Palo Alto, California. – June 17, 2022 –Benitech, a leading software for social good nonprofits, today announced two significant AI initiatives to reduce the gap between STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and employment for people with disabilities and learning and thinking. Programs supported by General Motors (GM) and Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, focus on helping AI to make complex visuals, graphs, and equations readily available to people with dyslexia, science and math educational materials. Damage, and other reading interruptions. This technology will be used to increase the accessibility of STEM learning materials, including learning disabilities, and to improve the accessibility of their own materials to empower other education stakeholders, including teachers, publishers, researchers and students.
“Initially, betting on individuals and organizations to meet the big challenges is one of our key guiding principles,” said Kumar Gorg, vice president of partnership, Schmidt Future. “Mathematical literacy is essential for 21st century STEM education, the foundation for competing for future jobs. Benitech’s vision is to create tools that could provide new avenues for making STEM education accessible, transforming the livelihoods of millions of students. ”
Through its bookshare initiative, Benitech brings two decades of expertise using new technologies to make reading and learning accessible to people with learning disabilities. However, converting STEM learning materials into an accessible format is a significant challenge. The textbook has a complex format, full of charts, graphs and equations that must be converted to a manually accessible format. The average math textbook has over 5,000 equations and it can take three to four months for a person to convert a printed math book into an accessible format that can be read accurately by a screen reader. This is a significant barrier for students, including reading barriers.
“Can you think of trying to learn algebra without any equations or graphs?” Says Ayon Kishore, CEO, Benitech. “By harnessing the power of AI, we are working to level the playing field for students with learning disabilities, so that they can learn and succeed independently in STEM like their peers.”
AI for accessible math and textbooks
With the continued support of GM, Benetech is leveraging the power of neural networks, machine learning, and other AI techniques to automatically convert mathematical instructional materials into a screen reader accessible format. GM’s recent funding will enable Benitech to further develop and test the application in partnership with educators, universities, publishers and end-users, including other stakeholders in the inclusive education ecosystem.
“Empowering the innovative and diverse talents of the future begins with strong investments now to help make STEM education more equitable and achievable for students from all backgrounds,” said Kelsey Gaines, General Manager, General Motors, STEM Education. “We look forward to collaborating with Benetech to make STEM learning materials more accessible and inclusive so that students with disabilities and learning disabilities can follow STEM without hindrance and see their own success in and out of the classroom.”
Making graphs accessible
Plenty of information contained in graphs and charts, similarly, is very laborious to manually convert to an accessible format. However, the information contained in them is essential for a quality STEM education. With the support of Schmidt Futures, Benetech is leading a project to improve the accessibility of graphs and charts in K-12 education. The project will include the creation of a large open source dataset of annotated charts and graphs and a data science competition to design AI models for automatic classification and remediation of graphs and charts.
Benetech is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with dedicated communities to reduce social and economic inequalities that we serve through software for social good. Benitech’s initiatives are changing the way students, job seekers and older adults around the world read, learn and work. Benettech believes that access to information is a human right, and that a person’s education, literacy or employment should not be hindered by discrimination or disability. Please visit www.benetech.org
Schmidt about the future
Schmidt Future Betting on the exceptional people who make the world a better place. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Future is a philanthropic initiative that builds public value from personal philanthropy through risk transfer — it shows talented individuals connecting across networks, competing and challenging science and society to solve difficult problems through challenging concepts. Maybe, more than one type of capital to carry, and thoughtful application of science and technology through tools like AI. To learn more, visit https://www.schmidtfutures.com.
About General Motors Ordinary motor (NYSE: GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium Battery Platform, which will power everything from mass markets to high-performance cars. General Motors, its subsidiary and its joint venture companies sell vehicles under it. Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun And Uling More information about the company and its affiliates, including OnStar, the world’s leading brand of car safety and security services, can be found here. https://www.gm.com.