[Athen] Math Text-to-speech Accessibility

steve.noble at louisville.edu steve.noble at louisville.edu
Fri Jul 10 12:13:35 PDT 2015

We have conducted two different research studies with groups of middle school students with learning disabilities in which they used XHTML+MathML documents created with MathType. The students used IE+MathPlayer with TextHelp Read&Write Gold, and the results were very good from an accessibility standpoint. We wrote up a case study, if you are running low on summer reading material:

There are many more options available now for reading accessible math, such as VoiceOver, and there has been developments at reading math directly in Word documents (though RWG does not yet do this, it can be done with NVDA, Window-Eyes and Central Access Reader). Creating the accessible math equations remains to be time-consuming, but one good trend is that publishers and universities are quickly adopting MathJax for rendering equations in online materials, so the ability to find content in the wild that includes accessible equations is getting better all the time.

--Steve Noble
steve.noble at louisville.edu

From: athen-list [athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] on behalf of Nazely Kurkjian [kurkjian at binghamton.edu]
Sent: Friday, July 10, 2015 10:50 AM
To: DSSHE-L at listserv.buffalo.edu; athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] Math Text-to-speech Accessibility

Dear math wizard colleagues ~

What is the best way - text-to-speech wise - to accommodate a student with a learning disability (not visually impaired, non-screen reader user) for a math course/course with equations? I know we could provide alternate format text descriptions for math formula images, but I'm exploring other ways to create and/or deliver this alternate format.

Some things I've heard of or explored include: MathPlayer, Central Access Reader, Chatty Infty, VoiceOver with plain MathML page in Safari...

In your experiences, has one of the above worked better than others, or is easier to create, or use? What are your students happy using?

How do I acquire formats in MathML or LaTeX? Is that something I have to create/convert, or do some publishers send this type of file? Several math professors at our university have kindly sent me LaTeX files for books they authored themselves.

I'm used to creating STEM Braille textbooks (using MS Word, MathType, Duxbury, Tiger), not text-to-speech formats, so this is newer territory for me. We also have a Kurzweil site license, and I believe Kurzweil can read MathML, so this may also be an option.

Also, what have you done to accommodate students whose professors are using MyMathLab-like e-learning platforms?

Many thanks in advance for your wisdom,

Nazely Kurkjian

"Shame on us... If we let the wonders of educational technology and broadband internet lead to more inequality as opposed to less"

Adaptive Technology Specialist
Services for Students with Disabilities - UU 119
Binghamton University
Phone: 607-777-2686
Email: kurkjian at binghamton.edu<mailto:kurkjian at binghamton.edu>
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