Calculating Change for Accessibility

This year marks 30 years since a major milestone in our nation’s history — the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Texas Instruments (TI) is honored to join the education community in celebrating this landmark legislation that has impacted the lives of countless students with disabilities in the U.S. through improved access and opportunities.

At TI, we are especially proud of the work we have done to support low-vision and blind students but believe we can and should do more, particularly when it comes to providing all students with the same access to a high-quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. We are anxious to continue our conversations with the education community to better understand and address ways to improve opportunities for students with disabilities.

In recent years, TI partnered with Orbit Research and the American Printing House for the Blind to create two talking calculators, the Orion TI-84 Plus talking graphing calculator and the Orion TI-30XS MultiView™ talking scientific calculator. These calculators, which have the same functionality as the popular TI-84 Plus and TI-30XS MultiView™ calculators, enable students with visual impairments to learn math and science without relying on sight.

The talking calculators, which have been well-received by students and teachers, provide unprecedented access to math and science in middle school, high school, college and beyond. What students say they appreciate most about the talking calculators is that it’s easier to collaborate with their teachers and classmates, and it gives them added confidence to be successful in class.

Today, as more schools, districts and states shift from administering paper and pencil assessments to digital exams, TI has adapted ExamCalc™ software for the TI-30XS MultiView™ scientific calculator and TI-84 Plus graphing calculator, our digital calculator emulator, to include accessibility functions and features aligned to ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements. For example, students with vision impairments can now access screen reader functionality through the same online assessment platform their sighted peers use. Additionally, TI is currently developing a refreshable Braille display option for ExamCalc™ software and will continue to develop solutions that support students that have challenges using a standard emulator.

At the end of the day, our primary focus at TI is ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality STEM education that prepares them for whatever post-high school opportunities they choose to pursue. We know there are populations of students with non-traditional needs who need help reaching their academic goals, and we hope to engage with these communities to listen and grow as an organization. We are committed to ensuring equitable outcomes for all student groups and are excited to continue learning, developing and adapting our technology to increase access and opportunities for all.

Texas Instruments supports our K12 Toolkit Tuesdays initiative.

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