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Valley Academyof Arts & Sciences

Mr. Mike Cheverie » LaTeX and MathML - Mathematical Documents and Webpages for Braille Readers

LaTeX and MathML - Mathematical Documents and Webpages for Braille Readers

LaTeX, pronounced LAH-TEK or LAY-TEK, is a typesetting application that is widely used by publishers, and in colleges and universities worldwide. A LaTeX user can produce documents containing beautiful mathematics formulas and equations, the kind you would see in a mathematics textbook.
MathML is a "mark-up language" that can be used to display mathematical expressions on the internet. MathML is to mathematical expressions posted to the internet what HTML is for text expressions posted to the internet. Prior to the use of MathML, mathematics expressions posted to the internet were actually photographs of expressions produced in some other format. The problem for blind readers trying to access webpages containing mathematical expressions using a screenreader is that the screenreader was unable to "read" the photograph. Such a photograph was also inaccessible to a blind reader using a device with a refreshable Braille display for the same reason.
The reason why I, a teacher of Braille readers, am so excited about using LaTeX and MathML is that it can easily be converted into mathematical Braille, with the push of a button. Using a couple of inexpensive apps available in the Google Play and Apple App Stores, a teacher can easily convert hand-written mathematics expressions into LaTeX and MathML. These converted mathematics expressions (in LaTeX and MathML) can then be emailed to me at [email protected] for conversion into Braille. Regarding how to post mathematics to the internet so that Braille readers using a screenreader or a refreshable Braille device can hear and "see" them, I will be adding a detailed page and uploading a PowerPoint on how to do this later.
Here are some links that will be helpful: