MICOLE - Multimodal collaboration environment for inclusion of visually impaired children
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The MICOLE project is aimed at developing a system that supports collaboration, data exploration, communication and creativity of visually impaired and sighted children. In addition to the immediate value as an assistive tool the system will have societal implications through improved inclusion of the visually disabled in education, work, and society in general. While the main activity is the construction of the system, several other supporting activities are needed; the most important being empirical research of collaborative and cross-modal haptic interfaces for blind and visually impaired children.
Our contribution to MICOLE, which we do together with the University of Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, is dedicated to supporting access to Mathematics for blind pupils and students: Through the design of a so-called Mathematical Working Environment – MAWEN -, we try to support the target group in their dramatic problems they encounter when navigating in a mathematical expression, or when doing a mathematical calculation. Collaboration at school, typically between a blind pupil and a sighted teacher, shall be supported by implementing synchronization functionality: A formula edited by a blind pupil will be simultaneously displayed in a visually attractive manner, and vice versa. Spots in a formula pointed at by either the blind or the sighted partner will be highlighted such that they are identifiable by the respective different partner as well.