[Athen] Students with Learning Disabilities and Textbooks withMath

Sean J Keegan skeegan at stanford.edu
Thu Feb 7 14:54:21 PST 2013

> On a related note, however, has anyone figured out a method
> for making math accessible on a Mac platform?

Unfortunately, there does not appear to be many options (still). The
one solution that did work - intermittently, mind you - was the PT
Reader plug-in for Firefox. This would allow you to open a DTBook.xml
file in Firefox and would read the MathML content natively. The website
is available at: http://www.cwu.edu/disability-support/pt-reader

What was so cool about this plug-in was that you could change the level
of verbosity specific to math content to communicate more or less
information about the equations. In other words, some students may
prefer a very brief description of an equation whereas other students
may prefer a more verbose description of the equation. The plug-in
handled all the necessary modifications as to how much was to be spoken
to the user.

By this point you may be thinking, "Okay, what's the catch?" and sadly,
you are not mistaken. The tool only supports up to Firefox 13 and does
not always work seamlessly when it comes to navigation within a
document; a minor issue, but very annoying. Additionally, after
upgrading Firefox you would need to uninstall parts of the plug-in and
then reinstall new components if they were even supported.

So, to give a long answer to a short question - yes, there is a tool
that can read MathML content on a Mac, but it is not the most robust
solution and your mileage may vary.

Take care,

Sean Keegan
Associate Director, Assistive Technology
Office of Accessible Education - Stanford University

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