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Media Accessibility Information, Guidelines and Research

Where Can I Find Description?

Focusing on sources of educational media available with description.

Description of educational media is still in its relative infancy in the U.S. and around the world. According to a 2008 survey of educational media producers [PDF], only 5% of currently available educational videos are available with description. Not surprisingly, another survey [PDF], conducted in the spring of 2009 with TVIs, found that a majority of TVIs (55%) don’t use video in their classrooms, primarily because of the lack of available accessible titles. (87% of those TVIs, however, indicated that they would begin using video if more content was available with description.)

These numbers are concerning, primarily because video use among educators has exploded in recent decades; recent statistics indicate that more than 90% of educators use video in their classrooms—many as often as once or more per week. Suffice it to say that there is a great deal of compelling content produced in video format for classroom use and, absent the availability of material that is accessible, students with visual impairments are largely being left out.

For these reasons, LIL is intended to be a resource for TVIs, other educators, parents, administrators, and others in search of quality educational programming for use with their students with visual impairments.

The Described and Captioned Media Program

The first and only free-loan educational media service to provide accessible captioned and described content directly to teachers, parents, and others who educate K–12 students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

The DCMP collection of accessible media contains hundreds of titles available with description from a variety of curricular subjects. Any adult who works in some educational capacity with a qualifying student or students (see above) may register for a borrowing account with the DCMP.

All services provided by the DCMP are completely free of charge, as the program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Other Sources

Additional sources of described educational programming will be added to this page as they are identified.

Network and Cable Television

Some television programs are described through U.S. Department of Education grants. This described educational programming can be found on networks such as PBS, CNN, Disney, ABC, and Nick Jr.

Discovery Streaming

This subscription-based streamed educational media service reaches 65% of the nation's schools. A selection of described titles can be identified through a search within their service.

Movies and General Television Programs

Some of this type of "entertainment" has educational and cultural enrichment value. The Audio Description Project of the American Council of the Blind and The Media Access Group at WGBH each has information regarding productions and programs with description.

Online Sources

YouTube, iTunes, and other digital sources also have titles with description.