What is The Logan Project?
The Logan Project is a research effort that was established by Auburn University at Montgomery in 2015. The aim of the project is the development of unique methods of math instruction and assessment for students with visual or print disabilities. Initial funding for preliminary work from 2015 – 2017 was awarded to The Logan Project through the AUM Ida Belle Young Special Projects fund.
As our work expanded, we built relationships with others who were passionate about math education and accessibility and a collaboration with Education Researchers from Rice University was established. In July 2017 the National Science Foundation awarded funding to both AUM and Rice University for the proposal titled: Collaborative Research: Solving Problems of Mathematics Accessibility with Process-Driven Math.
From 2017 – 2019, the focus of our work is to expand the reach of Process-Driven Math and further build the body of evidence that it is an effective method of instruction and assessment for all learners, especially learners with visual and print disabilities. Education and accessibility specialists from Auburn University, Bridge Multimedia, and Eye on Access will join us in our effort to improve the tools for success in mathematics that are available to students with disabilities. Ultimately, our goal is the creation of software with a Universal Design for Learning that will allow students who are blind or have low vision, as well as other diverse learners, to learn together with their sighted peers in an inclusive educational setting.
Who is Logan?
Logan is a highly intelligent, motivated, optimistic AUM psychology student. As a young teen, Logan had a reaction during a medical procedure that resulted in almost complete blindness, significant mobility deficits, and a voice that cannot exceed a whisper. Despite those setbacks, Logan lives life full throttle...sky diving, white water rafting, hunting, and participating in the creation of audio methods for math instruction to help other students like himself.
How did all this start?
We began developing a completely audio method of math instruction when Logan started his Intermediate Algebra class in the Spring of 2015. We focused on developing a methodology that would allow Logan to fully drive the intellectual processes involved in simplifying and solving algebraic expressions and equations. Our approach had to be unique because Logan's limited mobility will not allow him to use Nemeth Code, the math equivalent of Braille.
What motivates us?
From the beginning, we have been committed to the idea that the individual with the disability is the best qualified person to state whether or not a particular methodology or technology is helpful. Logan is an integral part of our research team and his input is essential every step of the way. His work ethic and determination inspire us all to reach the goals of The Logan Project.
Where have we been?
The Logan Project gave an invited presentation at the National Science Foundation in 2016 and presented at the international CSUN Assistive Technology conference in 2017. These opportunities arose because we had developed a unique method of math instruction and assessment while partnering with committed, hard-working students with visual and print disabilities. These students are our heroes and we are so grateful to them for their persistence and insight. Working with students from the perspective of a User Centered Design, we learn from the valuable contributions that each student makes to our understanding of how to reduce barriers to mathematics education.
What is in the future for The Logan Project?
We believe the future is bright for The Logan Project. Through the strength of collaboration, and with the encouragement of many supporters, we will pursue the development of software with a Universal Design for Learning that will improve math education for students who are blind or low vision. In doing so, we hope to give access to STEM careers to many who are currently waiting behind closed doors.
We have begun adapting Process-Driven Math for use by sighted learners. Some of the techniques we use in the fully audio method for students who are blind have an analogous visual representation that may be helpful for sighted learners, especially those with print disabilities like dyslexia and dyscalculia. In addition, students with low vision might be well served by a combination of both the visual and audio representations of Process-Driven Math. As we seek to learn more about the efficacy of these tools for students with visual and print disabilities, we will investigate the possibility that the Process-Driven Math method might be helpful in reducing barriers to mathematics for all learners in mainstream classroom settings.
Publications from The Logan Project
Logan’s use of mobile technology for both academics and the research of The Logan Project is described in a recently published book chapter that Logan co-authored with other members of The Logan Project.
Pérez, L., Gulley, A., and Prickett, L. (2017). Improving access to higher education with UDL and switch access technology: A case study. In M. Mills & D. Wake (Eds.), Empowering learners with mobile open-access learning initiatives (pp. 13-30). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
The Process-Driven Math method is described in an article written by Logan and other members of The Logan Project. The article will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Gulley, A.P., Smith, L.A., Price, J.A., Prickett, L.C., Ragland, M.F. (2017). Process-Driven Math: An auditory method of mathematics instruction and assessment for students who are blind or visually impaired. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 111(5), 446-471.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers 1726869 and 1726254. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.