Maths & Science software for VI

From: Lloyd G. Rasmussen (
Date: Fri Nov 09 2001 - 06:04:39 PST

This is long. But it is how some students at the Texas School for the
Blind are doing their algebra. It's perhaps not easy or fun, but it's doable.

>Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 15:53:50 -0600
>From: Susan Osterhaus <osterhauss@TSBVI.EDU>
>Subject: Maths & Science software for VI
>Since I last wrote, my Algebra II students and I have been experimenting.
>We have been working with matrices using Scientific Notebook and JAWS. For
>example, we've been able to come up with a technique to solve systems of
>equations and find regression lines with a little bit of help (fastest
>method) or totally independently (via a slower method). (You may prefer to
>try voice recognition software from Metroplex Voice Computing. See contact
>information below.)
>1. Solve the system
>Open JAWS. Open Scientific Notebook (SN). Enter Alt I. Select Matrix. Tab
>through columns and rows and select 3x3. Enter 2, tab, enter 3, tab, enter
>1 tab, etc (i.e. the coefficients of each variable). When the matrix is
>filled, hit space bar once. Then enter Alt I. Select Matrix. Select 3x1.
>Enter x, tab, enter y, tab, enter z. Hit space bar once. Enter =. Enter Alt
>I. Select Matrix. Select 3x1. Enter 13, tab, enter 7, tab, enter 25 (i.e
>the constants). Hit space bar once. Enter Alt M. Select Solve, and then
>Exact. The solution appears as a 3x1 matrix with entries 3, 2, and 1. Shift
>left arrow will read the three answers correctly this time. However, if any
>of the numbers were negative, it would not read the negative. If any of the
>numbers were a fraction, it would not read them as such. For example, 1/2
>would be read as "one, two." The fastest method would be to simply ask a
>sighted person to read the screen. However, the student can print a print
>copy for the math teacher either one problem at a time or after the entire
>assignment is completed. Before or after printing the print copy, the
>student can save the SN file and bring the file up in DBT WIN 10.3 via the
>LaTeX importer and then translate it. The formatting is awful (Duxbury has
>informed me that they will not be fixing the table, chart, matrix, etc.
>formatting problems at this time.); however, the student can scan through
>the mess and find the words "Solution is: 3, 2, 1." Alternatively, the
>student may wish to use the Nemeth filter from MAVIS at NMSU.
>2. Find an equation of the regression line given certain data points. Then
>graph it.
>Open JAWS. Open Scientific Notebook. Enter Alt I. Select Matrix. Tab
>through columns and rows and select #x2, where # stands for the number of
>points + 1. For example if you had 7 data points, you would select an 8x2
>matrix. Enter x tab y and then all of the data points (making a "T" or data
>table). When the data table (matrix) is filled, hit space bar once. Enter
>Alt M. Select Statistics. Select Fit Curve to Data. Select last column for
>the dependent variable and Mutiple Regression (default). The regression
>line equation appears. Again, JAWS will not read the regression line
>equation correctly. At this point, the student can ask a sighted person to
>read the equation, print the equations out, or translate through DBT WIN
>10.3. After the regression line equation is determined, it should be
>entered into the Accessible Graphing Calculator and graphed. The graph can
>be printed in print for the math teacher, printed with a braille font and
>copied onto swell paper and run through a tactile imaging machine, embossed
>on a TIGER Advantage embosser, and/or the student can listen to the
>If you are freaking out at this point, thinking that you or your students
>could never do all this, my students are doing it. My most proficient
>student is only a sophomore. He can also solve systems manually using the
>graphing, substitution, and linear combination method. He liked four out of
>the five methods I showed him; he didn't like using Cranmer's Rule. You can
>also perform other operations on matrices using JAWS and Scientific
>Notebook with similar techniques. Contact information for the
>math/translation software mentioned follows:
>MacKichan Software, Inc.
>600 Ericksen, Suite 300
>Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
>Phone: 1-877-SCI-NOTE
>Fax: 1-206-780-2857
>With Scientific Notebook, create attractive documents with text,
>mathematics, and graphics, have it compute the solutions, import data from
>your graphing calculator, connect to the Internet and download documents,
>then translate to Nemeth Code and/or convert to large print. (See MAVIS.)
>Mathematics Accessible to Visually Impaired Students (MAVIS)
>Chris Weaver, MAVIS Program Coordinator
>New Mexico State University
>Math Department MSC 3MB
>P.O. Box 30001
>Las Cruces, NM 88003
>Phone:(505) 646-2664
>Fax: (505) 646-1064
>Nemeth Code filter that translates Scientific Notebook documents containing
>mathematics to Nemeth Code. "The fast production of Scientific Notebook
>files on a Braille embosser means that visually impaired students can
>obtain class handouts, syllabi, exams, and other course materials in the
>sciences in real time. And it means that institutions can comply more
>easily with federal disability regulations." (see MacKichan Software, Inc.)
>ViewPlus Software, Inc.
>Business Enterprise Center
>Contact Person: Carolyn Gardner
>800 NW Starker Avenue
>Corvallis, OR 97330
>Phone: (541) 754 4002
>Fax: (541) 738 6505
>The Accessible Graphing Calculator is a self-voicing graphing scientific
>calculator program. Unlike a hand-held calculator, it displays results
>through speech and sounds, as well as visually presenting numbers and
>graphs. Braille graphics can be created directly via the TIGER embosser
>(See ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.) or indirectly using a tactile imaging
>ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.
>Metroplex Voice Computing
>P.O Box 121984
>Arlington, TX 76012
>Phone: (817) 261-1658
>Fax: (817) 543-1103
>Speech recognition software products including several mathematics programs.
>MathTalkProTM - runs Scientific NotebookTM with over 2,000 voiced commands.
>MTP is for all levels of math. Scientific Notebook includes MapleTM and
>graphing capabilities. For more details on Scientific Notebook, (see
>MacKichan Software, Inc). MathTalkPro will be available with an optional
>Nemeth Code Converter© that translates the mathematics into Braille (See
>At 12:40 PM 10/31/2001 +1000, you wrote:
>>Hello to all,
>>I have finally subscribed to the main EASI list after being on the EASI-SEM
>>list for some time. After generating a little discussion a couple of months
>>ago, that list now seems to have been wound up. I am copying, below, a
>>message I tried to send to that list a week or two back, and hope that it
>>reaches not only those with whom I have recently communicated on the
>>easi-sem list, but also others who may have some interest and experience in
>>this particular area.
>>By way of a brief intro, I work as an education adviser in the area of
>>assistive technology for students with vision impairment, employed by
>>Education Queensland, Australia, and am blind myself. I have been with the
>>Ed Dept for twenty years, but spent the first fifteen of those as a music
>>specialist and music therapist. The main AT I use is JAWS for Windows, Open
>>Book and a Braille Lite 40.
>>Now, to the main subject of this message: --
>>I promised to get back to the list after our two week vacation period.
>>Unfortunately, more pressing work requirements have kept me from getting my
>>head back around this subject.
>>I still haven't received much feedback from one or two folk trialing
>>programs such as the AGC (Accessible Graphing Calculator) with students and
>>it looks like our little special interest group/working party will not
>>manage another workshop session this year. With our Summer vacation looming
>>and some extended leave I'm taking from Mid
>>November, time is running out fast for 2001.
>>However, if anyone still wants to keep things simmering along, or has any
>>new discoveries re using software such as Scientific Notebook or MathType
>>Editor with screen readers such as JAWS or WindowEyes, or has had experience
>>with using Accessible Graphing Calc with high school students, I'd still
>>to hear from you.
>>Hoping to be in touch and able to share more again soon.
>>Tom Macmahon
>>Education Adviser
>>Adaptive Technology Services
>>Low Incidence Unit, Education Queensland
>>141 Merton Road
>>Ph: 61/7 3240-9360
>>Fax: 61/7 3240-9300

Braille is the solution to the digital divide.
Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress (202) 707-0535 <>
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