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Teaching fractions to elementary school students has its challenges no doubt; however, even elementary fractions can be even more challenging for learning impaired students. These children must be able to lip read in a standard class, or they must have hearing aids to help them hear and understand the teachers. Teachers love to circle the classroom and look and comment on children's work, but if a hearing impaired student does not have a hearing aid or has one that is turned down really low, the child will not be able to hear the teacher's comments to other students, if they are faced with their back towards the teacher and group of students he or she is addressing. So much of the classroom experience is lost.
Different studies have been conducted to evaluate if math and elementary fractions software are beneficial for hearing impaired pupils. One study selected 2,000 hearing impaired students from the 2nd to the 6th grade in four states and the Washington, D.C. area, to test the effectiveness of elementary school math software. The software program provided individual instruction, where children worked at a faster pace in the areas they did well in, and the programs provided drills for problem areas such as elementary fractions. The study reported that hearing-impaired students reached the gains of regular students with the use of elementary school math, including decimals and elementary fractions. Children benefited from the use of math software in even short sessions of six to ten minutes a day.
Other research has shown that hearing impaired students will make the same mistakes as regular students in grasping the concepts of math and elementary fractions, but they will improve just as regular students do with math software programs.
The findings are exciting for teachers, who have hearing impaired children within their regular classrooms. These children can be fully integrated without having to attend special programs. Children often feel embarrassed about attending special classes or special schools and now they can be apart of the regular system without a whole lot of special attention. Teachers can have their regular students use the computer software as well. They too will improve their grades and their understanding of math, and elementary fractions, Fractions are so much more difficult than working with whole numbers, now there is hope for a regular student and hearing impaired student as well.