Using Mathpix and NaviLens to create accessible math flashcards

Introduction

Students with print disabilities, due to blindness, low vision, learning disabilities or physical disabilities, can greatly benefit from accessible math flashcards and tutorials. Mathpix greatly reduces the amount of work required to create these by capturing text and math from a variety of sources. Additional tools can then convert what Mathpix OCRs to print and braille. NaviLens tags can be added to make flashcards speak in many languages and optionally link to accessible audio/video tutorials including sign language video tutorials.

Try it - Accessible Mathpix flashcards for you to experience using NaviLens

Image of the front and back of a large print flashcard with NaviLens codes. If you display this on a computer screen then you can scan the NaviLens codes to experience NaviLens speaking the math on the front and back of the flashcard. Image of braille with Nemeth flashcard with NaviLens codes. If you display this on a computer screen then you can scan the NaviLens codes to experience NaviLens speaking the math on the front and back of the flashcard.
Use the free NaviLens app to scan the colorful tags to experience talking math flashcards. The tags on the back of the cards also link to an accessible video tutorial.

Workflow overview

  1. Use Mathpix to OCR text and math.
  2. Paste into a Microsoft Word document.
  3. Use MathType to convert LaTeX to MathType equations.
  4. Create any size print flashcards.
  5. Use braille software to translate text and MathType/LaTeX equations to braille and emboss flashcards.
  6. Add NaviLens tags to flashcards to speak math and link to audio, video, and/or sign language tutorials.

Example 1: Math problem from Mathispower4u.com

Image of YouTube video from the Math is power 4 u channel - Set of solved problems related to simplifying exponential expressions.

Detailed steps:

  1. Capture math using the Mathpix Snipping tool. I used it twice to take the 2 snips below:
Image of MathPix snip showing the original problem which was y to the 3rd power times y to the 4th power Image of MathPix snip showing the solution to the above problem: y to the 3rd power times y to the 4th power equals y to the power 3 plus 4 equals y to the 7th power.
  1. Paste the Snips into a Microsoft Word document.
  2. Use Wiris MathType to convert the Snipped Latex to MathType using the "Toggle TeX" feature.
  3. Copy the math into a flashcard template and edit it as needed.
  4. Save the flashcard.

Steps to make a large print version of the flashcard:

  1. Enlarge all text to the desired font size.
  2. Enlarge math in MathType equations to match the font size of text by either:
    a. Opening each MathType equation, selecting all math, and pressing Ctrl+> (Mac: Command+> Ctrl + >) multiple times to enlarge to desired size. b. Formatting all equations as a group. See video:
    MathType Tutorial: Formatting All Equations by Maria Andersen)
  3. Save and print large print flashcard. Suggestion: Add "- LP" to the end of the file name to help identify it as a large print flashcard.

Steps to make braille version (UEB + Nemeth or UEB + UEB Math)

  1. Run braille software - Duxbury DBT, ViewPlus Tiger Software Suite or APH BrailleBlaster.
  2. Translate text and math to braille (UEB + Nemeth, UEB + UEB math, etc).
  3. Save and emboss the braille flashcard.
Critical: Ask a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and/or a braille transcriber with Nemeth (or UEB math) experience to proofread flashcards you create to insure the braille and math braille is correct! Then have students try the cards and give you feedback. Most likely it will be positive because they will appreciate having accessible flashcards that you created for them!

NaviLens!

NaviLens technology and tags were originally designed to enable people who are blind and visually impaired to independently use transit to get to work or school. NaviLens can now also be found in museums and on packaging. Visit navilens.com, my NaviLens LiveBinder, or my NaviLens Blog for more information.
For accessible flashcards
  1. For Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) students NaviLens tags can speak the problem and answer and also link to an audio/video solution to the problem.
  2. NaviLens tags can also seamlessly link to sign language videos which are accessed using the NaviLens GO app. You can experience several ASL math flashcards here: Sign Language (ASL) Examples – NaviLens GO

A more accessible future?!

Imagine the huge difference that a large set of accessible flashcards, study guides, and tutorials could make for students with print disabilities helping these students succeed in math and science classes and pursue STEM careers!

Thanks!

Huge thanks to the MathPix team for developing such an incredibly powerful tool!
Thank you also to:
  1. April, my sister, for all of her encouragement and excellent work creating accessible materials for students!
  2. James Sousa, Mathispower4u.com, for giving me permission to use problems from his excellent math tutorials and link to them as well. Many of his 5,000+ videos are very accessible to BVI students.
  3. John and Dan Gardner of ViewPlus Technologies for their encouragement and great tools. On another day I'll share how to use Tiger Software Suite to create accessible study guides that include braille and tactile graphics and share them using ViewPlus embossers which excel at tactile graphics, braille, and ink.
  4. My students and colleagues at the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired for their encouragement, testing of accessible flashcards and study materials, and work on adding to the free NaviLens School Kit.
  5. Javier Pita, Founder and CEO of NaviLens, and Nuria Fructuoso, Marketing Manager of NaviLens, for creating NaviLens and for supporting my idea of using NaviLens tags to create accessible flashcards by loaning me many NaviLens tags.
Please feel free to contact the author, Tim Fahlberg, at tim.fahlberg@gmail.com, to learn more about methods, ask for template files, etc.

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