[blindkid] Math technology
Mike Freeman
k7uij at panix.com
Sat Apr 10 15:34:04 UTC 2010
Heather:
I have no argument with your post below except for two nits to pick: (a) I
had to do *just* such a long division when taking a civil service exam which
was abolished later, BTW, because people thought it "too hard"! I surprised
myself by remembering how to do it. (b) I agree with you re the usefulness
of calculators except that I feel that it is instructive for a student to
either (1) do all the calculations out by hand for one problem and/or (2)
write his/her own software to do them. Else how do we know he/she really
understands what we're trying to get across?
Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: "Heather" <craney07 at rochester.rr.com>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)"
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2010 7:46 AM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] Math technology
As an educator I have mixed feelings. I think that using graphs and
teaching students how to graph by hand, generate graphs with a computer and
on a graphing calculator are all extremely important skills, and will help
them move on to jobs and studies in the sciences more easily and painlessly.
However, while I do support the use of calculators, I believe that they
should not be introduced until and unless students have mastered the
operations that the calculator is performing. It is unreasonable to expect
calculous students to long devide out 526801 over 9234. It would take them
hours annd hours to complete complex operations in larger functions and
equasions. It is likewise true that no scientist conducting research should
spend hours constructing by hand and with equasions that are not
complicated, but time consuming, the graphs neccessary to analyze the
findings of his research, when a computer can do it. He must understand how
and why it works, so that he can detect errors on the part of the software,
but entering in by hand on a calculator 500 different numbers to find the
average or do a line regression equasion would be a waste of such a useful
and intelligent person's valuable time. So, bottom line? In moderation,
calculators are a very very good and neccessary thing.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Freeman" <k7uij at panix.com>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)"
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2010 9:27 AM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] Math technology
Carol:
I agree with you that blind math students should understand and learn to
work with graphs, at least minimally. After all, sight or the lack of it
does not affect the ability of a graph to illuminate a concept and in
physics, I often pictured graphs in my mind. These days, however, it is my
impression that, mroe often than not, graphs are substituted in high school
math courses for training in computation and reasoning skills. Else why have
graphing calculators? I'm becoming increasingly worried about this trend
(for all students, not just blind/vi ones) and (given some controversies
over math texts here in WA), I am apparently not alone.
But I admit my primary reaction was to the notion (a cockamaimy one in my
estimation) that one can get a notion of spacial objects by audio alone.
Just my $0.02-worth.
Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carol Castellano" <blindchildren at verizon.net>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)"
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 10:07 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] Math technology
Interesting you say that, Mike. We made lots of
graphs for Serena to use for algebra I & II. She
did use them and plotted away. However, when she
took physics, she did all of it via math
formulae. I really don't know if one was more
meaningful to her than the other.
For graphing, we glued two pieces of string down
for the axes. String is good because it allows
the person to see the axis and the background at
the same time, thereby giving context. Then
Serena would plot the graph with bits and lines
of Wikki Stix. For the ones that needed shading,
we used aluminum foil. It was nice because when
you pressed it down over the graph paper, you
could still feel the graph lines, again giving
context, yet it felt different from the bare graph paper. Seemed to work
well.
Carol
At 11:07 PM 4/9/2010, you wrote:
>Pat:
>
>I'm sure many will disagree with me here but I could never fathom how audio
>could accurately convey graphics to the blind. In my book, graphs are only
>crutches to illustrate abstract concepts and math teachers are only as good
>as they can deal with the abstractions without needing to "picture"
>everything.
>
>Mike Freman, B.A. and M.S. in physics
>
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Pat Renfranz" <dblair2525 at msn.com>
>To: "blindkid" <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 2:36 PM
>Subject: [blindkid] Math technology
>
>
>My daughter will be taking Algebra II next year in 9th grade. She uses
>Braille/Nemeth texts with tactile graphics. She's gotten by just fine with
>relatively low-tech math tools.
>
>We are wondering if it would be useful for her to start using an accessible
>graphing calculator. Does anyone have any practical advice on using one of
>these programs? I am looking into the Audio Graphing Calculator from
>ViewPlus and Math Trax from NASA. They both produce an audio signal
>representing the shape of the function, while the AGC has the advantage of
>being able to produce tactile graphs on a Tiger embosser. Maybe there are
>other products available? Our school district has no experience with any of
>them. Does anyone¹s teenager think this software is worth learning?
>
>We are a little nervous about this, because our experience has been that,
>math is great because you can pretty much always count on a Brailler,
>paper,
>and sticky dots from the hardware store to NOT fail and to NOT require
>specialized training that gets in the way of actually learning the
>material...
>
>Thanks in advance for any help.
>Pat
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Carol Castellano, President
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
973-377-0976
carol_castellano at verizon.net
www.nopbc.org
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