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Directionality in text fields

I did a project on numeracy for my IT degree in 2010.  There are two directionality attributes for text fields in HTML, left to right (ltr) and right to left (rtl).  Mathematical sums are processed from right to left.  It was my interpretation/understanding at the time that the rtl directional attribute behaved in the opposite way to that of ltr.   In the development of my project, I found that with the rtl directional attribute, the cursor had a default right alignment, but remained to the right of the last character entered.  This was as I subsequently learned was to preserve the way characters were read in the English language, from left to right.  This did not help me in any way with my project. When multiplying long numbers, after multiplying each column, I had to manually move the cursor to the left of the last (numerical) character entered.

It would have been useful at the time, and I still think it would be useful, to create a directionality attribute for mathematical processing.  With this attribute (call it ‘maths’ for example), the cursor in a text field would default aligned right, but move one character space to the left of the previously entered character.

When multiplying two numbers like 12345 and 77, as on paper, it would be useful to be able to create a vertical stack of text boxes, right aligned directly under each other.   This would I feel greatly enhance web-based learning of basic mathematics.

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