Today’s slides, 5th JEM meeting
Here are the slides of the presentation I gave together with Dònal Fitzpatrick this morning, at the 5th JEM meeting in Paris (2008-11-27):
Abstract: The study of Mathematics has always been particularly difficult for blind individuals. Indeed we can observe that a large majority of blind pupils do not succeed in maths studies, while the average mainstream pupil succeeds more easily. As maths is crucial in most science disciplines, this limits study options and future job opportunities for blind people. We assert that there is no reason that mathematical semantics can not be understood because of blindness; rather the biggest barrier is access to mathematical content, which can only be through speech or Braille.
During the last 2 decades a number of research projects have proposed partial solutions to this problem: projects focusing on access to mathematical literature and preparation of mathematical information, as well as projects trying to improve the presentation of content to the reader.
Today, we need new software tools that support the work of blind users, facilitating their understanding and helping them to carry out calculations, while facilitating inclusion in the mainstream environment. Indeed more and more such pupils attend mainstream schools, so it is important that these tools are usable with teachers who are not particularly familiar with Braille.