[Blindmath] Accessibility for being a blind math instructor

John Gardner john.gardner at viewplus.com
Fri Jul 17 15:17:00 UTC 2015

Lloyd is right David, I am writing to tell you about the LEANMath editor.  It was originally put into beta test a couple of years ago, but I decided it had to be re-written.  (I do not claim to be a competent software person, and the old version was poorly designed) The new version is finished and is being readied for another and hopefully final beta test.  LEAN will be given free to blind individuals. The current version requires a reasonably modern version of MS Word and the MathType math editor. LEAN is essentially an accessible interface to MathType.  A conference paper on LEAN can be found at:

LEAN can be used to read math in MS Word, but there are now several other good ways to read math in Word.  The only other way a blind person can author math in Word is to input Latex equations to MathType.  This is possible, but Latex is pretty verbose and clumsy.  Not many people could have the patience to do algebra homework this way.  LEAN was designed to do algebra homework as well as just write math.  If you or anybody else on this list wants to be a beta tester, just write me.  Anybody who is already on my beta list will soon be getting a letter from me asking if they wish to participate in the new round. There is a tutorial for LEAN, and it also  has a great deal of help documentation accessible inside the editor. I hope these materials will make the learning curve easy to climb. Although LEAN is powerful enough to compose anything that MathML permits, I believe it should also be fairly easy to learn and use.

I mentioned that there are ways to read math in MS Word+MathType.  You can get a 30 day free trial version of MathType from www.dessci.com and try it yourself on some of the sample equations at that site.  You will need to install the free Design Science MathPlayer application and use the most recent version of either NVDA or Window-eyes.  NVDA is free and works extremely well in my opinion. MathPlayer allows one to read MathType equations and to browse them but not write math. LEAN solves that problem. 

.  From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Rasmussen, Lloyd via Blindmath
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2015 6:33 AM
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Cc: Rasmussen, Lloyd
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Accessibility for being a blind math instructor

You have a lot of catching up to do, but I think it is doable. I have read some of your recent messages on the Eyes-Free listserv.
As part of the catch-up process, you should look at the organized archives of this listserv (only through 2011 so far) at
which was prepared by Dr. Al Maneki. From there you will find links to many projects that live on in cyberspace, so that you can learn the LaTeX language, find out about MathML and how it is used on the web and inside Microsoft Word using tools from Design Sciences. Sooner or later Dr. John Gardner will write back about the Lean Math editor, which I think is near completion (or you can probably find references to it in the archives of this listserv from earlier this year).
Google is your friend, also; a lot of information is on the web.
Sooner or later you are going to need to deal with your state rehabilitation agency. It is best, when writing your individualized plan for employment, that you are as knowledgeable as possible about what would work for you. The rehab counsellors won't know too much about these things; it's up to you to educate them.

Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20542   202-707-0535
The preceding opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress, NLS.

-----Original Message-----
From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of David Moore via Blindmath
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 6:40 PM
To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
Cc: David Moore
Subject: [Blindmath] Accessibility for being a blind math instructor

Hi All.
My name is David Moore from Columbus, Ohio.  I received my masters degree at Ohio State in mathematics education  I also received a BS in mathematics.  Now, I do some tutoring.  I tutor sighted college students one on one in Calculus and other higher concepts.  With one on one tutoring, I have the student read the problem to me and I tell him or her exactly what to right down as I do the problem in my head.
I can explain in words all math concepts that fit students' learning needs.  My one on one students say I explain the concepts in a way that helps them understand what they could not for years.  I learned math by listening to tapes and by reading my texts with the Optacon.
I know what all the symbols look like in print, because of the Optacon.  This leads to the help I would grately appreciate from all of you.
I want to teach a classroom full of sighted students at the high school or small community level.  This has always been my dream.
First of all, How do I type out my math lectures so the content will look to the students as though I wrote it on a board?  I use JAWS and Openbook.  That technology, however, can't help me write or read math texts.  Next, How do I get JAWS to read the math content that I am typing into an editor so I can edit what I am typing just like in a word document?  Next, How do I read math texts that the college or high school would use so I can prepare my lessons from the texts?  I want to be able to read the math material, write out a lecture that I would present to the students, and have a way to grade there work that they input.  I really need help from an experienced blind mathematics teacher who teaches the sighted.  I am a very slow Braille reader and know little Nemoth code.  I do all computations in my head and picture all graphs in my head because I once felt them with the optacon.  The problem is, I have no more optacon.  Rehab took it back years ago, and I have never looked into 
 getting another one in years.  I have just done a little bit of this one on one tutoring where I just tell the student what to right down and explain all in words as long as they need me to.  I didn't know how this technique would work in front of an entire class with nothing for the sighted students to look at.  In an Interview, I don't know how it would go if I said that I would just stand in front of the class and tell them what to write down with no representation for them to look at.  Also, I heard that much math is done on graphing calculators compared to when I was in school in the 1980s.  How would I access graphing calculators that students would use to do their homework on?  With my few one on one students, I just show them how the graphs look with my finger while they play around with their calculators to get something that looks like what I am drawing with my finger.  When I try writing print on paper or board, it goes all over the place.  I can picture the print in my h
 ead, but I have trouble writing it in any kind of straight line.  I would so much appreciate any help or suggestions you have for me to obtain that teaching job at a high school or small community college and how I could do all that is needed with assistive technology.  Thank you so much in advance.

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