Week 5 Reflection

Our extension group project went well this week.  Similar to last week, we stayed on Twitter (#techassign) to discuss the project roles after our #diffimooc session Monday night.  It was decided that we would each take 2-3 assistive technologies and research them throughly and create a Google slide presentation.  We decided to tell each other our technology on Twitter during the next few days, and we would meet on Wednesday via Google Hangout to iron out our presentation. It was great because we were able to use our microphones and speak to each other.  It was a nice change from last week where we had to limit our converstaion to chat messages during the Hangout.

The assistive technologies I chose were the Orion TI 84 Talking Graphing Calculator and Graphiti.  I wanted to stay within the bounds of mathematics education for the blind or visually impaired.  My initial assisitive technology was MathTalk (which needed Dragon Naturally Speaking), but I felt that there were multiple resources for speech to text applications/software that I wanted see if there were any other technologies that would help disabled students.  Then I came across an article about blind mathematicians!  How interesting to learn about how blind people learn mathematics.  Interestingly blind people tend to focus on 3D Geometry, but some do work in other fields that are equation and line by line proofs intensive. (2002)  I did not realize that a famous mathematician was blind, Leonhard Euler.  He was blind for the last seventeen years of his life, and published about half of his 850 “output” works while blind.

I originally wanted to focus on “generic” talking calculators (apps from Adroid/iTunes), but came across the Orion TI 84 Talking Graphing Calculator.  It was awesome that Texas Instruments collaborated with American Printing House for the Blind, and Orbit Research to develop this iconic technology to be used with high school/college students.  Students can use the same technology that other students were using in the class!

Graphiti was not my first choice either.  I was going to present about assistive technologies available in Windows with a Microsoft Surface Pro (since I have one), but came across a great tech device that helps blind people “see” and “draw”.  It was supposed to be in beta testing since last August, and is supposed to be finalized by this month.  I will need to revisit this tech device in the coming months to see if it has materialized to full-scale production.

Heather, once again, was a great help in this project.  She set up the Google slides document and set up the Hangout session we had Wednesday.  I don’t think our group would have done as good without her help! 😉

Here is the link to our Google slides presentation.


Unknown Author. (2002) The World of Blind Mathematicians. Notices of the AMS. Vol. 49, Number 10. Retrieved from http://www.ams.org/notices/200210/comm-morin.pdf


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