Making Math Accessible

For the past year I’ve had the pleasure of participating in a SUNY working group focused on math accessibility. This is a thorny issue, with lots of variables (pun intended).

Two of my colleagues from this group recently presented at the SUNY CPD’s OTTER Institute. This hour-long presentation packed in many details and options for how to layer accessibility considerations into your current practices for sharing math content with students.

Sharing quantitative information in digital formats presents many unique challenges for accessibility.

Unfortunately there’s no one “right way” to ensure that the equations you practice with your students will be accessible to all, but luckily there are a few steps that can make the entire process easier for you.

The big takeaway?

There are 2 ways to write accessible math:

  1. Programmatically, using MathML tools such as the Equation Editor in MS Word
  2. Adding alt text to the image of the math, such as combining handwriting with a tool like EquatIO

Either way will allow assistive technology, including screen readers, a way to convey the math to users.

The field of accessibility is constantly evolving. While math accessibility remains complex, tools to help us in these efforts are getting better all the time. Consider borrowing from and adding to this SUNY-wide resource document, Resources for Accessible Math.

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