Virtual Pencil Algebra and Virtual Pencil Arithmetic are two computer software programs that provide interactive access to math for students for whom using a traditional pencil is a problem. This might include someone who is blind or visually impaired, motor impaired, or learning disabled. A pencil plays a key part in learning math and other equation-solving disciplines. Typically a student uses a pencil to “work through” a math problem, writing down the intermediate answers and using them to get the final answer. But if a student cannot operate a pencil then the student cannot write down the intermediate answers. This makes it very difficult to use those intermediate answers in acquiring the final answer, and does not leave anything on the paper to show that the student actually worked through the problem and knew how to solve it.
Virtual Pencil is not a tutorial. It is a tool that can be used to interactively solve a math problem. The software does the job of the pencil. It moves to the right spot on the “paper,” guided by the user, and inputs the answers that the user selects. It can edit numbers and variables, insert fractions or square roots or other structures, and copy whole equations or expressions. When used with a screen reader, the numbers and actions are read outloud. The user must navigate the screen and provide the input.
Virtual Pencil Arithmetic handles addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, with fractions and decimals; Virtual Pencil Algebra handles quantities, radicals, exponents, subscripts, Greek letters, absolute values, matrices, fractions, and many editing features.
For more information about Virtual Pencil go to www.hentermath.com