Differences in learning occur for a variety of reasons. Some students may have academically encouraging homes. Some students may have academic learning disabilities. Other students may have physical differences. And just as with physical growth, some students may simply grow in their mathematical abilities at different rates.
Regardless of the reason, mathematics educators often strive to find tools and resources to help meet individual student needs and differentiate instruction. Handheld, mobile technologies may offer just the means to do that. As this recent article from SmartPlanet, details there are new opportunities for the visually impaired learner using “haptic” technology.
Haptic means relating to the sense of touch. Through a research project at Vanderbilt University, an android app is being developed to help learners who have difficulties with their vision to learn mathematics – a subject where visual data such as graphs, charts, and symbols are relied upon for communication.
Many learn better through doing rather than speaking or hearing. Mathematics can be difficult to teach to these learners. In addition to assisting the visually impaired, such technology may open the door for the kinesthetic learner. With handheld devices becoming downright commonplace, this seems like an opportunity with a lot of promise.