Ph.D. Thesis Proposal: Benjamin Davison

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  • Date/Time:
    • Friday June 29, 2012 - Saturday June 30, 2012
      10:00 am - 11:59 am
  • Location: TSRB 222
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Benjamin K. Davison


Summary Sentence: Understanding how visually impaired students demonstrate graph literacy with accessible auditory graphs

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PhD Thesis Proposal Announcement

Title: Understanding how visually impaired students demonstrate graph literacy with accessible auditory graphs

Benjamin K. Davison
School of Interactive Computing
College of Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology

Date: Friday, June 29, 2009
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
Location: TSRB 222


  • Dr. Bruce Walker (Advisor, Schools of Psychology and Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Dr. John Stasko (School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Dr. W. Keith Edwards (School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Dr. Richard Catrambone (School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Dr. Tony Stockman (School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University London)

Coordinate graphs and number lines are an important part of mathematics education, compromising about 20% of the U.S. Common Core Standards. While visual graphs can be inaccessible to visually impaired students, tactile graphics have provided an accessible alternative format over the past 200 years. However, with the increasing importance of the computer medium in class and on tests, many blind students are now excluded from the technologies used by their sighted peers, and potentially in future careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Auditory graphs provide an inexpensive, accessible alternative. The use of auditory graphs for trend analysis has been established over the past 30 years. However, point estimation is particularly difficult. In Phase 1 of this research program, a series of four psychophysics studies demonstrated an interactive auditory number line that enables blind, low vision, and sighted people to find small targets with a laptop, headphones, and a mouse or keyboard. These studies also explored the effects of the auditory design, and ultimately lay the groundwork for accessible point estimation in one and two dimensions.

In Phase 2 I present SQUARE, a novel method for building accessible alternatives to existing education technologies. Seventeen graphing standards from Common Core grade 6 were identified, then graphing questions related to the standards were generated. Mathematics teachers familiar with teaching visually impaired students completed a task analysis of answering the graphing questions, resulting in a list of necessary steps. These standards, questions, and steps show that most of sixth grade graph literacy is about point estimation. Combining the SQUARE results with the Phase 1 design guidelines resulted in a system, called GNIE. I propose to complete the SQUARE method by having these teachers evaluate whether GNIE allows students answer graphing questions in the same manner as other approaches.

In addition, I propose a third phase, with three parts. First, I will evaluate whether braille-literate blind people equal or excel in test scores using GNIE compared to tactile graphics. Second, I will evaluate whether low vision and sighted people will have equal test scores when using GNIE compared to visual graphs. Third, I will evaluate GNIE in class environments, comparing it to contemporary methods in terms of functionality, efficiency, and teacher preparation of materials.

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College of Computing, School of Interactive Computing

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  • Created By: Jupiter
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jun 21, 2012 - 6:08am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 9:59pm