[Blindmath] excel graphs and other ways to show data

Godfrey, Jonathan A.J.Godfrey at massey.ac.nz
Wed Nov 19 19:17:36 UTC 2014


I would like to answer the question posed about whether it is worth teaching about the graphics being used.

My answer is fairly blunt. Do you want this student to have the choice of working in a  world that expects to be given information in a visual form such as a graphic? It doesn't matter if the graphic has value to the student; it is about the reading audience not the author. I think learning how to create such graphics is different to knowing how they are created.

I think Bente's comments are then relevant. Does the assessment actually help this student understand the ways sighted readers comprehend information?

I have to admit that from the description you provided, that the graphic is far from simple, probably more about art and less about effective communication of information and somewhat questionable on the whole. Just because software allows the user to make a graphic more interesting through use of clip art and changes in line types and colour, doesn't actually make it right to do so. There has been a backlash against such frippery over the last ten years or more because the best results tend to come from simple and effective use of graphs. I tell my students that if it takes longer to work out what is being shown in the graph than it takes to read the paragraph of text supporting it, then start again. 

Hope this helps,

-----Original Message-----
From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Lewicki, Maureen via Blindmath
Sent: Thursday, 20 November 2014 6:07 a.m.
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Subject: [Blindmath] excel graphs and other ways to show data

Good Day! I have A student whose teacher has assigned making a graph, using provided data, in an excel spreadsheet. He asks that the graph include lots of  labels, lines that separate the phase changes, inserts of shapes and clip art, etc.

Folks are you using excel spreadsheets to share data with your peers, or submit as part of your assignments, etc or are you using another program?

Will this eventually serve my students well to know so much about something they cannot see?

Is there a way to get JAWS to read the graph? It does not appear to have that as an option, so when we go into the doc to add info into the graph, or change labels, there is really no way to tell if they have succeeded. There is also no way to tell if the graph is sitting on top of the data table!

Maureen Murphy Lewicki
Teacher of Visually Impaired
Bethlehem Central School
332 Kenwood Avenue Delmar, NY 12054
(518) 439-7460
Fax (518) 475-0092
"The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight.  The real problem is the misunderstanding and lack of education that exists.  If a blind person has the proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a mere physical nuisance."Kenneth Jernigan

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