Once the production of MathSpeak™ and the module development for the gh PLAYER™ have been created, it is time to begin the testing phase of the project. This will ensure that the product is ready for market by the conclusion of the project, as well as provide a window of opportunity for enhancements to be added.
During the later development stages of the gh PLAYER™ module for MathSpeak™, the software and specification will be tested at small "test apps" in a college-level environment, using non-disabled SMET students from Purdue. A series of semi-formal focus group discussions will be conducted over the course of one month, with the goal to refine the product and repair any bugs that may occur. This feedback will also help guide the technology into a potential spin-off product for mainstream (non-disabled) use.
Semi-formal beta testing will also be done using disabled government employees who are required to utilize math on an everyday basis, to determine if the MathSpeak™ technologies are useful in a professional work environment. If successful, the potential market for the products could further expand into Federal Government Agencies seeking compliance with Section 508 and other recent legislative mandates. The agency of choice is a key customer of gh - the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS employs over 3,000 visually impaired people, many of whom are already using the non-MathSpeak™ DTB's provided by gh for training manuals. A significant limitation of the existing gh products for the IRS is the inability of the DTB specification to account for the various mathematical operations that IRS employees need to both understand and perform. This study will also be conducted in a focus group environment during the late stages of development.
The main testing will be performed at the Indiana School for the Blind using the three math textbooks developed during research. Testing will be more formal, with experimental design provided by the Purdue and Butler team members. gh will travel to ISB and set up a 10-seat computer laboratory pre-loaded with the MathSpeak™ products. Middle-school students will then use the MathSpeak™ textbooks over the course of a semester as a supplemental learning aid for mathematics. Ms. Taylor will incorporate the MathSpeak™ products into the ordinary curriculum for the students, and together with a gh employee and Purdue intern will collect data as to the efficacy of the MathSpeak™ solution.
The success of the project will be measured using standard outcome assessment techniques previously developed by Dr. Lloyd, ISB, and Dr. Maurer. A variety of instruments and data collection techniques will be used to measure both the pedagogical efficacy and the economic cost-effectiveness of the instructional materials. As a result of the evaluation a detailed report on the potential usefulness of this approach to accessible materials will be developed for future wide-scale adoption.