Math Apps Summary Post for Students K-3rd Grade

In the last several weeks, I have received numerous questions about accessible digital math options for K-3rd grade students who rely on a screen reader. With COVID-19 school closures, general education teachers are using fun math apps to teach or reinforce math concepts and skills. Unfortunately, these math apps are visual in nature and are not accessible with a screen reader. Braille math packets and manipulatives are often being used with students - and continue to be a great option! However, it is challenging for some TVIs to share the braille materials in a timely manner; and, students are highly motivated when they have an option of playing a math app! For many students, these math apps can be taught in 1:1 virtual sessions, especially if there is initial support from home. 

Note: The apps listed below are also beneficial for students with vision (peers) or with low vision.

First, let's take a look at the tech skills necessary for accessing iOS math apps for grades K-3rd. Included are resources for family members (and/or educators!) who may not be familiar with VoiceOver gestures.The second part of this post lists the Paths to Technology math-related app reviews and posts.

Teaching Digital Math Skills

How do you start transitioning a young student to digital math? First, it is critical to introduce the math skill using manipulatives and tactile formats. The student should learn the braille math code, how to align numbers to solve equations, etc. It is all about tools in the toolbox - to be successful with higher math in digital format, students should be introduced early to very basic digital math concepts. These concepts should mirror the tactile math activity and should systematically progress. 21st century students should be 'multimedia students' who embrace print (if possible), braille, manipulatives, tactile graphics, and digital formats. In the most, we will use the word, 'teacher', to mean the person who will be instructing the student - it might be a family member, general education math teacher, or TVI.

Success with digital math skills requires that the teacher understands:

  • It is all about how you teach digital math skills
  • Teach math skills tactually first, then transition to digital math skills

Steps to Teaching Digital Math Skills

The teacher needs a clear idea of where digital math will be heading, in order to teach the foundational digital math concepts. For students who rely on a screen reader, these concepts include unique VoiceOver tech skills, which are clearly explained in the related Paths to Technology posts linked below.

  • Teacher and student need to be familiar with VoiceOver Gestures and basic tech concepts
  • Build math-related digital concepts:
    • Spatial relationships & mental mapping
    • Earcons
    • Sonification
  • Introduce math concepts tactually
  • Pair tactile math concept with accessible digital concept; then, decrease the tactile support

Basic Gestures & iOS Skills

If you need a jump start with basic VoiceOver gestures and the more unique tech skills, the following posts will guide you. FYI: Don't worry, you are not alone! Most people with vision have never heard of "split tap", gesture of the terms  "earcons" or "sonification", which means many students with visual impairments frequently have gaps in these areas! Most of these math-related posts include video tutorials.

Digital Math Skills

Math Melodies App

*Note: Math Melodies running in iOS 13, currently crashes on some of the excercises; the developer is now aware of this and working to resolve the issue. Math Melodies works in iOS 12 and iOS 13 bug is anticipated to be resolved soon!)

The app has many more math games with progressively more challenging math content. Listed below are the most basic games. Note: There is currently an issue with iOS 13 and Math Melodies; developer anticipates an update to fix the crashing issue in the next few weeks (May 2020.)

  • Counting
  • Sequence
  • Add or delete
  • Addition Positions in a table
  • Compare Quantities 

APH Math Robot App

Number Line Concepts

Coding

There are too many coding concept posts to list here; see Coding Posts Summary which organizes and lists coding-related posts (unplugged, apps, robots, and programming languages).

Proof-of-Concept Apps/Future apps

Do you know of additional accessible math apps for K-3rd grade students who use VoiceOver? Please share your favorite apps and/or math-related activities!

 

Comments

Posted by wheelerdMay 11, 2020

These are excellent resources! One I'd also recommend for this age range is the Amazon Alexa Kid Skill "Thinking Cap Math" (https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Cap-Math/dp/B07YG3BL1K-- it has short, ten minute lessons on addition, subtraction, word problems, and counting in a fun, gamified context. It builds mental math skills, and the developers of Thinking Cap Math are getting feedback from staff at TSBVI in order to add more content and improve their functionality to meet the needs of our elementary age students. Check it out! 

Posted by Diane BraunerMay 11, 2020

Thanks for sharing about Amazon Alexa Kid Skill "Thinking Cap Math" - sounds like a wonderful resource!