April 15, 2015: Texas Instruments has received a 2015 Access Award from the American Federation for the Blind (AFB) for developing the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator that enables students with visual impairments to learn maths and science without relying on sight. Presented annually, the Access Awards honour individuals, corporations and organisations that eliminate or substantially reduce inequities faced by individuals with vision loss. TI accepted the award along with partners at Orbit Research and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
“The Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator has changed my life,” said Lillie Pennington, a junior at Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. “The calculator has definitely made me think more positively about maths and has increased my confidence.” Pennington, who is legally blind, is one of more than 2,200 students nationwide who are excelling in advanced maths and science courses because of the talking graphing calculator.
The Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator consists of a compact accessory that attaches to the top of the popular TI-84 Plus graphing calculator. Visually-impaired students can interact with the calculator using speech, audio and vibration feedback.
“We applaud TI for its efforts to open the world of science, technology, engineering and maths to students with visual impairments,” said Paul Schroeder, AFB’s vice president of programs and policy. “By partnering with vision loss experts to add accessibility to the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator, TI has demonstrated the kind of leadership and commitment that we hope other technology companies will follow.”
TI continues to collaborate with Orbit Research and APH on accessibility features for other TI educational technology products. “For TI, this is about breaking down educational barriers and levelling the playing field for students with disabilities,” said Peter Balyta, Ph.D., president of TI Education Technology division. “The world’s first talking graphing is just the beginning; we’re excited about what our partnership holds for future innovations.”