Hello. My name is Dan Brown. I'm a Senior Quality Assurance Specialist with the Accessibility for Assessment team at Pearson. Today, I'm going to demonstrate Pearson's Accessible Equation Editor.
So, at this point I'm going to enter number sign 1 on the braille display, and so in braille, I can see the Nemeth number sign followed by a number 1 and on screen you're able to see that in print as well as in braille.
So if I could get little bit more complicated here, I do a plus and then a 3, typing all of this in Nemeth. I then type in an equal sign and of course 1 + 3 is 4. Okay, so as I get a little bit more complex here, I'm going to type an open root sign and now, as you can see in braille, what happens is I have the beginning of the root expression, which is dots 1-2-6, and then in braille I have a full-cell indicator and there's a cursor blinking underneath that full-cell indicator in braille, then there's your regular radical sign dots 3-4-5, another full-cell indicator and your closed root symbol, dots 1-2-4-5-6.
So, what is happening here is that when I type the 1-2-6, the general root symbol, the equation editor then pops up the context for the root expression, and now as I continue typing I'll press a 3 ... now the 3 is inside of the open root symbol in the radical. Now I'm going to continue brailling as normal, I don't have to use arrow keys or any special navigation. I'm just going to type the radical sign, which is dots 3-4-5, and then we'll type an 8 in between that, and then to close this expression, I will type dots 1-2-4-5-6.
Now what has happened in braille here, I don't believe it's reflected on the screen, but in braille I
now have dot 8 underneath that entire expression, so there's a dot 8 under the general root sign, under the 3, under the radical sign, under the 8 and then the close radical.
And the reason that we did that is so that there would be a tactile indication for the braille reader, that "Okay, you have closed that expression." And once I continue brailling, I'll do a plus sign and then we'll say like the number 4 here, so that's 2 + 4, and that of course equals 6. The dot 8 goes away after I start typing again, so once I close the expression and move away from it, it's going to revert to normal braille. The dot 8 is only used for that closed expression indication.
So we'll clear that, and now we'll do a couple of fractions here, so I'll do my open fraction sign. Just as with the root symbols, I now have the fraction context: you're open fraction symbol, 1-4-5-6, a full-cell indicator, I'll type a 1 there, and then, a dots 3-4, that will transition me to my denominator, and then I can type a 2, so I now have 1/2, and then I'll do my close symbol dots 3-4-5-6.
Now what happens here, is that dots 8 once again select the entire expression to let me know, "Okay, you've actually closed that fraction." Now I'll do a plus, and we'll do another open fraction so I have my fraction context pop up again, 1 over 3, and then “close fraction.” So now we have, 1/2 + 1/3rd. Now, because I've closed the 1/3rd expression, that dot 8 has appeared again, but only under the 1/3rd to let me know, "Okay, you've closed the 1/3rd fraction. I already know I closed 1/2. So, I'm going to do "equals" and what is that, 5/6ths, I believe. So, we can close that.
Alright, except I made a bit of a mistake, so let me back up. In braille, I am able to immediately tell when I've made a mistake in a particular expression, so I'm able to clear it out just by backspacing, I can go all the way back here if I want to, and just clear out continuously from ... so now I'm back to my 1/2 + 1/3rd and then I can type my equal sign and so on and so forth.
Alright, the other thing that we wanted to make sure of in the Accessible Equation Editor was that users had a way to discover Nemeth symbols, because in our first user studies that we did last year in 2015, we actually found that a lot of students, even though they were very competent with their math concepts, were not as familiar with Nemeth Braille.
And so what we decided was that we would make the palettes for the education editor accessible, not only with braille, but also with speech. If I press the tab key on my keyboard, I can hear “plus sign.” So in Braille, I'm seeing the words “plus sign”, a full cell indicator, and then the actual plus sign in braille. So if I tab again. I see the minus sign, times sign, and so on and so forth.
So as I move across, I'm going to see each expression defined in words and then for the actual Nemeth symbol. And if I press “enter”, then that symbol actually appears in the equation editor, so now in braille, what I see is a full-cell indicator, a division sign, and then a close-cell indicator.
So what I could actually do --- let me clear that out--- and as I am tabbing forward, let me move to the fraction.[screen reader talking] So there's a fraction, if I press “enter” there, I'm now actually able to fill in that fraction. So I could type in 2/4ths, there we go. And we know that two fourths equals one half.
Alright? So I'm able to enter information in from the palettes, just as I am from the braille display. I'm able not only to enter it in, but also to interact with it once it's there. But even more than that, as I said, it gives a blind student the discoverability to be able to find out what a Nemeth symbol is.
Let's say that I want to type 50%, but I don't know what the percent sign is. So here, as I move into my palettes, they call this the “quick bar”, that's at the very beginning, it has plus, minus, and so forth. I'm going to move down my palette list. I'm now in my numbers palette and so my speech tells me that numbers is expanded. I'm going to keep moving down, [screen reader talking] there's my Constants tab. It's expanded. I have constants like pi, etcetera. I'm going to do one more, shift-right arrow, opens up palettes, and now I'm in Symbols so I can move across, [screen reader talking]. There's my percent sign! So I'm going to hit “enter” over my percent sign and then, as I move back to my equation entry area, I'm able to see, “50%," and it's filled in. So that's a brief explanation of our Accessible Equation Editor.
We do have a web page that explains the Equation Editor that you've seen demonstrated, in pretty uh strong detail. There's obviously a home page that will allow you to enter into the Equation Editor, and then there's an instructions page that will tell you some conventions that we've used with various screen readers and a screen reader settings page that will explain some of the special settings that you need in order to do that.
So, if you'd like to look at the website, go ahead and go to this address. It's accessibility.pearson.com/mathex-app/ will take you to that page.