Equal Access In The Classroom
- Articles, Blog

Equal Access In The Classroom

male announcer: The following
message has been provided by the Described
and Captioned Media Program, a U.S. Department of Education
funded organization that provides free-loan
educational accessible media that is available to teachers
and families. female narrator: Technology
is changing the landscape of the educational environment. Schools across the country
are utilizing various forms of emerging technology
to enhance and improve both teaching and learning. However, such tools
are not always accompanied by the accessibility
that is necessary to benefit or to include students with varied abilities
in the lesson, even when
the technology is vital in providing an equal
opportunity in learning. For example, one common form
of educational technology that has been evolving
over decades is the use of educational
films. Film has evolved to the digital
formats commonly used today, such as DVD
and internet streaming. These formats allow
for a growing and improved use of classroom media
because of reasons such as navigability
and low cost. However, presently: What’s more: As staggering as this data
may be, what these numbers
do not fully convey is just how often opportunities
are lost to students when no accessible media
is provided for them. Here are a couple of examples that may help to put this
into perspective. Imagine a blind student’s
experience when educational media
is used in class that is not accessible. [car approaching] [engine stops] [birds chirping] [light music] [car door shuts] [footsteps approaching] man: Good morning. male describer:
A yellow Beetle pulls up, and Lisa glances up momentarily
before looking down. Then the car door opens
and the driver’s foot appears, clad in a clean white loafer
and an Argyle sock. Lisa looks up again
and does a double take. [car door slams] describer: Her mouth drops open,
and she stares toward the car. [footsteps approaching] man: Good morning. describer: She gazes fixedly
as the figure passes her. Students who are blind or who have
a severe visual impairment cannot see actions,
settings and visuals, such as pictures or charts that are not explained
in the dialogue. For media to be accessible
to these students, additional narration
called description must be provided
during natural pauses in the spoken dialogue. Now imagine
a deaf student’s experience when educational media
is used in class that is not accessible. [no audio] Students who are deaf
or hard of hearing do not hear the narration,
dialogue, music, and important sound effects. For media to be accessible
to these students, a text version of the audio
called captions appears on the screen. These are examples
that specifically illustrate how the lack of accessibility
may exclude students who are blind or deaf. Equally as important
are the many students with only some degree
of vision or hearing loss that would be excluded as well. announcer: The Described
and Captioned Media Program provides equal access
to everyone. Additional narration
called description is provided during natural
pauses in the spoken dialogue for students who are blind
or visually impaired. And a text version
called captions of the audio
makes media accessible for deaf
or hard of hearing students. DCMP is an invaluable tool
in my classroom. Most people think of history
as a boring subject, but, you know, I think of it as something living and moving
and continuous, and using captioned media
helps me convey that to my kids. A lot of times,
we’re studying the Civil War or World War I,
World War II or whatever, and they can’t relate to that. But once you give them
that visual picture, you know, that visual effect,
then they get it. And it’s just invaluable. When I explain that I’m
an educator of blind students and that I use video
in my classroom, the reaction is usually
that of surprise. However, a student may not
be able to see a video, but there is an opportunity
to learn from this media. For instance, a recording
of the historical event will have an audio
that the students with a vision impairment
may listen to. But without a description
to fill in what the actions
are taking place that are not made clear
in the audio, the students
will not be able to follow what is happening
throughout the video. With all of the details that the description
points out in a video, there is an enhanced
learning opportunity for all students with
or without vision impairments. female translator:
I would encourage teachers who teach deaf children
in public schools to use them, because it is good exposure
to English vocabulary. Students can see the words plus the actions
and actors in the movie. It is a good way to learn. Most deaf children
in public schools miss out on a lot of what goes on
around them. When movies are made accessible
with captions, then they have access as well. Remember those clips
from a few moments ago? The Described
and Captioned Media Program offers free-loan
educational media on DVD and through internet streaming that is available in both
description and captions. Furthermore, the DCMP
also provides a clearinghouse of information
on media accessibility, including a gateway
to internet resources related to accessibility. The DCMP even provides a center for training
and evaluation of any description and
captioning service providers. Now let’s watch
and listen to a clip from one of these media titles
that are delivered postage-free to teachers
and families through funding by the
U.S. Department of Education. The free-loan media
in the DCMP’s collection allows you options
to include description, captions, or both. And this makes it possible
for educators to use the universally designed
technology that they need to offer an equal educational
opportunity to their students. To conclude, technology
such as educational media impacts and improves upon
the way our students learn. The mission of the DCMP
is to promote and provide equal access
to communication and learning through described
and captioned educational media. The DCMP’s ultimate goal
is for accessible media to be an integral tool to the teaching
and learning process for all stakeholders
in the educational community, including students, educators
and other school personnel, parents, service providers,
businesses, and agencies. McCain: On behalf of the Described
and Captioned Media Program, I would like to thank you
for your time and your attention to this
public service announcement. We hope you will look
to the DCMP as your source of free-loan
accessible educational media and media accessibility
information. Contact the DCMP and begin utilizing
this incredible service today. announcer: If you are a teacher
or family member with a student who is blind,
deaf, or deaf-blind, call the DCMP today at: Or visit our website at:

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

5 thoughts on “Equal Access In The Classroom

  1. @WildKatSpeaking Thanks for your compelling testimony about the state of educational video, both now and in the last few decades.

  2. I find it interesting that the video is discussing accessibility but fails to provide a transcript for the visually impaired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *