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Teachers asked to switch on captions for literacy and learning

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It’s National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) and Media Access Australia is encouraging all educators to switch on captions in the classroom through its annual cap that! campaign.

Beyond access to the soundtrack for students with hearing impairment, captions can provide focus, word association and increased comprehension skills for a wide range of students. The benefits of captions on educational videos, presented in a variety of research, signifies that switching them on provides a comprehensive method of learning.


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Caption reports hide great access story

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Why is it that our communications regulator seems satisfied to hide great achievements in access by our free-to-air television stations? Commentary by Alex Varley.

Developments that benefit viewers, stations, advertisers and content providers should be celebrated and publicised. Instead the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) puts out reports that hide innovation and the power of the market to deliver more under a spirit of healthy competition.


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Accessibility: the missing essential in cloud services

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Independent access expert Media Access Australia has released a research paper on the need for commercial services and governments to incorporate accessibility for people with disabilities into their cloud services.

The research finds that improving the useability of cloud services is an essential criterion in organisations efforts to maximise their customer engagement opportunities and ensure that they are not left behind by their competitors, some of whom have already discovered the commercial potential of access.


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ACMA releases free-to-air TV captioning compliance reports

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Most Australian broadcasters exceeded their captioning targets in 2012-2013, according to compliance reports released today by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), although there were some breaches related to individual programs.

The ACMA reports show that all the commercial broadcasters exceeded their target for the year of captioning 90% of programs between 6 am and midnight. The ABC failed to reach it in one of its coverage areas (out of eight) and SBS for four coverage area (out of 12), but as these breaches were due to significant technical or engineering difficulties, the ACMA disregarded them.


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Hearing Awareness Week approaches with the promise of resources for teachers

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Hearing Awareness Week (HAW), which runs from 24th to 30th August, provides a focus for all things relating to hearing health and access, and will be of special benefit for teachers who work with students who are Deaf or have hearing loss and their classmates. The activities, resources and discussion opportunities provide an encouraging environment and a reminder that there is a lot of support for teachers to improve and sustain accessible teaching practice throughout the year.

HAW has activities planned around the country. To start the ball rolling is the Australian Hearing Hub Open House this Saturday 23rd August, to raise awareness about healthy hearing and the services available at the Australian Hearing Hub.


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Disability employment: three easy steps

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Getting ready to either help or directly employ people with disabilities is easier than you think. Here are three reasons why.

Workplace systems and technology

A major misconception is that there is an expense in setting up computers, office equipment and other systems so that they can be used by people with disabilities.

While this may once have been the case, it’s simply not true anymore. ‘Disabled employment’ no longer means ‘expensive’ or ‘too hard to set up’ and should not be viewed as a barrier.

That’s because the mainstream office technology that we all use—Windows, iOS, OS X and Android-based systems—is now packed with built-in accessibility features.


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NZ Greens push for 100% captioning

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The New Zealand Green Party has released a new disability policy which calls for captioning targets of 100% to be phased in for the country’s main television channels.

Captioning (and audio description) in New Zealand is paid for by NZ On Air, a government broadcasting funding body, but there is no legislation that requires anything to be captioned, or any mechanism for captioning levels to automatically increase. Under the Greens policy, the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunication Act would be amended so that TV1 and TV2 move to 100% captioning by 2017, and TV3 by 2020. Targets for other broadcasters would be set on a case-by-case basis.


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Phillipines introduce accessible cinema, inspired by American legislation

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Philippines cinema chain SM Cinemas recently held the nation’s first accessible cinema sessions, simultaneously screening accessible movies across a number of theatres.

The event showcased closed captioned and audio described movies, allowing people who are Deaf and hearing impaired, blind and vision impaired to enjoy cinema along with their hearing and sighted family and friends.


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Accessibility & the Cloud: Current & Future Trends - WA Accessibility Camp 2014

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Dr Scott Hollier's presentation at the WA Accessibility Camp 2014 is now available to download via SlideShare.

Presented at the WA Accessibility Camp 2014, Dr Scott Hollier provides an analysis of the features, benefits & issues regarding accessibility of cloud services, including outcomes and risks of implementing cloud technology in business vs. consumer settings. Access recommendations are provided for government, industry and consumers with disabilities.


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The NDIS: a role-based ICT approach - Disability Employment Conference 2014

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Dr Scott Hollier's presentation at the Disability Employment Conference 2014 is now available to download via SlideShare.

Speaking at the Disability Employment Conference 2014, Dr Scott Hollier discusses the necessity of ICT accessibility, providing an in-depth outline of Media Access Australia's 'Service Providers Accessibility Guide'. The presentation below covers the topics of policy & legislation, web accessibility, document creation, email & social media, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more.


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