Accessible Math

Making math accessible means providing multiple ways for students to interact with math content, including equations, graphs, and other notation. Below are some of resources developed by the DIAGRAM Center to address issues in accessible math. We continue to focus on math as a core area for development and will add new tools and resources as they become available.

 

Mathshare

Currently, online math editors allow students to submit answers but don’t give any means for students to show their work. This makes it difficult to track students’ actual understanding of the problems, and can lead to frustration and decreased student confidence in their overall math abilities. In response to community feedback urging for better, more accessible tools for editing digital math, the DIAGRAM Center, with the help of Dr. Neil Soiffer, began developing an accessible math editor that makes it easier for students to do math online. This math editor, called Mathshare, is an open-source learning tool that students can use to show their work in an accessible format. Mathshare focuses on working step-by-step through math equations and is designed to be inclusive of all students, including those who have learning disabilities, motor difficulties, and those who are blind or have low vision. It is currently in alpha stage and undergoing extensive pilot testing with students of all learning types. If you are interested in taking it for a test spin you can visit the Mathshare website and give it a go. As always, if you try it out, we would love your feedback. Comments can be sent to info@diagramcenter.org.  

 

Through a partnership with MathJax and others in the math community, and with the support of Microsoft, DIAGRAM has developed an open source conversion tool that creates both images and alternative descriptions of math equations to help publishing houses and authoring platform providers quickly and easily create math content that is accessible to all readers.
 

 

Math Support Finder (MSF)

Math Support Finder (MSF) is an online tool that helps you identify the right combination of technologies needed to read math accessibly. Simply select your favorite tool(s) and access mode(s), then let MSF show you the unique combination of technologies required to read math using braille, audio, or however you prefer. At the CSUN 2016 conference, DIAGRAM staff member Sue-Ann Ma and DIAGRAM community members Sina Bahram, Joshua Hori, Neil Soiffer and Volker Sorge presented on the Math Support Finder tool. You can download their PowerPoint slides here. Math Support Finder is currently in BETA. We invite you to give it a try as well as share your feedback and additional requests. We are also interested in chatting with partners interested in developing more accessible math reading tools or individual looking to help grow our database of supported setups. Contact us to get involved!

 

Web-Accessible Virtual Electronic Scratchpad (WAVES)

-Developed by gh, LLC under a grant from the DIAGRAM Center

The original WAVES software is a small Windows application that provides accessible math input and output for blind and visually impaired users. The Web Accessible Virtual Electronic Scratchpad offers a streamlined interface for quick selection of mathematical symbols, voice output for math expressions, and flawless MathML conversion to and from user-inputted math. In early 2014, gh completed work on a major upgrade to WAVES, called JSWAVES (for JavaScript WAVES). The new JSWAVES update consists of almost entirely new code, duplicating most functions of WAVES, but in a form that doesn’t require anything to be installed on the user’s computer. Instead, JSWAVES can be run in a web browser directly from a website, so any computer with an Internet connection can have access to the tool.”

 

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Accessible Math for Ebooks Using MathML Cloud

July 15, 2015 Presented by: Sanders Kleinfeld, O’Reilly Media and Sue-Ann Ma, Benetech

Tools for Creating Accessible Math

July 18, 2013 Presented by: Geoff Freed, WGBH NCAM; Bryan Gould, WGBH NCAM; Steve Noble, Bridge Multimedia

Digital Accessible Math Images

July 17, 2012 Presented by: Bryan Gould, NCAM

  • Download the Digital Accessible Math Images PowerPoint slide deck.

Ideas that work.The DIAGRAM Center is a Benetech initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Cooperative Agreement #H327B100001). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.

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