[Blindmath] LaTeX to Braille
Lachenbruch, Peter
Peter.Lachenbruch at oregonstate.edu
Sat Apr 17 15:20:46 UTC 2010
As a sighted person, I don't have a great deal of insight, but after 45 years of teaching statistics, I am teaching my first blind student. And he is teaching me. I have worked with our disability access services - they took the text i am using and are converting it to Braille as we go. I have worked with my student and he has led me through the issues we'll be dealing with: extra time on exams, exams administered on a computer, etc.
I find that I need to explain graphical methods more clearly - "the cluster of points looks like a football" - i hope this concept gets across. At any rate, greater description of graphics is obviously needed. Some work by John Gardner's company will be helpful when we get it - he showed me some tactile graphics that was great for me and I hope for my student.
I see no reason for discouraging blind students from mathematics - much of it doesn't require visual dexterity. Equations seem to be the pain in the neck, but i just took a survey that was talking about using verbal cues for math. I suspect i did abysmally...
________________________________________
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Sarah Jevnikar [sarah.jevnikar at utoronto.ca]
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 10:44 PM
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] LaTeX to Braille
good question, Matthew. We've talked on this list before that students who
are blind studying math are still not encouraged to do so as much as they
would be in other areas, and it is almost not expected of them to study
math. Not cool, I say, but it seems to be the reality at present.
You mentioned students being poorly prepared at their school for the blind.
Mainstreamed students need equal prep; I like the idea of a transitional
course or something like that.
-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Matthew_2010
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 8:54 PM
To: qubit; Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] LaTeX to braille
I'm curious, if this is so important, why aren't high school teachers doing
some of this preparation with their students? Surely they know what the
student can expect as I'm assuming they too have been college students also.
Shouldn't these blind schools insure college preparedness?
Matthew -- asking the obvious
---- Original Message -----
From: "qubit" <lauraeaves at yahoo.com>
To: "Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics"
<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] LaTeX to braille
>I think there should be a course for blind students to take prior to or in
> parallel with regular classes that covers the access methods used in math
> courses at that university. I think it is unrealistic to expect most
> students to just learn it on their own as they take math courses -- it's
> like taking a course without taking the prerequisits. It can be done, but
> it's not a good idea.
> I think the math teachers should put together a 1 credit hour class and
> give
> assignments in that class with examples of math where the student has to
> turn in homework.
> I was still using cctv's when I was in college and not braille. I keep
> wanting to go back to my old major and perhaps continue in it but I feel
> illiterate about braille math. I only know a little Nemeth code. I
> really wish DotsPlus would become the standard as it is a good union of
> spatial layout and braille symbols. Latex is good for preparing material
> for the instructor to grade. Even if the instructor isn't versed in latex
> he/she can process it and see the print math.
> I also think that preparation is not just for the student. If a blind
> student signs up for a class, the instructor may have a little homework to
> do to prepare.
> Just my $0.02
> Take care.
> --le
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Michael Whapples" <mwhapples at aim.com>
> To: "Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics"
> <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 5:57 PM
> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] LaTeX to braille
>
>
> I think Susan raises an interesting question, one which I am unsure
> really what the answer is. The question of whether a student should
> learn a new system when they move on to university. I guess it really
> depends on the student (their background and how well they pick up new
> stuff).
>
> Using myself as an example, I had gone to specialist school from about
> the age of 11, so for school work I had really good support (no problems
> getting good quality Braille) and so I really was able to concentrate on
> studying and did very well. When I moved onto university I had a big
> step in getting support (the specialist knowledge wasn't there to check
> the Braille, even if the university had been prepared to proof read it),
> so how realistic was it to continue working as I had in the past. Well I
> personally came to the same conclusions as Susan has laid out, what
> worked for me in the past had served well, why put on extra load of
> having to learn a new way of working. Looking back now, I wonder whether
> that really was the right choice, I found the course hard to keep up
> with and while other things may have impacted on my final grade, I do
> feel that access to written material may have played a part. As my
> education up to university has been very good and most of the first year
> in my course had been focusing on bringing people all to the same level
> (so not introducing a huge amount of new stuff for me), I wonder whether
> I should have used that opportunity of the first year to really learn
> something like dotsplus which may have served me better in the following
> years.
>
> I can understand that this may not be such a possibility for others if
> there school education isn't so good and so need the first year to bring
> them up to the same standard, so removing that "easier" first year. I
> also generally feel that you only really effectively learn something
> like Braille when you start using it practically, so a student having a
> gap year to learn the new system might not really help (others give your
> views).
>
> Also yes I very much back up the idea of discuss things with the
> student, in a way they really are the expert here (they know what they
> use, they know what tends to work for them, etc, unfortunately
> disability services don't always have much knowledge in specialist areas
> such as maths).
>
> Michael Whapples
> On 04/16/2010 11:10 PM, Susan Jolly wrote:
>> You've gotten some good information here but I do think it is
>> essential to contact the student and find out what he or she has been
>> using in the past. If the student has gotten into University one would
>> assume that they have already developed an effective means of learning
>> maths and are proficient in at least one method. This is not a simple
>> or straightforward question and there are actually a number of
>> possibilities. Michael is perfectly correct that the odds are that if
>> the student is from the UK, he or she is more familiar with the BAUK
>> braille maths than with the extremely different US Nemeth maths.
>> However there is always the possibility that the student uses spoken
>> maths rather than braille maths. And in any case, there is the
>> separate issue of access to diagrams, graphs, etc.
>>
>> The visually-impaired students with whom I'm familiar who have
>> attempted to learn a new methodology simultaneously with starting
>> college have done quite poorly. I would almost liken it to going to
>> college in a foreign country where one does not know the language and
>> attempts to learn the language at the same time as starting one's
>> studies.
>>
>> Sincerely,
>> Susan Jolly
>>
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