How blind student works
PlatMat STUDENT application for blind students is a multifunctional tool for reading math tasks and solving them using different kind of interfaces: Braille keyboard, QWERTY keyboard, emulated Braille keyboard on QWERTY keyboard, math keyboard accessible from QWERTY keyboard, mathematical shortcuts, Braille display and a touchscreen (tablet, ultrabook, laptop) on which a blind student can semantically read formulas by listening to synthetic Polish speech.
The student uses mathematical content sent to her/him by the teacher, downloaded from the repository on the PlatMat portal or personal resources created using the STUDENT application and saved in a local repository. Mathematical content stored in a repository is described by metadata which may be used to find a math document.
Math content is read by a speech synthesizer working with NVDA screen reader and the student can read the content using refreshable Braille display. The student can read text annotations or listen to voice explanations placed next to the math formulas (teacher’s comments). If the document includes math graphics, the students can learn about it using convex prints (3D print) and may refer to additional explanations (if the teacher has defined them) when they put the print on the screen and press it in designated places. Information (label) describing graphics is read to the user. Student can print math content using both Braille and 3D printer.
The educational process can be conducted in the cooperation with the teacher (classroom, e-tutoring) by means of the COMMUNICATOR tool and EPUB3 file data exchange. Student can also learn independently (individual education, self-training) using EPUB3 educational math resources downloaded from the repository on the PlatMat portal.
Only certain parts of a document prepared by the teacher may be edited by the student (result field, cubarithm task, matching field) – other content elements are disabled. This is done deliberately to avoid the student modifying materials sent by the teacher. The student can solve cubarithm tasks, use a calculator with advanced functionality, write a formula in ASCIIMath notation using QWERTY or in Braiile notation using virtual math keyboard where math symbols are available through the shortcuts.
With the use of shortcuts and touch gestures the student can navigate through the structure of formulas. S/he may read them all or their specific fragments using the formulas navigator and voice reader. The student may also insert a voice comment in the indicated place of the document. Comments are one of the types of multimedia elements in EPUB3 files which are readable in the PlatMat applications as well as the standard EPUB3 reader.
The result of the student’s work can be saved on disk in the local repository or sent back to the teacher (via Internet, WiFi).
The teacher can monitor student’s work progress on a student’s remote desktop. Both the content sent by the teacher and created by the student is visualized there.