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Blind student invents a new way of teaching and learning math

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2019-04-03 18:14

About the solution

Logan was in a coma for nearly 12 days when he was 13 years old, as a result of a rare allergic reaction he had to some contrast agents from a routine MRI. After waking up from the coma, he couldn’t walk, he had lost several motor skills, was speech impaired and almost completely blind. But is mind was fully working.

Before his first college year, Logan met Ann Gully, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) tutoring coordinator at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM). She tried to help him by making sandpaper cutouts of numbers and symbols. Most blind students use the Nemeth Code (a version of Braille for math that codes for everything from fractions to trigonometric functions) but this wasn’t a good option for Logan due to his mobility limitations. So Ann and Logan decided to create their own system.

With the help of Jordan Price, an undergraduate studying ecological population models who worked as a math tutor, the team developed a process of trial and error: Jordan would describe the “landscape” of an algebra problem, laying out the main objective. He would then break it down into auditory “chunks,” each of which was a definition, a value, or some other factor related to the problem. This worked, and Logan was able to understand the equations and problems - he even got A in algebra class.

In 2015, the Logan Project was born. “We focused on developing a methodology that would allow Logan to fully drive the intellectual processes involved in simplifying and solving algebraic expressions and equations. Our approach had to be unique because Logan's limited mobility will not allow him to use Nemeth Code, the math equivalent of Braille”, it says on the official website.

Currently, the team members use a method of audio communication to teach students one-on-one. In the future, they hope to create software that automates the process, making the method available to many.

The team got funding from AUM and from foundations.

Now they hope to expand the project and use the feedback from people to improve their system.

“From 2017 – 2019, the focus of our work is to expand the reach of Process-Driven Math and further build the body of evidence that it is an effective method of instruction and assessment for all learners, especially learners with visual and print disabilities. Education and accessibility specialists from AUM, Bridge Multimedia, and Eye on Access will join us in our effort to improve the tools for success in mathematics that are available to students with disabilities. Our goal is the creation of software with a Universal Design for Learning that will allow students who are blind or have low vision, as well as other diverse learners, to learn together with their sighted peers in an inclusive educational setting”, the official website states.

More info: http://www.aum.edu/logan-project

Adapted from: https://bit.ly/2FOlI57

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Logan Prickett, born and living in the USA, became blind after a coma period as a consequence of a rare allergic reaction. With the help of his colleagues, he came up with a new way to learn and teach math to help himself and others in the same condition.

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