The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills has defined 9 skills needed for work, learning and everyday living. Numeracy is named as one of the skills required that provides the foundation for learning all other skills. According to the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills,
- Numeracy refers to the individuals’ use of numbers and their being required to think in quantitative terms.
Students are required to use numbers in everyday life as well as in various school subjects including Math, Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology. While some students may have difficulty with reading and writing numbers and aligning numbers in order to do calculations, others may have difficulties with performing calculations and comprehending word problems. In the following section, you will find various high and low technology that can be used to support numeracy in and outside the classroom.
High technology to support numeracy
- Will allow you to read aloud math documents that have been converted into a Math Daisy format
Electronic Math Worksheets or Word Processor
- Assists with organizing, aligning, and working through a math problems on a computer screen
- They can be used with a speech output technology that will read aloud the material
- Allow you to input via touch screen, handwriting recognition or a mouse
- Will allow you to scan in math material into your computer. This type of software will recognize many symbols and technical notations in math expressions.
- The scanned in material can then be used with speech output technology to read aloud the text and math parts of the document.
- On-screen calculators are available for free and are built into your computer system.
- Some computer based calculators can be downloaded or are included as part of software will feature speech output – i.e., read aloud each number, symbol or operation key a user presses as well as vocalizes the answer
- Auditory feedback can help check accuracy of keys pressed and verify answers before transferring it to paper
- Math documents can be read using a refreshable Braille display when the document is coded appropriately (i.e., made accessible for Math to be read in Braille).
- Will provide speech output for math equations
Tactile image enhancer
- Allows you to feel the information conveyed in graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, etc. by touch
- Images are printed on a special paper and run through a thermal enhancer that causes the paper to raise the areas where the ink is located, thus creating a raised form of the image on the paper.
- Allows user who cannot use manipulatives (due to physical limitations) to learn math concepts with the use the computer
- Some virtual manipulatives provide or allow for auditory feedback, allow for using of a switch and/or alternative keyboards.
Low technology to support numeracy
|Barriers to Numeracy
|Low Tech Solution
|Difficulty lining up numbers
Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) is a Canadian organization focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. OLES provide expertise, project funding, and a wide range of learning tools and other resources.
Ontario Ministry of Education – provides information and resources for parents and teachers that will support students’ reading, writing and math skills.
Ottawa Network for Education created videos for students who are interested in learning about or starting to use technologies for reading, writing and other school work. To learn more about technology to support reading, visit Ottawa Network for Education to watch a video titled ‘AT for Math & Science’
Tech Matrix – provides information and resources on assistive technology and software used by students and teachers
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired – provides resources on Math, including information on Math technology, adaptive tools and technology for accessible Math.