Sunday, 10 February 2013

Creating inclusive mathematics notes using pandoc

For my pcutl portfolio we have recently been considering inclusivity and diversity. One particular issue that has grabbed my attention is distribution of teaching materials. In particular some students (some with Dyslexia for example) find reading plan black on white pdfs difficult. As such they'd rather have notes in a format that they might be able to modify.

As a math teacher there's not much we can do about distributing pdfs made with LaTeX apart from making the LaTeX code itself available.

I looked around a bit and discovered pandoc which is awesome. It allows you to create multiple formats of any particular file. I discussed this with my pcutl group at some point and here's a pic of the main idea we put together:


This works pretty well and I've been using it for a while. In particular it's great for mathematics as pandocs "flavour" of markdown allows for LaTeX.

It started taking me a while to "bash" my way through "pandocing" all my files in any given folder so I wrote a python script that will take all markdown files in a particular directory and spit out html, pdf and docx versions of the file.

Here's a video demoing the script:



The github directory can be found here: https://github.com/drvinceknight/pandocipy

If anyone has any other neat things like pandoc I'd love to hear about them...