Deaf Awareness Month Challenge

September is National Deaf Awareness Month. This month, #CreateAccessibility challenges educators to increase awareness and contribute to making online media more accessible for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals by doing one or more of the following.

Display Captions When Showing Videos.  This can be accomplished by pressing the CC button, if present. I always recommend watching a video with captions prior to showing it in class since auto captioning is not reliable. There is a high probability of encountering objectionable content or terribly inaccurate captions with user-generated content on YouTube. The regular display of quality, accurate captions will support all your learners and create a more inclusive learning environment.

1st View, 2nd View, 3rd View Lesson.  We often ask students to complete a first read and then a second read of text with a different perspective or purpose. Take this idea and apply to video. Try watching a short video multiple times by mixing up the inputs below. Pause following each viewing and facilitate a discussion on how the different inputs contribute and/or detract from comprehension. This can easily extend to an entire lesson on media literacy that extends beyond accessibility to how music, images, editing, and text influences communication and comprehension of online media.
    Chart with Sound, Display and Captions at the top and checkboxes with the variations in which you can watch a video. sound only, display only, display & captions only, display & sound only, display, sound & captions.


Take Action. As you and your students become more aware of captions in the classroom, reach out to any publishers, companies, and creators whose curriculum, training materials, and content does not include captioning and request the addition of captions. If it's on YouTube, you can flag inappropriate and inaccurate caption content by clicking More > Report > Captions Issue > Select best description and then you'll have the opportunity to provide more details.
Drop down menu to select Captions Issues in YouTube as missing, inaccurate or abusive

Caption at least one online video. If you have YouTube content and rely on auto-captioning, go back and publish captions for at least one video. You could start with the video with the most views.  Alternatively, you could focus on a video without a lot of views that you want to promote because having a published transcript will increase your  SEO, if you care about such things. There is always the option to pay someone to caption your content. Check out rev.com who will captions your content for $1/min with a 24 hour turn-around.

If you do not have online media content, you can still participate and caption one video by signing up for an amara.org community. I've only recently discovered this site and I am impressed. They offer neat captioning and subtitling tools and have different communities where videos in need of captioning or subtitles are placed for community member volunteers to caption. I joined the U.S. National Archives community and find the historical footage absolutely mesmerizing. I get to watch and caption great content and make the internet more accessible which is a win-win situation to me.

I hope you consider joining the #CreateAccessibility challenge this month to celebrate Deaf Awareness Month. Whether you try one new thing suggested above or refine existing practices with an accessibility lens, I encourage you to share your journey increasing awareness and make the internet more accessible.  I look forward to seeing how you #CreateAccessibility in your classroom this month.

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