While students were taking classes, their parents attended lectures.
On August 23, three lecturers spoke on the theme “People with Visual Disability and Mathematical Education”.
First lecturer was Ms. Yoshiko Toriyama, from University of Tsukuba. She introduced the history of science laboratory classes in the education of students with visual disability. She focused on the importance of leading students to learn on their own strengths and efforts, along with giving them sufficient time to carry out the experiment.
The next speaker, Mr. Akira Takamura from National School for the Blind, University of Tsukuba, gave a lecture on the ability to perceive by touching and good memory retention, as important skills for visually disabled students in studying math. Handouts with tactile graphics were distributed to the participants, and they were told to guess what the two shapes on them were. They answered they were circles, but in fact, they were a decagon and an ellipse. Then the speaker emphasized the difficulty of tactile observation and the importance of enhancing perception by touch.
Lastly, Mr. Masakazu Suzuki discussed his view on the effect of information society on people with visual disability. In every lecture, many participants were taking notes earnestly, and feedback we got from a parent said he/she was doing so in order not to miss any information for his/her child.
The theme of the lectures given on the 24th was “The Newest Technology for Accessibility by Corporations”. There were four speakers from sponsoring companies; KGS, Microsoft, Amedia and Extra, and one from a supporting group SPAN. Three of those speakers were visually disabled, so the lectures were focused on the speaker’s own experiences rather than specific demonstration, being relatively casual.
The theme for the 25th was “Acceptance and Supports for Students with Visual Disability in Higher Education”. Mr. Mamoru Fujiyoshi from the National Center for University Entrance Examinations spoke about the current situation of visually disabled students in taking exams, and considerations for them in the system of entrance examination.
Mr. Teruo Yoshino from International Christian University introduced a story about a student with severe visual disability who was admitted 30 years ago, reporting the present support system for the visual disabled at the university. He added that importance must be given not only to improving the system but also to enhancing personal interactions with them.
Mr. Mikio Yamamoto from Hiroshima University, Mr. Akira Okamoto, Mr. Hideji Nagaoka from Tsukuba University of Technology, and Ms. Mayumi Aoyagi from University of Tsukuba, informed the participants of the support environment at their universities. Some parents said they were impressed to hear about such assistance efforts, and were given hopes and possibility. It seems that the lectures have lessened their worry and offered a broadened view of their children's future.
1. The lecure given by Prof. Akiyoshi Takamura (Mathematics)
2. The lecure given by Prof. Yoshiko Toriyama (Chemistry)