I Need to Create a Keyboard

Oct 04, 2017

I have a student in an advance mathematics class who has very limited mobility and cannot speak. He is using an assistive device to type out each letter (with one finger) of every word that he needs to say, e.g. "the square root of seven is". It is taking him two to three time as long to complete his tests as it does other students.

I would like to create a palette of common mathematical expressions that he could use to go through the test a little bit faster. I know how to create buttons with the symbols. I don't know how to make his choice of  images line up to make an equation. I think I need to create a place holder for each image that he might choose.

Any ideas on how I might achieve this are appreciated.

19 Replies
Rose Jenkins

The first page shows an idea of what it might look like. The window scrolling window with lines of his work (and the ability to print) are part of my dream. The list of symbols and expressions could go on. It would be helpful if a specific value could be substituted for the variable. Maybe that could be achieved via a few input boxes for theta, alpha and beta.

The second page is just two short examples of what I need him to be able to express.

Michael Anderson

Rose, I've attached a project file to demo what I have so far. This is still full of bugs, so expect some strange behavior from some of the buttons. I found a calculator that resembled your mock-up and this one can certainly be modified to change or add buttons to it. This is just something for you to play with, so don't expect too much yet. The project may take a while to publish because of the relatively large web object that is included to render the equation. I would welcome any feedback you have at this point.

Rose Jenkins

Thanks, Michael. This looks good. I would include more of the squared functions since typing is labor intensive for the student. When I published the file, I could see the hotspots over the keys, but they didn't display in the window.Would I need a certain version of java for this to work? I'm hoping that the student can use an iPad for this.


Michael Anderson

Yes, I only created a few new buttons to begin with, for testing. I'll use your mock-up and create new ones over top of the buttons that are not needed. Hmm, that's strange. Were any of the numbers working? All of the testing I've done so far was in the HTML5 output on the desktop, but I will also test this on the ipad.

Michael Anderson

I can't take credit for any of that. I just included a free javascript library called MathJax into the project, it does all the work of creating the equation. All I did was have Storyline feed it a string created from the pressing of the calculator buttons. I didn't have any time to work on this today, but I should be able to get back to it tomorrow.

For any javascript gurus out there, I actually wanted to use a library called MathQuill which I think gave a much nicer presentation of the equation, but I couldn't figure out how to get it to work with Storyline. I'll look at that again soon though.


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