Activity
# Digital Math Summary Page

## Resources for accessible digital math: How to create digital assignments, how to complete assignments with a screen reader, lessons, and more!

- Digital math in today’s classroom
- General
- Teaching strategies
- Creating accessible digital math content
- Creating math expressions: Markup languages
- Creating math expressions: Math Editors
- Braille notetaker
- Multiline braille display
- Reading digital math expressions
- Under development
- Graphs and Charts
- Graphing calculator
- Misc. digital math
- Low vision
- Share your math tools!

Today’s students are accessing educational materials online or in a digital format. COVID school closures have sped up the process of transitioning to digital classrooms; states/districts have fully embraced digital classrooms or are working to incorporate technology into every classroom – **including math courses**. After all, the goal of education is to prepare students for careers and today’s work force relies heavily on technology.

The College Board is also changing with the times and is moving from traditional paper-and-pencil to computer-based testing. According to the College Board, “Students are now doing more of their learning and testing digitally, and the SAT shouldn’t be the exception.”

What does this re-alignment to digital math mean for TSVIs and BLV students? In the past, K-12 students received textbooks, assignments, and tests in braille. Currently, many K-12 students still receive all their *math* materials in paper braille, and they complete these assignments using paper braille. Other students are successfully completing assignments and tests in a digital format – after learning math concepts tactually. Many students prefer pairing a braille display with their device; this enables the student to hear the math equations read aloud while using their fingers to read the refreshable braille along with using the braille display to input math expressions. The goal is to move to access and complete assignments and tests in digital formats.

One of the biggest challenges for BLV college freshman is accessing and completing math courses, as universities typically do not provide paper braille resources. College students often must learn digital math tools while re-training their brains to make the switch from paper braille to digital formats. . . without the support of a TSVI. College math courses are challenging and move quickly! **As always, students should be using the same tools to access and complete assignments in K-12 that they will be using in college and careers. This means that students should be learning to access and complete digital math assignments in K-12 math courses.**

It is important to remember that braille displays currently are one line, meaning that the **digital math equations can only be viewed as horizontal equations.** When using paper braille, students can create, access and complete math problems in horizontal or vertical formats.

While this post, Digital Math Summary, concentrates on digital math tools geared for older students, it is important to understand that young students should be introduced to digital math concepts and tools (**paired with tactile materials**) early on! The posts in the General section below focus on *transitioning *to digital math. The Math apps and activities summary page for students K-3^{rd} grade offer a full range of math apps and activities; below are a few of these math transition posts to help jump start your journey into digital math!

- Moving forward with accessible digital math: Part 1
- Moving forward with accessible digital math: Part 2
- Digital transition #2: Math grid activities
- Digital transitions #4: Bar charts (Fall leaf activity)
- Introducing accessible digital grid and table (includes student videos using tactile materials transitioning to digital materials)
- Teaching positions in a table: iOS activity

Consider how teaching strategies impact student learning. 21st Century students should be actively engaged in learning. By nature, significant time with 1:1 pulled out instruction may unintentionally support learned helplessness and dependence. Gone are the days of students sitting in class listening to lectures and regurgitating information to complete assignments. Teaching methods have evolved and current teaching methods are designed to develop the 4 C’s of education: Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. The increase access to the internet with online resources, YouTube video tutorials and virtual classes support and encourage the 4 C’s methodology.

- Flip the classroom: Tech activities (includes details about 4 C’s)

Unfortunately, most digital and online math resources are not accessible. The age-old question, “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” applies to accessible digital math. Textbook publishers hesitate to add new math tools to online math assessments because students are not efficient with digital math. However, students cannot become efficient without having access to new math tools.

There are tools currently available that most TSVIs are not aware of and/or have not used yet. **Can educators create digital math assignments with math expressions and can students complete these assignments in digital format? **You bet! There are several types of options for creating accessible digital math expressions. Markup languages are the most robust and have been around for a while; this is the preferred method for BLV professionals in STEM fields. Math editors are newer and easier to use, but may not have the full list of features required for high level STEM courses or careers. **Are these available math tools compatible with screen readers and braille displays?** YES, screen readers and braille displays are can read and interact with math content created with both markup languages and math editors.

For decades, college students and professionals with visual impairments have been using math markup languages to access and create digital math expressions. MathML and LaTeX are two popular math languages. Using markup languages is a robust way to access higher math and STEM materials; however, there is a learning curve with these math languages, as they require additional symbols to be added to the math expression. Most TSVIs are not familiar with markup languages and few K-12 students are learning these markup languages prior to entering college.

LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation. It is available as a free software. (First released in 1984.)

MathML is a mathematical markup language, an application of XML for describing mathematical notations. It aims at integrating mathematical formulae into World Wide Web pages and other documents. (First released in 1998.)

MathJax is a cross-browser JavaScript library that displays mathematical notation **in web browsers**, using MathML, LaTeX and ASCIIMathML markup. It is an open-source software. (First released in 2010.)

More recent options are math editors, which use editable text boxes to type in the math expression which is then automatically translated – no extra symbols are required, simply enter the math equation like normal using a QWERTY keyboard or braille input using a braille display. Microsoft Word has a robust, built-in math editor; this is a *mainstream* tool that is also fully accessible that is being used by classroom teachers to create educational worksheets. JAWS released the Braille Math Editor feature and Pearson is working on the Accessible Equation Editor. These two math editors are new and are currently under active development and/or being fine tuned.

Microsoft Word has a built-in math editor (sometimes called Equation Editor); the feature is found in Word’s ribbon. The accessible math editor is used to insert mathematical expressions into a Word document. Mathematical expressions in a Word document are fully accessible with a screen reader and/or a screen reader paired with a braille display. (First released in 2007?)

Note: A TSVI shared that the Microsoft math editor is excellent for educators to create accessible worksheets (without using JAWS) and for students who use a braille display to input answers. However, the onscreen keyboard is not currently accessible with JAWS; a braille display must be used.

- Accessible Math Editor: Word (Microsoft Word’s built-in math editor; includes demonstration on how to read the math expressions)
- Making Math more accessible: Monarch’s Word process (math equations)

MathType is a software application created by Design Science that allows the creation of mathematical notation for inclusion in desktop and web applications. (First released in 1987.)

- MathType, JAWS, and BrailleNote Touch (video tutorials; includes tutorials of MathType and JAWS – without the BrailleNote Touch)
- Creating digital math worksheets that can be accessed on Windows computers post (MathType an equation editor)
- Producing Nemeth Code through MathType, Word and Duxbury

EquatiO is software from Texthelp that helps people create accessible digital math without complex coding or math languages to learn.

The Braille Math Editor is a new math editor feature in JAWS by Freedom Scientific designed to insert mathematical expressions into a Word document. (Released 2021)

- Braille Math Editor: JAWS and Fusion
- Braille Math Editor: Student video tutorial post (Feature in JAWS; currently Nemeth code only)

Accessible Equation Editor is a program used in a number of Pearson products that enables users to create math expressions within a web page. (Prototype is currently available.)

- Recruiting for Accessible Equation Editor user study post (Pearson’s math editor that supports Nemeth code; post has a link to try the Accessible Equation Editor)

Some braille notetakers such as the BrailleNote Touch, BrailleNote Touch Plus, and Braille Sense Polaris have built-in software that enables math output and input.

- Graphing with the Monarch and Desmos
- Making Math more accessible: Monarch’s Word process (math equations)

- How to read math expressions with a screen reader on a Windows computer (Using MathPlayer)
- JAWS 2021 math support update (Includes JAWS commands to read math expressions)
- How to read math expressions with a screen reader on an iOS device

Automated Translation Team (AMT): AMT is working on developing software that will automatically translate printed mathematics text into Nemeth Braille. The goal is to provide Braille textbooks in a timely manner and at lower costs to universities.

SAS Graphics Accelerator is a free Chrome extension that enables blind and low vision users to access digital charts, graphs and maps. There are numerous posts on SAS Graphics Accelerator; see SAS Graphics Accelerator Summary Page for a full list of posts. Two posts in particular are beneficial for all digital graphing:

- Sonification: Sounds with meaning activity (Provides audio examples of different types of graphs and explains what is heard.)
- Charts and graphs skills review (Each type of chart is defined, the layout of each chart is described, and instructions on how to read each chart; includes files to emboss the sample charts and nonvisual digital versions of each chart are available.

- All about Excel spreadsheets
- Creating charts and graphs using Microsoft Excel (video tutorial)
- Creating labels in Excel graphs (video tutorial)
- Excel geometry: Insert shapes and label graphs (video tutorial)
- Graphing for blind students tutorial (video tutorial with Excel, Desmos and Sheets)
- Graphing with Microsoft Excel and JAWS (student video tutorial)
- Histogram Excel using keyboard commands (video tutorial)
- Quadratic trend-line with scatter plot graph including equation (video tutorial)

- Creating an accessible bar chart in the Pages app: iOS 11 (accessible bar charts were released in iOS 11 and continue to be accessible now)
- Digital transitions #4: Bar charts (Fall leaf activity) (Tactile bar charts and accessible digital bar iOS charts in the Pages app; includes step-by-step instructions and video tutorial)

- Adapting accessible charts: Math problems and low vision
- Equatio and Google Docs tutorial
- Graphing with the Monarch and Desmos
- Highcharts: Accessible, interactive charts and graphs
- How to create accessible map charts for low vision
- How to create accessible pie charts for low vision
- Making math more accessible: Monarch’s word process (math equations)
- Making sense of math with audio graphs (SenseMath app)
- Picture Smart AI for JAWS: Making charts and graphs accessible!

Desmos is both a scientific calculator and an advanced graphing calculator implemented as a web application and a mobile application. It is fully accessible with a screen reader and braille display, or simply convert your keyboard to a six key Braille input. Desmos is an embedded tool or is allowed to be used on College Board assessments, NWEA Map Growth test and many state assessments and is backed by Pearson.

- Accessible, interactive math with Desmos (
**recorded free webinar, TSBVI Coffee Hour**) - Create embosser ready graphs directly from Desmos
- Desmos audio tracing: Introducing sonified graphs (recording of student lesson)
- Desmos: Create a scatter plot graph with JAWS (Video tutorial and includes 4 C’s teaching strategies)
- Exploring math with Desmos: Getting started
- Graphing for blind students tutorial (Video tutorial demonstrating Excel, Desmos and Sheets to master accessible graphing)
- Graphing with the Monarch and Desmos
- Test-approved graphing calculator app (Desmos)
- Understanding Desmos: Sonification lessons
- Using Desmos Calculator with Sara Larkin (
**recorded free tutorial webinar, Project INSPIRE Happy Hour**) - Valentine’s Day Word Problems and Desmos Scientific Calculator

There is another math summary page; this page lists all of the Paths to Technology posts dedicated to math-related apps and activities for young students. See Math apps and activities summary post for students K-3rd grade. Below are additional misc. digital math posts.

- ALEKS Accessibility for visual impairment (ALEKs is an online tutoring and assessment program related to math, chemistry, statistics and business)

- Algebra by Hand: A Web-based tool
- Calculus anyone?
- Google Docs table activity: Warm/cold-blooded animals
- Tech standards: Navigating a table using JAWS
- Tips and strategies to make statistics and probability accessible

- Adapting accessible charts: Math problems and low vision
- Adapting coordinate planes: Math problems and low vision
- Adapting digital math equations: Math problems and low vision
- Adapting math symbols: math problems and low vision
- ALEKS accessibility for visual impairment (ALEKs is an online tutoring and assessment program related to math, chemistry, statistics and business)
- Five accessible calculator apps for low vision
- Free math websites for low vision
- How I show work for math with low vision and dysgraphia
- How to create an accessible equation formula sheet (high tech and no tech)
- How to create accessible map charts for low vision
- How to create accessible pie charts for low vision
- How the Connect 12 can help students with math
- Math test accommodations for low vision
- No-tech solutions for drawing graphs with low vision and dysgraphia

BlindMath listserv is a wonderful, in-depth resource for students, BLV professionals and educators. This listserv is a place to ask questions, share knowledge and frequently hosts virtual discussions and trainings. [email protected]

Accessible digital math is rapidly evolving! I’m excited at the new and/or updated options that have been developed in the last couple of years. Please help us keep up-to-date on accessible digital math tools by sharing what tools YOUR students are using and their strategies for success! Contact us: [email protected]

By Diane Brauner,

This post is updated regularly; originally posted 2/24/23.

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