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UEB Online driving STEM careers for high school braille users

NextSense has launched an extension to its accessible online braille training series, UEB Mathematics—set to benefit people who are blind or have low vision.
Accessible advanced mathematics in braille
  • Vision

Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) has launched its latest innovation, an extension to its accessible online braille training series, UEB Mathematics — set to benefit people who are blind or have low vision for generations to come.

Launched at the virtual South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment (SPEVI) Conference, UEB Mathematics is an extension of the mathematics innovation RIDBC shared in 2019, and comes after RIDBC’s UEB Online received global recognition at The Zero Project Awards at the United Nations in 2020.

UEB is the Unified English Braille code for literacy and technical information in English speaking countries.

Helping secondary students excel in mathematics

Dr Frances Gentle, the lecturer at RIDBC Renwick Centre who spearheaded the UEB Online development team, says the latest release enables teachers and parents to better support secondary students who use braille.

“This means one less barrier for students who are blind or have low vision to engage in maths right through their schooling and beyond and what’s more, it’s free,” Dr Gentle says. “Knowledge of mathematics is essential for pursuing higher education study, or a career, in the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The latest release is good news for education leaders, maths teachers and alternative format producers who create the braille versions of maths textbooks. It’s also a resource for education departments and institutions who set external exams, as well as parents of braille users supporting their children.

Dr Gentle says the UEB Mathematics training courses are all about enabling equal access to STEM subjects for braille users.

"Up until now students who rely on braille to access information are often discouraged from completing maths subjects during secondary school. This may simply be because their teachers don’t know the braille code.

Now more students will have the opportunity to explore the world of STEM. It’s an exciting development for the vision sector which we’re proud to announce today,” she says.

RIDBC’s UEB Online continues to break new ground

Director of RIDBC Renwick Centre Professor Greg Leigh says the online, accessible UEB training programs are world-leading, “Over 20,000 people in 197 countries have enrolled in the existing online UEB literary and mathematics training courses since they began in 2013.”

“This latest innovation is just one of the ways RIDBC is breaking down barriers and leading the way. RIDBC Renwick Centre continues to innovate, break new ground and inform the sector to enable generations of children and adults who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision to achieve the best possible outcomes in life,” Professor Leigh says.

How does UEB Mathematics work?

The training program includes sequential lessons that can be completed by people at their own pace – all that is needed is a computer and internet connection. All UEB training programs are fully accessible for people who use large print or screen readers. A refreshable braille display, in addition to a screen reader, can be used to complete the lessons.

Accessing the free UEB Online programs

To find out more about the free online training programs, including how it works, and to register, visit the UEB Online website.

This news article was created prior to 10 February 2021 when NextSense was Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).

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