In the past when mathematics was represented online it was done as an image or with special characters that were completely illegible to a screen reader, inadvertently barring anyone relying on this technology from meaningful access. Later, the markup language for displaying mathematics online, MathML, gained popularity, but it was only possible for screen readers to read the mathematics to the user, not to allow for exploration. This is important because if you cannot see the mathematics on the screen, you are forced to keep it all in memory after hearing it, which is not only unfair, but undoable for complex mathematics.
In collaboration with Design Science and Education Testing Service (ETS) and through funding from the Department of Education, this project revolutionized the way mathematics is accessed on the web. PAC worked rigorously on the exploration model in Math Player 4, which allows a screen reader user to explore the different parts of the equation, summarize it, output it in braille, and use a myriad of other features to understand the math. The approach presented in this research and in Math Player 4 has also strongly influenced the math exploration approach taken by the most popular commercial screen reader on Windows.
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