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Students who have physical, cognitive, sensory, and learning disabilities might find learning mathematics particularly challenging. Appropriate accommodations and technology can help them learn and demonstrate their mastery of mathematics just like anyone else. Caution should be used; what might work well for one student might not work for another.

For each of the special needs listed below, there are identified technology-enhanced strategies that will assist a student with that special need in understanding and "being successful" in Algebra 1. Two technology-enhanced strategies for EACH of the special needs below are developed. The strategy is described (links included) and HOW it will increase the chances that a student with that special need will be successful with Algebra 1 or mathematics in general.

*Adaptive/Assistive Technology Assignment for Algebra 1*

Students who have physical, cognitive, sensory, and learning disabilities might find learning mathematics particularly challenging. Appropriate accommodations and technology can help them learn and demonstrate their mastery of mathematics just like anyone else. Caution should be used; what might work well for one student might not work for another.

For each of the special needs listed below, there are identified technology-enhanced strategies that will assist a student with that special need in understanding and "being successful" in Algebra 1. Two technology-enhanced strategies for EACH of the special needs below are developed. The strategy is described (links included) and HOW it will increase the chances that a student with that special need will be successful with Algebra 1 or mathematics in general.

- Students with Cognitive Difficulties
- Students with Physical Difficulties
- Students with Sensory Difficulties
- At-Risk Students
- Gifted and Talented Students

*Students with Cognitive Difficulties*Cognitive disabilities affect one's ability to access, process, or remember information. Individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, benefit from applications designed with simplicity, redundancy, and consistency.

Here are some great resources for students with cognitive difficulty:

Attainment Company is dedicated to helping people with cognitive disabilities. Among its offerings are a basic talking calculator and a talking hand-held Coin-U-Lator, the latter of which helps individuals learn how to count money by using photographic coin buttons and a dollar bill instead of standard numbers on a regular calculator. The company offers IntelliKeys, an alternative keyboard that helps individuals with cognitive, physical, or visual disabilities access any software. For Algebra 1 teachers should use Teaching to Standards software. It is a systematic math curriculum for middle and high school students with moderate-to-severe developmental disabilities, including autism. It accommodates students with significant developmental disabilities and accommodates students who communicate non-verbally. It aligns to NCTM standards and directly covers Geometry and Algebra.

iSolveIt is a mobile digital learning environment that supports the development of logical thinking and reasoning skills, which are essential competencies of algebra and mathematics in general. The environment includes a collection of tablet-based puzzles that have been designed using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

The program builds math skills through fun activities. The problems are designed so that the problems get slightly more difficult as the student progresses. Students will find success at the beginning as they learn the application and then begin to really develop their skills as they hit the more difficult problems. iSolveIt would be perfect for any student, especially one with cognitive developmental issues, in Algebra 1.

*Students with Sensory Difficulties (Vision & Hearing)*

**Visually Impaired**

MathTrax is a graphing tool for middle school and high school students to graph equations, physics simulations or plot data files. The graphs have descriptions and sound so you can hear and read about the graph. Blind and low vision users can access visual math data and graph or experiment with equations and data sets. Students can create graphs by entering an equation, selecting an equation from a drop-down menu, entering raw data to be analyzed or activating a physics simulation. MathTrax graphs the equations and provides descriptions of those graphs using text and sound. The curves currently described are first and second order equations in two variables, i.e., line, parabola, ellipse, hyperbola, circle, null set, single point, and two lines. The dynamic text descriptions and sonification make the graphs accessible to blind students who do not use pencil, paper or written graphs to study mathematics. The text descriptions can be read by Java-capable screen readers such as Jaws for Windows, or can be input to speech synthesizing software to create self-voicing applications. MathTrax provides color and line settings for traditional "drawn" graphs to aid users with differing vision-impairments. The ability to read and understand graphs and how they relate to Algebra is a critical skill in Algebra 1.

**Hearing Impaired**

The primary concern for hearing impaired is that an equivalent visual form accompanies any audio output information provided in applications. For educational media with sound, deaf learners need text equivalents, or captioned versions, or media using sign language. Hearing impaired might need sound-enhancement devices to fully benefit from media and interactions.

The Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd) lists a number of multimedia resources for instruction delivery to deaf learners. iCommunicator is an excellent resource, it is proving a valuable alternative for deaf or hard of hearing students in regular classrooms and other settings when sign-language interpreters are not available. The software converts speech to text and video sign language in real time, and speech to text to computer generated voice. The computer generated voice is valuable for users who cannot speak or who have oral issues. By typing what they want to say on a laptop computer with a PC platform, the iCommunicator will speak for the teacher or the student.

Specialized signs are needed for communicating mathematics to learners using sign language. Embee Outreach provides a series of free short videos illustrating the American Sign Language equivalent for specialized vocabulary found in elementary through secondary math and other selected academic areas. For a high school Algebra 1 course, the iCommunicator and Embee Outreach app could be used in combination together to support almost every topic.

**Students with Physical Difficulties**

There are many types and degrees of physical disabilities. A physical disability is a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. Many students with physical disabilities cannot write or type, others can only do so at a slow pace and the end result may still be illegible. To be considered a disability, the problem must cause a person to have a level of motor coordination that is significantly below what would be expected for his or her age, and the problem must interfere with the activities of learning and daily living.

Access to the curriculum can be difficult for children with physical disabilities. Unfortunately, many aspects of the curriculum were inaccessible to these children until the advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in recent years.

Peripheral devices and other ICT equipment can be used to compensate for students' lack of motor control. Here are just a couple of technological aids that would assist with just a few specific disabilities.

Movable Type: In cases where a person does not have reliable muscle control in the hands for precision movements, an adaptive keyboard can be useful. Some adaptive keyboards have raised areas between the keys, rather than lowered areas, to allow the person to first place the hand down on the keyboard, then slide the finger into the correct key. A person with tremors, or spastic movements could benefit from this type of keyboard. Keyboard overlays are also available as an adaptation to standard keyboards, which achieve the same results. In some cases, adaptive keyboards come with specialized software with word-completion technology. This allows the person to type with fewer keystrokes, since typing can be rather laborious and slow otherwise. This would be of assistance in Algebra 1 when working with any type of word problems.

MathTalk.com: Voice recognition software allows a person to control the computer by speaking. This assumes that the person has a voice that is easy to understand. Some people with motor disabilities—those with cerebral palsy in particular—may have a difficult time speaking in a way that the software can understand, since the muscles that control the voice are slow to respond, and speech is often slurred, despite the fact that these people do not have any slowness in their mental capacity. However, the majority of students with physical disabilities should be able to use MathTalk.com. It is mathematics software which allows the user to voice any type of math - pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, graphing, and even higher levels. This would be a critical resource for an Algebra 1 class.

*Some students are identified as At-Risk if they:*

**At-Risk Students**

- have difficulty remembering things to-do or a sequence of tasks.
- Inability to read and comprehend at grade level
- Difficulties in written expression
- Difficulties in Math computations and concepts.
- Lack of motivation to do school work

**Math 180:**Math 180 is a program that takes a different approach to the math classroom. The program boasts "sophisticated technology" that will help reach and engage students. The focus is to help redefine how students think about math by first working on their attitudes. It is specifically designed to address the needs of struggling students and their teachers

*equally*. Adaptive software is utilized to provide students with personalized instruction and practice. Students are able to engage with their peers while working on the curriculum. For an "at risk" Algebra student, this software will help to motivate them.

**Math Motivation:**Where Will I Ever Use Algebra? What is The Value of Algebra? The goal is that after viewing the examples on this site, students see that the process of learning higher mathematics provides valuable skills in deductive reasoning and symbolic reasoning in addition to math skills used directly in science and engineering applications. The site is a compilation of lessons, videos and lecture notes that incorporate real-world applications of math and real-world experiments on video with exercises, deductive reasoning, use of technology, and collaborative group activities, while adhering to a traditional sequence of topics. The lessons will work well with most Algebra 1 concepts.

*If advanced students are not challenged, they can lose interest in learning and perform below expectations. In math, students can exercise higher order conceptualization to focus on "decision making, reflection, reasoning, and problem solving" (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics), such as by manipulating the variables of an equation and observing its effects on a graphing calculator. Instead of spending a significant amount of classroom time on computation, students can focus on higher level skills and useful applications of their new-found knowledge. Technology has the unique ability to challenge students mathematically as they have never been before.*

**Gifted and Talented Students**

Stanford University: Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY): EPGY courses are accessible all students whose schools officially implemented them or students who applied to the Stanford EPGY individual distance-learning program. Students can come together in less formal learning communities to benefit from EPGY’s courses in math. In their coursework, students are supported by their parents, who have access to monitoring capabilities, an array of self-support tools, as well as a School Support Associate, a local volunteer who receives training in the course software from EPGY staff and acts as a liaison with EPGY. The EPGY program has been adapted to aid the learning process for students of all ability levels, including low-income (Title I) students who have historically struggled in school. The topics only go through Pre-Algebra, yet this would still be a valuable asset for any mathematics teacher.

Yummy Math: Yummy Math shares mathematics problems and scenarios based on things happening in the world today. Such as an activity based on Lebron James's return to Cleveland and another on the NFL playoffs. Yummy Math lists activities chronologically as well as by mathematics topic. Topics include Algebra, Number Sense, Geometry, Food Math, Sports, and many more. The site is sure to be highly motivational for students as they complete math problems based on items of current interest such as the Super Bowl, American Idol, and American candy sales. Most problems contain a printable word or pdf document with questions. Some also include video or audio clips. Especially helpful is the Contents link which provides an alphabetical listing of all activities on the site. This would be an excellent site for all students, especially gifted students in Algebra.

Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a free website comprising thousands of educational videos aimed at self-paced instruction. Teachers can assign gifted students to use the site as part of a school assignment or as a way to practice math concepts for test prep. The site offers an almost unlimited number of practice exercises, organized by topic, with instant feedback and progress data. Teachers and students can monitor math progress on a personal dashboard. The videos are short and are presented in a casual and unrehearsed yet engaging style. The videos and material are primarily geared towards mastering procedures rather than conceptual understanding. Many topics in Algebra 1 are introductory to topics that will be further explored in Algebra 2. Gifted students should be encouraged to "see" where the foundational skills they have just mastered lead to later on. (see video below on how to use Khan Academy data)

**Sources:**

Cited:

*Multimedia Instruction for Students Who Are Deaf*. Retrieved from http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=153

THE Journal.

*Students with disabilities, software and learning support for math*. Retrieved from:

http://thejournal.com/articles/2008/06/26/students-with-disabilities-software-and-learning-support-for-math-part-2.aspx#1WzIcMdzOomCuvlO.99

**Additional Resources:**

- Attainment Company: http://www.attainmentcompany.com
- Center for Applied Special Technology: http://www.cast.org/
- Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access: http://www.catea.org/index.php
- Center for Implementing Technology in Education: http://www.cited.org/
- Closing the Gap: http://www.closingthegap.com
- DO-IT: http://www.washington.edu/doit/
- Embee (Needs) Outreach: http://www.needsoutreach.org/Pages/dhabil.html
- EnableMart: http://www.enablemart.com
- Freedom Scientific: http://www.freedomscientific.com/index.html
- Henter Math: http://www.hentermath.com/index.asp
- IBM's Software Accessibility Checklist: http://www-03.ibm.com/able/guidelines/software/accesssoftware.html
- iCommunicator: http://www.myicommunicator.com/
- IntelliTools: http://www.IntelliTools.com
- Metroplex Voice Computing: http://www.mathtalk.com
- Pearson Digital Learning: http://www.pearsondigital.com
- Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic: http://www.rfbd.org
- Science Access Project: http://dots.physics.orst.edu/
- Tobii Assistive Technology: http://www.assistivetech.com/
- University of Minnesota's Software Accessibility Standards: http://cap.umn.edu/ait/Software/index.html
- ViewPlus Technologies: http://www.viewplus.com/