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Teachers on the power of captions in the classroom

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Media Access Australia recently spoke to teachers participating in this year’s cap that! campaign about the power of captions to transform education delivery. Here are some of their insights.

Angie, an Itinerant Support Teacher for the Hearing Impaired at the NSW Department of Education and Communities

“I began promoting captions in the last three years after coming across an article about them. Curiosity got the better of me and I began researching the impact of captions and the sourcing of captions. I had a student who was in Year 7 and he was having major difficulties accessing auditory information in his lessons at high school.

“The captions have allowed him to understand the context of the video information, as before this he just couldn't.


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Captioning of online video clips to be mandatory in US

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted unanimously to make it mandatory to caption online video clips which were originally captioned for broadcast on TV.

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 gave the FCC the power to introduce rules for the captioning of online videos. The first stage of this came in 2012, when it introduced rules for the captioning of full-length programming. Following petitions from a number of groups, the FCC has now decided to extend the rules to short clips.


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UK regulator begins consultation on speaking TV program guides

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The UK communications regulator, Ofcom, has begun a consultation process in which it is asking for feedback on how electronic program guides (EPGs) with a ‘text-to-speech’ function would benefit blind or vision impaired people, and how feasible it is to introduce them.

In its discussion paper, ‘Speaking TV programme guides’, Ofcom notes that it has a duty to provide guidance on the practices involved in the provision of EPGs. “These practices must include the incorporation of such features as Ofcom considers appropriate for ensuring that people with disabilities affecting their sight or hearing (or both) may use EPGs for the same purposes as other people, so far as practicable.”


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Q&A: Accessible on-demand video services

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Media Access Australia spoke with Dr Katie Ellis, Senior Research Fellow at the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University ahead of her presentations on Netflix, audio description and captioning, and representations of disability in the media at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Melbourne.

The conference, being run at Swinburne University’s Hawthorn campus from 9-11 July, tackles a diverse range of issues in the media and communication space, including issues around disability and media access.


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Web accessibility vital to elections

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Media Access Australia’s resident web accessibility expert, Dr Scott Hollier, has warned that a lack of accessible websites could lead to voters with disabilities potentially miscasting their votes at the next federal or state election.

Speaking ahead of his presentation on disability and digital divides, to be given at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Melbourne, Dr Hollier said that a lack of web accessibility could have profound effects on society.

“If you look at the last federal election as a case study, a voter with a disability would have had a very difficult time in gaining information to guide their votes based on the lack of accessibility of the websites of the major parties,” he said.


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Q&A: How SMS aids Deaf research and communication

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Media Access Australia spoke with Erin Walsh and Meaghan Arundell from the Australian National University ahead of their presentations at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Melbourne on how SMS is being used as a research and communication tool for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired.

The conference, being run at Swinburne University’s Hawthorn campus from 9-11 July, tackles a diverse range of issues in the media and communication space, including issues around disability and media access.

Digital media and technology: 

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Canada makes captioning of commercials and promos mandatory

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made it a licence condition for all television commercials, sponsorship messages and promos to be closed captioned from 1 September.

Canada is the first country to make the captioning of commercials and promos compulsory, and is thus the first country to achieve what is in effect 100% captioning on TV broadcasts. While the voluntary captioning of commercials is common in Australia and many other countries, captioning of promos is very rare.


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Q&A: Improving inclusive and accessible design

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Media Access Australia spoke with Linda Leung, Associate Professor at the School of Software Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Technology Sydney, ahead of her presentation on inclusive and accessible service design at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Melbourne.

The conference, being run at Swinburne University’s Hawthorn campus from 9-11 July, tackles a diverse range of issues in the media and communication space, including issues around disability and media access.


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The Audio Description Project Conference

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The third annual Audio Description Conference, an initiative of the American Council of the Blind, will be held in Las Vegas from 13 to 15 July.

The conference brings together audio describers, consumers, policymakers and other experts to discuss the current state of audio description and how the service could be improved and extended. This year there are sessions about the ways that audio description can aid literacy; audio description for broadcast television, the performing arts and museums; and audio description in Spanish.


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Telstra backs ACCAN’s Apps For All challenge

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Australian app developers have been encouraged to enter the Apps For All challenge following the news that significant cash and career development prizes have been added to the inaugural competition.

Apps For All, a partnership between the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the Australian Human Rights Commission, now offers the winners in all four categories a $1500 cash prize, thanks to Telstra’s signing on as sponsor of the competition.


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