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Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Tablet Computer Application (App) in Helping Students with Visual Impairments Solve Mathematics Problems — JVIB Abstract

Abstract: Introduction: The authors examined a tablet computer application (iPad app) for its effectiveness in helping students studying pre-algebra to solve mathematical word problems. Methods: Forty-three visually impaired students (that is, those who are blind or have low vision) completed eight alternating mathematics units presented using their traditional literacy medium or an iPad app. Twenty percent of the mathematics problems included graphics such as maps, line graphs, and bar graphs. During each session, teachers of visually impaired students rated the amount of support they provided for students and the student motivation. Results: Students answered more mathematics problems correctly when using the iPad app and, overall, teachers reported that their students were more motivated with the app than with their traditional literacy medium. Students often used the hints provided in the app when they did not solve a problem correctly the first time. Discussion: Visually impaired students and their teachers found the app and graphics to be easy to use and motivating. The built-in Scratch pad was used by almost all students who were print users. Implications for practitioners: The study results contribute to the growing body of knowledge about the potential value of tablet-type devices for use by visually impaired students.


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