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Media Accessibility Information, Guidelines and Research

TVIs Sound Off About Description

In their own words, several TVIs explain how to best utilize described media in the classroom.

Where Did We Find Them?

A recent survey of TVIs (the results of which are available here) confirmed what we already knew: that these folks are chock-full of information and tips that can be very useful to other teachers and aides working with students who are blind or visually impaired. The following is hopefully the first in a series of LIL resources BY teachers FOR teachers.

What They Said

Douglas Walker

Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Assistive Technology Specialist
Tennessee School for the Blind
Nashville, TN

Douglas’s Quote:

I use descriptive video with my assistive technology classes to teach listening skills to young children with blindness and visual impairments. The students are very motivated to listen to the movies, and the descriptive videos give me the opportunity to pause, rewind, and have meaningful discussions. I am not familiar with videos that could be used specifically for Math. However, I find described videos to be very engaging and extremely useful when teaching children how to become more effective listeners.

Cynthia Wenrich

Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Pulaski County Schools
Dublin, VA

Cindy’s Quote:

Any subject area could be enhanced by video with description. The schools seem to use video most often in Social Studies and Science, but I think any subject matter would be good. Some subjects would lend themselves to also having tactual graphics and maps in addition to described video. This would really be neat since it would combine all the skills that an individual would need to learn.

In my itinerant classrooms, we have used a Smart Board for enlargement. It helps to take the classroom teacher and have them “watch” a video through a set of adapted goggles so they are forced to listen to the audio and experience how much they are missing by not having access to the visuals. Even then, these teachers really don’t always understand the gap in access, since they have so much visual knowledge to build on already. I have sat and modeled to an instructional assistant how I wanted them to describe movies. This seemed the best (and most direct) route to take.

Shari Scott

Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Tennessee School for the Blind
Nashville, TN

Shari’s Quote:

I would consider using video in every subject if the subject matter is covered in video format. It is best to preview the materials so that you can describe the visual items that have value or meaning to the curricular content.

Sherry Hahn

Distance/Digital Learning Coordinator
Washington State School for the Blind
Vancouver, WA

Sherry’s Quote:

My teachers use videos extensively in social studies, geography, and language arts. Keeping textbooks current is costly while video clips can be to the point and timely. I can’t think of an area, if well described, that video wouldn’t provide support for blind and visually impaired students, but math might need hands-on materials and tactile graphics to aid in understanding. Allow student to view on their own monitor so they can adapt to their visual needs, and allow time for re-listening.

Katrina Wendel

Itinerant/Outreach Teacher
North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind
Grand Forks, ND

Katrina’s Quote:

I mainly use videos to teach Vocational Education, O&M, and social skills. In outreach, there is quite a bit of academic video used and I am a resource for adapting those videos. Mathematics would be a tough subject for video instruction since it is difficult enough to orient some students to a more complex problem one-on-one without the added intricacies of establishing a representative visual context. Make sure that the quizzes and test questions that are gleaned from videos can be adequately answered by the student (regardless of the type of description or adaptations).

Got Something To Say?

If you’ve used described video (successfully or unsuccessfully) in your class, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line or hit us up on Twitter (@lil_tweets) and fill us in!