Project Overview

In 2012, the AnimalWatch Vi Suite project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (R324A12006).  The Co-PIs for the project were Dr. Carole R. Beal and Dr. Jane N. Erin, both at The University of Arizona when the project was funded.  Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum served as the Project Director.

The purpose of the project was to make the AnimalWatch computer based tutoring system accessible to students with visual impairments.  AnimalWatch builds students’ math word problem solving skills through the use of authentic environmental science data about endangered and invasive species. When the project team received funding in 2012, iPads were still in their beginning stages in education. The project team consulted with experts in the field and surveyed TVIs, and determined that developing an accessible iPad app that could be used by students with low vision and blindness would be beneficial.

The content of the AnimalWatch Vi Suite is aligned with the Common Core State Standards grade 6. Students solve 6 math word problems in each unit; two of the math problems in each unit use graphics (e.g., bar graphs, maps).

The following publications describe the project team’s findings:

Beal, C. R. & Rosenblum, L. P. (in press). Evaluation of an app for math word problem solving by students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.

Beal, C. R. & Rosenblum, L. P. (2015). Development of a math-learning app for students with visual impairments. Journal on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, 1-9.

Beal, C. R. & Rosenblum, L. P. (2015). Use of an accessible iPad app and supplemental graphics to build mathematics skills: feasibility study results.  Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 109(5), 383-394.

Photo of Dr. L Penny Rosenblum

Shown on the left, Dr. Carole R. Beal and the right, Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum.