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A Design of an Algebra Learning Device for Junior High School Students with Total Blindness
special education for the visual impairment
This research was to design an algebra learning device for junior high school students with total blindness, which was called Blind Algebra Learning Device(BALD). It is to confirm that Blind Algebra Learning Device was suitable for blind students to learn algebra. The purpose of this study was as follows: (1) To develop BALD which can help math teachers with normal vision to teach the students with total blindness to learn algebra courses. (2) To explore whether the BALD can be used in students with total blindness. This study was based on qualitative research methods. This study established a three-stage research process after reviewing the literature and identifying problems and research objectives. The first stage was to introduce the design and application of BALD. The description of the concept and characteristics of the design of BALD were included, and the researchers explored how to use BALD in algebra courses for junior high school students with total blindness. In the second stage, the researcher invited a blind student to be a research participant by purposive sampling. The purpose was to observe whether the blind student can use the BALD and operate it correctly in the 6 teaching sessions. The evaluation items used in the 6 teaching sessions included: (1) the device operation, and (2) the learning effect. In the third stage, seven teachers were interviewed by purposive sampling. The seven teachers used to teach blind students mathematics. The interviewees included four Special Education related teachers: An itinerant teacher assigned by the County/City Education Bureau, a resource room teacher in an elementary school, a resource room teacher in a general school, a paraprofessional for students with visual impairment. Also, three math teachers in the regular class were interviewed. The researcher conducted interviews with a semi-structured interview outline. The purpose was to understand the viewpoints of the above teachers on blind students using BALD to learn algebra. The conclusions of this research were as follows: The researcher found that, by using the BALD designed in this study in algebra courses, and through the actual operation of a blind student, the blind student can use the BALD to correctly arrange algebraic formulas, and had short-term memory effects on the algebraic formulas. Therefore, BALD can be practically applied in algebra courses. By interviewing the seven teachers, this study had the following conclusions: The function of the BALD can help (1) to construct the concept of algebra; (2) can help blind students communicate with sighted math teacher; (3) can help one-on-one guidance, such as individual guidance by a math teacher after class; (4) can assist adventitious by blind students to learn algebra with BALD when the braille skills were not yet mastered; (5) can help the blind students to understand the correspondence between the upper and lower alignment or the left and right alignment in the algebraic formula; and (6) can help blind students to understand algebraic formula, form psychological images and form memories. One more point was discovered during the research: Mathematical braille forms can not help blind students develop memory search capabilities. However, this BALD can help blind students to create mathematical images, which helped them to understand formulas and form memories. Finally, we also stated some research limitations, and presented some suggestions for future studies.
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