Friday, August 16, 2013

Learning math

I learned math as a blind student, with a slate and something called type. The slate was made up of a frame of holes and the type could be used to achieve 16 different positions. When the type was on its right side up, one could create numbers from 1 to 8 and when the type was placed on its wrong side, then the following could be had: 9, 0, plus, minus, multiplication sign, division sign, decimal point, and equals sign.

You could see then that the type had eight distinct sides and in actuality it was a very small entity made of lead. You had to place it in the hole of the frame and this is how figures were generated. The frame consisted of 16 columns and eight rows. A marvelous invention, in my opinion, for a blind person to have learned math to start with.

Much later on came talking calculators for us blind folks and this is the picture as it stands today. Many students do indeed use Braille to do their math as well. Others use the good old abacus.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and tell others about how blind persons learn Math. To learn more about the world of blind persons, visit
Follow me on Twitter @accessibleworld and @author_jodhan.

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