Math and science are difficult subjects for many K-12 children, and they are particularly difficult for students with visual or learning disabilities. ViewPlus is developing a range of accessible math and science curricula for the ViewPlus IVEO Learning System to address these issues. This system allows children to learn in the ways that work best for them. Students can access information through touch, sound, sight or any combination of these three learning modalities. Research clearly shows that learning is enhanced when students use several learning modalities simultaneously (1-6). The IVEO Learning System includes pre-made ready-to-use curricula as well as software for creating personalized materials.

Using a Tiger embosser or swell paper, raised diagrams can be created of any curricular diagrams displayed on the computer monitor. These diagrams, whether they are maps, math equations, blank math templates, or scientific illustrations such as the water cycle or the skeletal system of humans, can be scanned from paper copies or may have been provided in electronic form as are the diagrams in the IVEO Learning System. The raised diagram is then placed on a touch-sensitive touchpad connected via USB to the computer, allowing the software to recognize the location of objects being touched on the raised figure. The computer software then voices written information or plays sound files corresponding to the specific piece of the diagram being touched. An electronic pen device may be used as an alternative to the touchpad to explore the tactile graphic.

The new IVEO Math Tutor interactive curriculum offers a hands-on method for learning subtraction and addition. Included with the software are tactile templates that can be used with the touchpad or pen for audio/visual/tactile learning of standard methods for subtraction and addition. The software includes a “practice” mode with randomly generated problems and immediate feedback for learning and a “testing” mode that tabulates results to give to the math instructor.

The IVEO Learning System Science Pack will include units on earth science, anatomy, biology and chemistry. The new IVEO math and science curricula are expected to improve learning for all children through multimodal learning. This effect should be especially strong for children with visual and learning disabilities who will have the option of learning in the ways that are best for them.

The IVEO Learning System can be used in conjunction with the Dolphin EasyReader DAISY player. For the first time, authors can easily create DAISY books that include fully-accessible mathematical and scientific diagrams and figures as well as interactive teaching tools. In fact, IVEO-enhanced DAISY curricula are currently under development by ViewPlus.

The presentation will include a demonstration of how the IVEO Learning system can be used individually or as an addition to DAISY books read by the EasyReader DAISY player software. The new ViewPlus Math Tutor will be demonstrated along with prototypes of several new science curricula. The presenter will also demonstrate how the new DAISY SVG plug-in works with the EasyReader software to build accessible illustrations into DAISY books.

This research and development project has been supported in part by a Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation.

[1] Ginn, P. (2005). Meta-analysis of the modality effect. Learning and Instruction, 15(4), 313-331.
[2] Mayer, R. (1997). Multimedia learning: Are we asking the right question? Educational Psychologist, 32(1), 1-19.
[3] Scott, K. (1993). Multisensory mathematics for children with mild disabilities. Exceptionality, 4(2), 97-111.
[4] Swanda, D. (1982). Multisensory information matching ability and mathematics learning. Journal for Research in Mathematic Education, 13, 390-394.
[5] Tindall-Ford, S., Chandler P., & Sweller J. (1997). When two sensory modes are better than one. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 3, 257-287.
[6] Zendel, I., & Pihl, R. (1983). Visual and auditory matching in learning disabled and normal children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 16, 158-160.

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