Access to captioned video and other media for students with hearing impairment can be challenging due to the increased use of online curriculum resources to support the curriculum, and also a need to upskill teachers in the use of captions.
There are several fundamentals that students who are Deaf or have hearing impairment require to be fully included in the teaching and learning process. These involve access to captioned multimedia curriculum support materials and clear teacher and peer-led instruction. Classrooms by their design and nature can be noisy places and interventions are required to improve sound quality and learning ambience for all, especially for students with hearing impairment.
Classroom Access Project 1 was implemented in response to these needs in partnership with the Catholic Education Office Sydney, and Classroom Access Project 2 with Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.
The Classroom Access Project (CAP) was designed with Universal Design for Learning principles in mind and combined the use of technology with awareness raising and upskilling of teachers in mainstream schools to ‘test a concept’ of accessibility being:
- captioned video and other media for all students,
- improved access to sound
Two high schools in Sydney trialled the CAP in a model classroom and the results saw teachers gain confidence in the sourcing and use of captions, and students gain benefit from access to captions and improved sound quality. One of the many benefits of the CAP was the focus on the classroom environment and what was needed for an effective space with captioned resources and improved sound quality for whole class benefit.
Implementing the Classroom Access Project
The CAP is a very straightforward initiative that lends itself to application in mainstream schools and specialist settings nationwide.
A few key components are necessary:
- A supportive and interested school Principal and staff
- Technologies that are more common in schools now
- Interactive Whiteboard
- Soundfield amplification system (if available)
- FM technology (for students with hearing impairment, if relevant)
- Sources of captioned multimedia
- Inclusive teaching practices
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