New technology platform to help visually impaired children learn maths - DCU Research
Researchers at Dublin City University are part of a European project which has created a first-of-its-kind platform to improve how mathematics is being taught to blind and visually impaired students.
The technology, currently a working prototype, enables a teacher to prepare maths in the usual printed notation, and to present this to a student in Braille (and vice versa). In an era where online learning is proving so important, this platform offers teachers and students alike the opportunity to use this innovative solution remotely as well as in-class.
An online resource with best practice examples to support teachers has also been developed, which means they have access to hundreds of proven methodologies and explanations of how best to teach children with visual impairments. This is the first and only resource available in Ireland.
The work is part of a European project called EuroMath, which aims to provide enhanced support to teachers and students with visual impairments in inclusive educational settings and ultimately level the playing field of learners with visual impairments in gaining math competencies aligned with primary and secondary education curriculum.
Dr Dónal Fitzpatrick, Assistant Professor in DCU’s School of Computing, is working with partners in Poland and the Netherlands on this platform. Speaking about the project, Dr Fitzpatrick said:
“This is hugely important for children and the Irish education system. As it currently stands, there isn’t enough support for children with visual impairments in this country and that is reflected in the significantly low number of those with visual impairments choosing honours maths as a subject.
If you think about how you might approach explaining to a young student with a visual impairment what a cylinder is or how to use fractions, this can be a challenge if you don’t know how. This innovative platform and practical tools that we have developed have proven methodologies and best practice examples on how best to explain and teach children of all ages so that both teachers and students will benefit.”
Funded under the Erasmus+ programme, EuroMath is an international research project, comprising teams in Poland (NASK-PIB) who are project coordinator, the Netherlands (Koninklijke Visio) and Ireland (DCU).