Digital Math Tools for Visually Impaired

There are numerous tactile math compasses and other tools teachers can purchase such as this one from American Printing House for the Blind, but what about blended and flipped classrooms? Technology-enhanced lessons? With so many classes integrating technology in the classroom, we need to find digital options when possible for our visually impaired students.

I’ll never forget my first student with visual impairment. He was in high school and had suddenly started going blind over a six month period.  While he did have some vision remaining, it was a huge adjustment in a super short time frame. We are very fortunate to live within 40 minutes from the Louisiana Center for the Blind. This was a vital resource for my student and he even had the option to live on campus after graduating and focus not only on dependent living but also his desired career in game design.

We were able to use a variety of resources in my class for him to work on coding, but I often thought about other classes, such as, what if he were in my math course? My courses were set up as a blended learning environment. How would he complete online or technology-enhanced lessons requiring a compass, ruler, etc?  Selection of such tools would be determined on a case by case bases according to each student’s ability. Even if you currently don’t have any visually impaired student, you never know when you might OR when someone may ask you for resources.

Promethean has two awesome options, ActivInspire and ClassFlow.  If you aren’t familiar with these, you can think of ActivInspire as Powerpoint on steroids for teachers and ClassFlow as the new gen version which has online and offline components. Both have various tools including the following digital math tools:  compass, protractor, ruler, set square, calculator and more. You have the ability to enlarge these tools for ease of viewing.  Think about it! Import a worksheet, picture, etc and now you can use a digital math tool to complete the assignment.


Do you already have pre-created content? ActivInspire makes it easy to use what you have. Just simply open ActivInspire and select desktop annotate. Your ActivInspire program will seem to “disappear” and you are left with your toolbar. Imagine saran wrap now being on your display and you can use ALL your ActivInspire tools with existing PowerPoints, websites, Google Slides, and more!

Additionally, you can import a variety of files such as pdf directly into ActivInspire. Students can then construct angles using the digital compass. Classflow has this same capability.

For visually impaired students, you will first want to test with their current screen modifications such as magnification. For many this is enough to complete the task given using the digital math tools. If more adjustments need to be made, the tools themselves can be enlarged in ActivInspire and in Classflow you can use the zoom feature located on the top right of the screen inside of the lesson.

Do you have any favorite resources to use with visually impaired students? Stay tune for more edtech tools to aid the visually impaired.