Creating and using digital graphs is a challenge for many students with visual impairments. Traditionally, students have received graphs in a tactile format; however, in the 21st century paperless classrooms, all students are expected to create and use digital graphs. It is often challenging for students to transition from tactile graphs to digital graphs. In the video below, Dr. Denise Robinson explains in detail how to create and use graphs with standard apps running a screen reader.
When Should Students Learn Digital Graphs?
Ideally, students should be exposed to digital math tools with simple math content and basic tech skills early in their school career - not in high school when the math content is more complex. General education students are being introduced to simple spread sheets in second or third grade - basic spread sheet skills lay the foundation for graphing skills. Tech skills should also be introduced early at a simple level and expanded as the student is introduced to more complex content. Teachers of the visually impaired should teach graph concepts using tactile formats and then help the student apply and transition these graph concepts to graphs in digital formats. Example: The Desmos app, an accessible graphing tool, uses sonification; it is important for students to be exposed to both simple digital charts and graphs along with sonification prior to to completing more complex math problems.
There are numerous Paths to Technology posts about introducing digital math concepts. Here are two:
- Moving Forward with Accessible Digital Math Part 1
- Moving Forward with Accessible Digital Math Part 2 (This post links to numerous math posts with specific activities.)