Making Math Accessible
Imagine sitting in your high school or college math class. The teacher asks you to work on some equations and you open your textbook to the assigned page. You read the problems’ introductory text and get ready to work. The only problem is… the equations aren’t there!
Access to math continues to be a shared problem for the educational community. Content creators do not have any easy way to create or include accessible math equations in digital content delivered across a wide range of technologies. And most reading tools cannot render math equations from formats like MathML (Mathematical Markup Language) in an accessible way. As a result, many students with print disabilities are left behind with incomplete educational materials that prevent them from studying and learning critical math concepts.
MathML Cloud is a new tool that will help content creators and technology developers deliver accessible math. Through a partnership with Microsoft and others in the math technology community, Benetech’s Global Literacy team is developing a conversion tool that creates both images and alternative descriptions of math equations on the fly. Here’s how it works:
1. A publisher or other content creator submits MathML code to the MathMLCloud API, using a MathMLCloud integrated product.
2. The MathML is converted to an SVG image; the API returns HTML/ SVG code and the image.
3. The returned image and code can be inserted into digital content and viewed with readers like a Kindle and Nook or web browsers like Internet Explorer.
4. Students can click to the MathML Cloud website to see the original MathML or to provide feedback on the image description.
Below you can watch the slide deck of our presentation of MathML Cloud at the February 2014 EDUPUB2 Workshop on Digital Publishing for Education:
Benetech is looking for feedback on both the current and future development of MathML Cloud. If you are a content creator, technology developer, LMS or CMS solution, or someone who is interested in accessible math, please sign up using the form below to receive product announcements regarding beta testing and general availability.