Tactile to Digital Part 2: Math Melodies

This is the second post in a series of how to successfully teach 21st Century classroom skills by pairing tactile graphics with digital resources. In the first post, Tactile to Digital Part 1: Math Robot, we discussed an overview of the critical tech concepts unique to students who are blind or low vision and how to use APH's Math Robot app to teach critical tech skills. (Math Robot is an app that drills math facts.) In this post, we will discuss the progression of using models, tactile graphics, and iPad overlays to teach critical tech skills, including dragging in a straight line and applying table and grid concepts to the digital environment. These activities correspond with the Add or Delete game in the Math Melodies app; Math Melodies is an app that has numerous math-related games and each game has multiple levels. (See Math Melodies App: Young Students Post.)

Note: The content in the Add or Delete Math Melodies game is geared for students younger than the math fact drills content in the Math Robot. Using the models (3 dimensional manipulatives) is also the first step when introducing tactile materials. Math Melodies activities should be done before the Math Robot activities.

Progression of Skills

Educators know that young students initially learn best with real objects before moving to models of real objects. The same is true with students who are blind or low vision; start with real objects whenever possible and appropriate! With that being said, it is not always possible to use real objects due to size, availability or safety. Examples: Students will not have hands-on experiences in the classroom with a real elephant (too big), alien (not available), or scorpion (not safe!). However, students can use models of these real objects.

Progression: Real objects > models of real objects > tactile graphics representing real objects > symbols (including braille or print word) representing real objects

Just like there is a natural progression from real objects to symbols/words representing real objects, there is a natural progression from tactile resources to digital resources. And, there is a need to intentionally build in tech concepts/skills while teaching with tactile resources. When these tech concepts are pre-taught, students are 'set up' for digital success!

In the video below, Jessica, TVI extraordinaire, demonstrates the progression of how she uses models of real objects, tactile graphics and manipulatives, and tactile graphics as an overlay on the app and tactile graphic representing the iPad's screen and how she intentionally embeds the pre-requisite tech skills into the tactile lessons.


Tactile Resources for Add or Delete Math Melodies Game

A big thank you to Transcribing Mariners who have donated the embossable graphics work for the Paths to Technology Resource Library and this blog post. A huge thank you to Jessica McDowell, TVI extraordinaire, for creating the PIAF/Swell graphics and for sharing her work on bridging the gap between tactile graphics and digital resources!