Structure Editing of Handwritten Mathematics


Teaching effectively requires a clear presentation of the material being taught and interaction with the students. Studies have shown that Tablet PCs provide a good technological support for teaching. The aim of the work presented in this thesis is to design a structure editor of handwritten mathematics that explores the facilities provided by Tablet PCs. The editor is made available in the form of a class library that can be used to extend existing tools. The central feature of the library is the definition of structure for handwritten mathematical expressions which allows syntactic manipulation of expressions. This makes it possible to accurately select, copy and apply algebraic rules, while avoiding the introduction of errors. To facilitate structured manipulation, gestures are used to apply manipulation rules and animations that demonstrate the use of these rules are introduced. Also, some experimental features that can improve the user’s experience and the usability of the library are presented. Furthermore, it is described how to integrate the library into existing tools. In particular, Classroom Presenter, a system developed to create interactive presentations using a Tablet PC, is extended and used to demonstrate how the library’s features can be used in some teaching scenarios. Although there are limitations in the current system, tests performed with teachers and students indicate that it can help to improve the experience of teaching and learning mathematics, particularly calculational mathematics.

PhD Thesis, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham
Alexandra Mendes
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on innovative user interfaces for formal methods and mathematical approaches to software quality. More recently, I started work on usable security, in particular on the impact of formal verification on the use and adoption of formally verified security software product. Much of my most recent work overlaps with the area of software engineering. I am also interested on innovative and fun ways to teach Computer Science. For more details, see selected publications and some of my projects. Follow me on Twitter or add me on LinkedIn.