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Anyone Use Math ML?

I've recently decided to enter college and am looking for tools to help. In particular I'm looking for ways to do mathematics. I've heard of a computer markup language called Math ML which is supposed to mesh well with screen readers. Can anyone confirm this and hopefully direct me to a site where I can get training? I've considered nemeth code but my Braille literacy isn't what it should be and I've heard you need to be very proficient to use it.

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Re: Anyone Use Math ML?

Hello Tara,

Wow, that is a wealth of information. Thank you so much. This will be incredibly useful. It sounds as though I'll be revisiting Braille classes in any case, however, as I don't possess any useful vision. Some light perception, some small color identification, but nothing to bragg about. I'll definitely be taking a close at several of these.

Thanks again,


Re: Anyone Use Math ML?


I'm legtally blind and taken several math classes when in college so here's some info that will help you.

For non tech savvy explanation of MathML for you : MathML is used by both sighted and blind. HTML is used to create wegb pages, but it is not capable of creating math characters that easily. Thus, MathML was invented to fill in the gap. For example, a math professor, who has beginner to intermediate technology skills, could easily upload all of her math assignments to her course web site for all students to view.

Blind people must download MathPlayer software from Design Science so that a screen reader can read aloud equations in MathML correctly. This link leads to the download link and examples of how equations are spoken aloud.

Some blind people find mathplayer frustrating to use for reading equations that are found in college level math courses. For example, this is how the quadratic equation is read using mathml and jaws version 13:
x equals fraction minus b plus minus square root of B squared minus 4 aC end root over 2 a end fraction

Even if you do not like it, there's no loss since Mathplayer is free.
FYI: Currently, mathplayer is the only software produced by design science that a screen reader can use; the others are for sighted people creating math materials for a blind student so your math professor may be interested in using those.

If you do decide to use braille, MathML works with Duxbury and Tiger braille translation software and printers.

Your main access issues will deal with reading print material and finding ways to finish your assignments and tests in a print format the prof can read.

Using MathML will not solve all your access issues so here's some solutions that allow a blind person to access college math.

If you have any remaining vision, even if it's around say 20/1200, you may be able to use a CCTV for distance viewing of the blackboard/overhead and close-up viewing for textbooks. You just have to pick the right model and use certain magnification and contrast settings.

TI Interactive software from Texas instrument can be used by people with really low vision, and it has a calculator and can be used to do her assignments. It has ways to create all the specialized math characters using the keyboard so the mouse is not needed. It is partially accessible using JAWS. I used it with a JAWS Magic combination for some of my college math courses.

You can use Excel with screen reader as both a calculator and also as a method of doing assignments since you can cut/paste all the formulas used to answer an equation into Microsoft Word so the professor can see all the steps that were used to come up with the solution.

Texas Instrument does have one talking scientific calculator for sale. I think it's TI 34, will check for her if you're interested. It can do all the operations you will use in her courses, trig, statistics, fractions, etc.

Math Window can be used for doing short assignments/quizzes or as a teaching tool used by your professor. It's 1 inch squares containing math symbols and numbers that stick to a magnetic display board. The squares come in large print or large print/braille combination. So if you have 10 problems on a quiz, all of them can be displayed on the board at once for your prof to grade.

For learning about and creating graphs, (line, circles, parabolas) you can use a raised line drawing board or the graphing board sold by American Printing House APH,

You can scan print math textbooks using the OCR called Infty Reader. After it's scanned, you can read the electronic document using a screen reader along with a program called Chatty. (Both programs are distributed by the same company)

Other resources:
The AccessWorld article I wrote about stem
It gives web sites for texas school, virtual pencil, ti interactive, math window, graphing calculators with speech

Do-It article from University of Washington
How Can I Create Math And Science Documents that are accessible to ?Students with Visual Impairments

Feel free to write again if you have other questions.
Tara Annis
American Foundation for the Blind employee

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