Deaf/hearing impaired Education news

Data projector helps deaf and hearing impaired kids at school

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The need for accessible media in schools is becoming more recognised by technology providers. Epson has announced the release of two new projectors which spark hope for greater accessibility in the classroom.

The Epson PowerLite S11 and X12 include as one of their listed features closed caption display capability. The inclusion of this feature in the product description highlights the need for access to multimedia content for students who are deaf or have a hearing impairment. With 83% of students with a hearing impairment attending mainstream schools, equitable access to multimedia content is a necessity. As technology providers take greater interest in this arena of accessibility, the result can only be positive outcomes for these students.


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Schools and teachers commended for literacy through captions

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Educators across the country were today commended for their commitment to increasing literacy and inclusion through captions. CAP THAT!, a national campaign asking teachers to turn on captions in the classroom, formally acknowledged the commitment of St Anthony’s Primary School, Clovelly (NSW), a major prize winner in the 2011 CAP THAT! competition. The school’s video entry has inspired teachers nationwide to start using the simple tool at their fingertips to improve literacy and learning for students.

The competition asked educators to share their ideas and experiences around using captions in the classroom, with St Anthony’s emotionally moving entry showing how they are integrating captions. Responses from students demonstrate how captions enhance learning and engagement with audiovisual materials.


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Captions and audio description benefit people on the autism spectrum

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UK researcher Judith Garman has published an article that provides insight into the positive impacts of captions and audio description on people in the autism spectrum. By combining the visuals and audio, they can help create a complete picture for people who have autism, Aspergers, monotropism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.

Garman’s article draws insights from her user testing of BBC television services in 2010, involving participants on the autism spectrum, and later television platform testing in 2011.


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Advisory group on students with disability announced

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The new Schools Disability Advisory Council promises steps towards further inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream schools. Announced yesterday by Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, and Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, the Council will provide ongoing expert advice to the Government on how to provide more support and better services for students with a disability.

This announcement was made at yesterday’s National Schools Disability Stakeholder Forum: Australian Schooling Promoting Equity and Excellence,a forum with 65 stakeholders from the disability and education sectors.

Of key interest to the forum was the $200 million More Support for Students with Disability initiative, the development of a nationally consistent definition of disability, and the Australian Government Review of School Funding.


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WA invests $4m in classroom accessibility technology

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The West Australian government has promised $4m for interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in the state’s public schools. IWBs, which use touchscreen functionality, offer interactivity and multimedia capabilities which not only boost student engagement but allow for easy use of assistive technology, such as captions.

WA Education Minister, Dr Liz Constable, said that IWBs are particularly beneficial for students with special needs, including those with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. “Students with autism are visual and the technology allows teachers to run image-based programs on the screen.”

IWBs are used in Media Access Australia’s Classroom Access Project, a series of prototype classrooms in mainstream schools which exemplify how technology can best be used to fully include Deaf and hearing impaired students.


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Captions boost inclusion during National Literacy and Numeracy Week

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NSW Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens has today urged teachers to “turn captions on” in the classroom to boost literacy and inclusive learning as a start to National Literacy and Numeracy Week 2011, and as part of Media Access Australia’s CAP THAT! campaign.

Speaking at Toowong State School in Brisbane, a school with a high number of Deaf and hearing impaired students and where one in five students receive English as a Second Language (ESL) support, former teacher Senator Stephens called for educators around Australia to set captions to ON as standard practice in the classroom.


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