This paper describes the design, implementation and outcomes of a teaching activity in high school setting, aimed at supporting a student with visual impairments in learning Mathematics and promoting inclusive learning involving all other students. The teaching activity was defined following an adoption-centered approach. During the initial needs-finding stage, we explored the available instruments for inclusive access and authoring of mathematical formulae, and we identified the LaTeX typesetting language as the instrument of choice. The use of LaTeX was motivated by the fact that it provides a textual representation of mathematical content, thus making it accessible through standard assistive technologies, such as Braille displays and screen readers. LaTeX is also widely used in higher education to author scientific documents, and therefore constitutes a useful skill for future education and employment of all students. We then defined the main steps needed for addressing the topic during a traditional high school mathematical curriculum, and scheduled them in relation to other teaching activities. The students had no difficulties in following the teaching activity, including learning and using LaTeX, and most were eager to apply the acquired skills for authoring lab reports and homework. However, the acceptance of the assistive tool by the student with visual impairments was low. Additionally, most of the other teachers displayed high resistance to change and therefore were not interested in supporting the activity and integrating it with their classes. We highlight the key findings and limitations of the project, and discuss possible improvements over the current approach.

LaTeX as an inclusive accessibility instrument for highschool mathematical education

Nadir Murru;Tiziana Armano;Anna Capietto
2021-01-01

Abstract

This paper describes the design, implementation and outcomes of a teaching activity in high school setting, aimed at supporting a student with visual impairments in learning Mathematics and promoting inclusive learning involving all other students. The teaching activity was defined following an adoption-centered approach. During the initial needs-finding stage, we explored the available instruments for inclusive access and authoring of mathematical formulae, and we identified the LaTeX typesetting language as the instrument of choice. The use of LaTeX was motivated by the fact that it provides a textual representation of mathematical content, thus making it accessible through standard assistive technologies, such as Braille displays and screen readers. LaTeX is also widely used in higher education to author scientific documents, and therefore constitutes a useful skill for future education and employment of all students. We then defined the main steps needed for addressing the topic during a traditional high school mathematical curriculum, and scheduled them in relation to other teaching activities. The students had no difficulties in following the teaching activity, including learning and using LaTeX, and most were eager to apply the acquired skills for authoring lab reports and homework. However, the acceptance of the assistive tool by the student with visual impairments was low. Additionally, most of the other teachers displayed high resistance to change and therefore were not interested in supporting the activity and integrating it with their classes. We highlight the key findings and limitations of the project, and discuss possible improvements over the current approach.
2021
18th International Web for All Conference W4A'21
Ljubljana Slovenia
19-20 aprile 2021
W4A '21: Proceedings of the 18th International Web for All Conference
Association for Computing Machinery
1
9
978-1-4503-8212-0
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/3430263
LaTeX, accessibility, mathematics, mathematical education
Dragan Ahmetovic, Cristian Bernareggi, Marco Bracco, Nadir Murru, Tiziana Armano, Anna Capietto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1833714
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