[Athen] math equations for the visually impaired
skeegan at stanford.edu
Tue Mar 19 17:06:55 PDT 2013
> We currently have a full time staff person writing out all equations in narrative form,
> so that they can be read by the DAISY reader. Has anyone come up with a solution
> (software?) for this issue? If so, what has the student experience been using the software?
Complex math equations are a bit problematic in how TTS systems render the equation in a manner that is meaningful to the student. We had a situation recently in which a graduate student wanted the equation to be read in one way if it was in-line with the text of the document, but read in a different way if it was part of a larger equation on the page.
The best we have been able to develop from a software solution model is to create the equation in MathType as part of a MS Word document. From this, we can create a full-text/full-audio DAISY book that speaks the math equations based on the MathDAISY rendering. Unfortunately, this may not be what the student prefers to hear as the math verbosity does not always match how students/faculty communicate the math expressions. Most of the students decide they would rather not listen to the math part and just focus on the text part of the document.
If you want to go down the path of MathDAISY, you need to have documents authored using MathType + MS Word as DOCX. You can then use the Save-As-DAISY plugin with MathDAISY (from Design Science) installed to convert to the DAISY book. For simple equations (algebra, some calculus), this process has worked okay. It's when you get to the really complex math that the overly verbose nature of the TTS can be distracting to reading the math equations.
You could also try submitting the MathType + MS Word DOCX file to the Sensus Access tool (http://sensusaccess.com/) as this will also create a full-text/full-audio DAISY book with TTS math support. No need to install the MathDAISY tool or Save-As-DAISY plug-in.
Associate Director, Assistive Technology
Office of Accessible Education - Stanford University
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