Dorine in't Veld

Dorine in ‘t Veld, Product manager at Dedicon Educational

Dedicon Math Notation

- Is a Braille Code indispensable?

Tactile support is indispensable for doing math, certainly on a more advanced level. But is a Braille Code indispensable?

In the Netherlands students hardly ever read math from printed braille. The math notation they use for reading and writing, is not a braille code, but a kind of (standardized) ‘calculator-language’. It was established in 2009 by a group of teachers for the VI for use in primary and secondary education. That same year Dedicon produced math books with this notation, that only uses keys that are on the qwerty keyboard and can be used in Notepad, Word, Markdown or any other editor. It´s also easy to read for sighted class mates and teachers.

Many specialists would think a braille code for math is needed to do more advanced braille, but our experiences challenge that opinion. We see an increasing number of students doing math on higher level. This is very positive, since math is compulsory for computer science and related studies that are popular amongst braille students.

When asked, students say they don’t want Dedicon to work on a Braille code for math, but expand and further improve the notation instead. E.g. some descriptions are rather long, not all academic math notation is covered.

For automated production through MathML, which will make it possible to implement the notation into many math programs some rules must be stricter, e.g. for the use of parentheses or spaces. The notation allows internationalization and has the potential to become a valuable addition to or alternative for a math braille code in many situations.


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