[Blindmath] Issues with electronic math files and screen readers/braille displays

Benjamin Davison davison at gatech.edu
Fri May 11 03:00:41 UTC 2012


Thank you for your questions on accessible tests. Sometimes I learn a 
lot about projects from my peers during these conversations!

I've heard Oregon ran all-electronic tests for their blind students, but 
I understand that the diagrams were just converted text descriptions. 
More about that at 

One of the topics not covered yet is the use of non-speech audio, or 
sonification. The Georgia Tech Sonification Lab has a project on 
accessible graphs using sonification, speech and a regular Macintosh or 
Windows computer. The current research is demonstrating how low vision 
and blind students can read and plot points on a number line or 
coordinate graph. Based on workshops with students this spring, it 
appears that sonification will work for the 17 graphing standards found 
in the 6th grade Common Core Standards for Mathematics. By September, 
the lab will evaluate whether the sonification system is an appropriate 
testing accommodation.

You can find more information, including videos, at 
http://bit.ly/mathgnie . I would very much like your feedback, so please 
sign up or email me if you or other educators are interested in 
participating in research, or have other questions.

I think 2014-2015 is a bellwether school year for accessible electronic 
media in education. Common Core will be rolling out in ~45 states, and 
many schools are trying to go electronic along with the standards 
change. If they cannot, then the consensus will be to stick with 
non-electronic tools. I'm interested in what Lansing and other school 
districts do, and how you're deciding how to move ahead.

Thank you,
- Ben

Benjamin Davison
Human-Centered Computing PhD Student
Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing
Walker Sonification Lab http://sonify.psych.gatech.edu

On 5/10/2012 9:40 AM, Patricia Balassone wrote:
> Thank you all, your feedback contains the kind of information I need to pass along. Although I only know a little about Nemeth and even less about programming, I know enough that I am also skeptical of the possibility for adequate adaptations. Unfortunately, providing a brailled hard copy with all possible answer scenarios for an exam that is answer driven is unrealistic. One of my suggestions, even though it will still be cumbersome, will be to supply tactile copies of all maps, diagrams, and equations for braille readers. Again, thank you for allowing me to tap into your knowledge and experience.
> Patricia Balassone
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