[blindkid] 4th Grade Math and introduction of technology

Carol Castellano blindchildren at verizon.net
Thu Feb 5 18:36:15 UTC 2009

I think the issue probably is the positioning, as you suggest 
below.  It seems to me that learning how to do math on paper is an 
additional skill to learning to do it "without looking"--so, mentally 
or on a computer.  I am willing to guess that the on-paper experience 
with arithmetic forms the solid foundation for doing algebra and 
geometry later on.  I would want you son to have the advantage of 
getting the same level of experience with this as the sighted 
children in the class.

I would probably keep the question of whether or not the drill method 
is good or bad separate from the question of whether or not Na'im 
should do all his long division on the braille writer.

Things to consider:
    * Is the class required to show all their work?  If so, Na'im 
should show his work, too, whether on paper or using Math Window and 
taking a picture, as some have suggested.
    * Does Na'im have an efficient method for setting up the problems 
that would minimize difficulties with the spatial aspect?  (There's a 
section on setting up math examples in Bridge to Braille.)
    * Last but not least...this, too, shall pass!  He won't have this 
kind of homework forever, thank goodness.  If he can stick it out, 
then he can grow up and tell his kids how back in his day he had to 
do TWENTY long division problems EVERY NIGHT (and walk to school up 
hill both ways, do his homework by candlelight, etc.!)
Fractions and decimals are not nearly so bad!


At 08:26 PM 2/3/2009, you wrote:
>That I understand - as far as regarding the problem set up - I 
>understand the need to know this.  My issue is - Is there an easier 
>assistive technology to do this on.  I am not looking for an easier 
>way to get the answer - I want that concept learned as with the rest 
>of his class.  I am looking at a workflow point of view. Last I 
>heard the new Perkins is still on backorder - so we are still 
>dealing with the oldy goldy - clunky hard key machine. Like does it 
>make sense for Na'im to work thru the problem on his computer using 
>Duxbury and a word document and to print it out using an embosser? 
>Are there cons with this method and what are they? Are they just 
>positional issues? Na'im is given 20 long division problems a night 
>sometimes  - 2 per page may fit barring any mistakes.
>From: Debra Baxley <debrabaxley at bellsouth.net>
>To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)" 
><blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 10:47:18 AM
>Subject: Re: [blindkid] 4th Grade Math and introduction of technology
>Somehow, doing Math with the Perkins brailler causes the concepts to be
>understood better because of the physical movement on the page.  Because I
>did Math with a Perkins brailler, I can now type a Math problem in print
>because I understand the formatting so well.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>Behalf Of Tene Gibson
>Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 7:50 AM
>To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)
>Subject: Re: [blindkid] 4th Grade Math and introduction of technology
>How do we lessen the frustration?  Although I may agree some repitition, I
>believe that in some circles that the "drilling" method, even in children
>with sight, has been proven defunct.  Lord knows both of my children hold to
>the standard "I did that already and I am not doing it again."  Na'im has no
>problem identifying the  concept of math or the process it takes to get from
>point A to point B.  The issue is when do we move in the 21st century? When
>do we grasp what we have available in the schools as far as technology is
>concerned?  I learned how to start a fire by rubbing sticks, but I still
>prefer matches or a lighter.
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>blindkid at nfbnet.org
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