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Jul 2012

Boycott The Use of Educational Video With No Subtitles or Closed Captions

Educational Video Without Subtitles or Captions Fails To Provide Equal Access for all Children

We live in a time where now more than 94% of teachers use video as an important educational video resource in the classroom.

As a result a host of services now attempt to provide online educational video to satisfy that growing demand. However with the exception of only two companies, they all conveniently ignore the fact that providing educational video without the essential availability of subtitles or captions, fails to provide equal access for all children. And it’s all because of cost …it simply costs too much.

The power of Visual Learning is beyond doubt, but the use of captions and subtitles on Educational Video is regarded as essential for:

  • The Deaf and hearing impaired students.
  • Improving comprehension for struggling readers.
  • Improving literacy for children with learning disabilities and Special Needs.
  • Enabling all children to improve Reading and Literacy skills.
  • When combined with the audio visual nature of video they provides for the widest range of Learning styles.
  • Providing language benefits for students learning English as a Second Language

They are so important that the company Zane Education recognises the use of subtitles and captions on educational video as The Missing Piece.

Even the law now recognises and demands the use of subtitles and captions on video.

“The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 ensures the continued accessibility of video programming to Americans with disabilities as it migrates to the Internet. Specifically, any television program show with subtitles on television must retain those subtitles if it’s also shown on the Internet. In addition, this law tasks the FCC with creating subtitling and captioning rules for three types of television-like programming on the Internet: (1) pre-produced programming that was previously subtitled captioned for television viewing; (2) live television-like video programming; and (3) new programming provided by or generally considered to be comparable to programming provided by multi-channel programming distributors (such as cable or satellite subscription TV services).”

Other acts that similarly deal with the availability of subtitles and captions on online educational video  include:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),
  • The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990
  • The Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Educating our children should never be about convenience and cost. And there is no excuse for conveniently overlooking Laws enacted to provide equal access for ALL children.

There is therefore every good reason to demand the the availability of subtitles and captions on all educational videos, and to call for a boycott of those educational video providers that make no attempt to ensure that they comply with legal requirement, and make no attempt to ensure that they are providing equal access for all children.

A recent survey of the main online educational video providers uncovered the fact only two companies are including the use of subtitles and captions, while all the rest continue to overlook this essential requirement.

As our teachers and schools now begin to embrace the use of technology and educational video in the classroom, now is the time call for the use of online education video for the teaching of the K-12 curriculum to meet the requirements of all the law and ensure that it does provide equal access for all children, and not just the select few.

The companies that do provide educational video with captions and subtitles include Zane Education and Brainpop.

Those companies that disappointingly provide educational video that DO NOT carry subtitles and captions and are therefore ARE NOT providing equal access for all children include Discovery EducationKhan AcademySchoolTubeTeacher Tube NeoK12SqoolTubeWatchknowMy Learning Tube LearnersTVAcademic Earth

Recently CAPTHAT launched the 2012 campaign drawing awareness to the use of subtitles on captions on video. CAPTHAT is part of national awareness campaigns being conducted across America and Australia encouraging parents and teachers to simply turn on captions and subtitles in the classroom and the home for learning and literacy for all children and students. CAPTHAT promotes the proven benefits of subtitles and captions for all children and students, particularly those who are Deaf or hearing impaired, speak English as an Additional Language, are struggling readers, visual learners and students with learning disabilities.

This video draws attention to that campaign:

It is important to support such campaigns if we care about how our children are being taught, and it is always better to act while such changes can be implemented rather than after the fact.



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Steve Miller
10 years ago

Oh my goodness! Impressive article! Many thanks, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I don