn’t make it less important.

With abacus, you will be able to provide your students with a number of math lessons such as counting, operational arithmetic etc. It’s a hand-on form of education which should be immensely beneficial for visually impaired students.

Number sense refers to the fluidity and flexibility of students with numbers along with their ability to do mental calculations in the blink of an eye. Number sense cannot be easily developed; at least, it doesn’t happen in a day. It requires time and practice. Engaging with abacus can be considered to be the stepping stone to developing an exquisite number sense in students. So, it can be said that engaging with abacus benefits students in general and not visually impaired students in particular.

Adopting technology for teaching algebra

Teaching Algebra

Algebra is a math topic that might look pretty abstract from the hindsight, especially to a beginner who’s quite new to the topic. For visually impaired students, this becomes worse especially if you try to teach them through traditional teaching methods. Hands-on education therefore, becomes very necessary in this aspect that can be inculcated through the use of technology and several other means.

Some of these are:

Audio Graphing Calculator (AGC) - This calculator provides users with the functionality of a handheld scientific calculator. The AGC is augmented with audio along with a tactile feedback system which can really benefit a visually impaired student. You can go through the details of an AGC and its pricings here.

Supplementary programs- These supplementary programs can be used to provide students with an effective hands-on algebraic education. An example can be “hands-On equations.”

Several interactive apps are also available on Google Play and iTunes that can also serve your purpose effectively. But do remember to pick up one having a unique audio feedback for your visually impaired students.

Using geoboard to teach geometry and shapes

Geometry Shapes

Geoboards are the perfect tool of providing hands-on effective geometry and shapes lessons to visually impaired students.

Such an education can be beneficial not only for visually impaired kids but it can also benefit students having a perfectly normal vision.

Geoboards can be used for effective hands-on lessons on geometric topics like:

  • Shapes,
  • Rotation,
  • Reflection,
  • Translation,
  • Similarity,
  • Co-ordination,
  • Right angles,
  • Counting shapes and figures,
  • Patterns,
  • Congruency,
  • Area,
  • Perimeter,
  • Scaling,
  • Classification.
  • Position.

Using Braille-like materials for teaching measurement

Teaching

Some of these suggested materials are:

  • Braille meterstick: It has raised lines for every centimeter and meters. Students having visual impairment can use this tool for measurement purposes.
  • Analog model clock: Has raised markings for effective hands-on math lessons related to time. Suitable for students with visual impairment.
  • Tactile thermometer: Can be used to teach various temperature-related problems to students.

There are several other key materials available in the market that can serve the purpose effectively. You can always refer to the internet to know about them in greater detail. The three materials depicted above are used just for reference purposes.

So that should be all for now. Hope you had a good read.

Summary

  • Author:

    Sudipto Das.

  • Post:

    Content Head

  • Bio:

    Sudipto writes educational content periodically and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO and graphic designing.

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