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Dept. of Special Education Designs A8M Digital Learning Tool for Students in Need
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October 15th is the White Cane Safety Day, the Day of the Blind. In order to reduce the learning difficulties of blind students in mathematics, Associate Professor Chien-Huey Sophie Chang of the Department of Special Education of NTNU led a team to develop the 'A8M Digital Learning Tool' which is convenient for visually impaired students to read and write mathematics. It is easy to use and enables teachers to communicate well with visually impaired students. Users can listen and read repeatedly with a Braille display, which makes it easier to grasp the structure of complex mathematical formulas.


There are about 44.9 million visually impaired people in the world, and about 50 thousand visually impaired people in Taiwan. According to the 2021 Special Education Statistical Annual Report by the government, there are 1,268 visually impaired students below college level. Most of them can only use braille machines during their studies, and there are very few effective learning aids. Learning mathematics is even more difficult. In addition to abstract concepts and rigorous logic, there are lots of symbols in math. It is difficult to understand its meaning only by touching. It’s also a common stereotype that the visually impaired should be massage therapists and visually impaired students prong to give up learning math at the beginning.


In view of this, researchers started work on this under the National Taiwan Normal University Higher Education SPROUT Project in 2021, and with the assistance of the Taiwan Association of Visually Impaired People to develop a digital learning tool with multi-modality concept for visually challenged students in Taiwan.


Vice President of NTNU Sung Yao Ting says that test accommodation is a must for major exams around the world. Test accommodation is any modification made to tests or testing conditions that allow students with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or limited English-language ability to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a testing situation.


He says that there are about 1,300 visually impaired students in Taiwan. Due to the restrictions of current software, the mathematical symbols aren’t displayed very well. The invention of Professor Chang’s team will not only help Taiwanese students with needs in exams but also help them in general in the classroom or self-learning in the future.


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