[Athen] Fwd: Recent posts from "Making Math Accessible"
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Wed May 9 09:05:09 PDT 2012
>>> Making Math Accessible <accessiblemath at dessci.com> 5/9/2012 5:06 AM
Making Math Accessible
White house event: STEM Equality For Americans With Disabilities
Posted: 08 May 2012 04:34 PM PDT
Steve Noble, Accessibility Research Consultant (Guest Writer)
It was a distinct privilege to be among the hundred-plus people in the
audience yesterday as the White House recognized fourteen people for
contributions toward advancing access to Science, Technology,
and Mathematics (STEM) for people with disabilities. The event,
of Change: STEM Equality For Americans With Disabilities was the latest
the *Champions of Change* series which recognizes leaders in
across the county and brings them to the White House *to share their
to win the future.*
According to Kareem Dale, special assistant to President Barack Obama
disability policy, *The leaders we*ve selected as Champions of
proving that when the playing field is level, people with disabilities
excel in STEM, develop new products, create scientific inventions, open
successful businesses and contribute equally to the economic and
educational future of our country.* Mr. Dale, who is blind himself,
out the importance of providing an equal opportunity in the STEM fields
people with disabilities, and that *there*s nothing that we can*t
people with disabilities when given that equal opportunity.*
I was delighted to see friends being honored whom I have known for
some time--like George Kerscher of the DAISY Consortium and Virginia
of AAAS, as well as a number of younger people just starting their
whom I had never met before. It was especially encouraging to see a
of successful graduate students with disabilities who are
themselves in the STEM fields, something which is certainly a testimony
Kareem Dale*s affirmation about the ability of people with
excel when given an equal opportunity.
I thought it would be fitting to add just a few special comments about
individuals recognized at the White House who have a special connection
making math accessible.
George Kerscher serves as Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and
President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). George
I have worked together in the field for over two decades--since his
running what was then called Computerized Books for the Blind. Kareem
introduced George as *a legend in his own right*, and I couldn*t
more. George brought our own Neil Soiffer on board to chair the MathML
DAISY Working Group, for which George was a member and key contributor.
Over the years, George has been instrumental in ensuring that
math is a component of digital document standards, like DAISY and EPUB
During the event, John Boyer mentioned that as a deaf-blind student in
1940s he could not find enough STEM materials in braille to satisfy his
hunger for science, and that this experience led him to work on braille
translation systems which could better handle mathematics. John*s
work on liblouis and his current BrailleBlaster translation technology
examples of open source products which include the capability to
MathML into to various braille math codes. Design Science has been
with John*s work and we*ll be using it as part of MathPlayer 3's
support for refreshable braille displays.
Sina Birham, a blind graduate student at North Carolina State
is an up and coming star and soon will be getting his PhD in computer
science. Sina is working with us on adding math expression navigation
future version of MathPlayer.
Steve Jacobs, President of the IDEAL Group, is someone I have known for
years, having served together as co-presenters on sessions and members
committees. Steve has worked to spread the news about accessible math
his company has worked to produce a number of applications which help
make STEM content more accessible to people with disabilities.
Of course, these are just a few of the Champions honored by the White
House. We would like to enthusiastically congratulate all the
and recognize their accomplishments in the STEM fields. The White House
certainly to be commended for its efforts at drawing attention to this
Steve Noble is a research consultant with a core focus in mathematics
accessibility and assistive technology. Currently he serves on
grant-funded research projects with both the University of Kentucky
Bridge Multimedia, and previously served as Director of Accessibility
Policy for Design Science.
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