Five Reasons to Use Captions in the Classroom

By: David Titmus
Blurred image of students in a classroom

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Students across the country will be going back to class this month, with some returning to physical classrooms while others will continue to attend classes remotely via online learning portals.

Though student learning environments are certain to be different for the ‘20-‘21 school year, the accessibility of those learning spaces should not. In-class captions and captioned video instruction can help make classrooms and course materials accessible to all students. Below are just a few reasons why schools and educators should consider captioning all their video instruction.

1. Increased Learning for All

There is no doubt that captions are crucial for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, but they also have been proven to benefit others as well. Studies have shown, and schools have found, that adding captions to digital content can help both visual and auditory learners, and improve comprehension, engagement, retention, and the overall learning experience for all students and not just those requiring accessible content.

Captions also help students focus, clarifying a video’s muffled or distorted audio, dialogue − particularly accented speech − and technical terms and jargon (remember that teacher who would drone on about phospholipid bilayers, cellular metabolites, and transmembrane proteins?).

2. Transcripts as Study Guides

Captions also provide the added benefit of transcripts. Teachers can share a transcript of the captioned video, enabling students to read along in class, take notes, and have a printed study guide handy to review later, or share with friends who missed the class.

3. On-the-Go Studies

Captions enable students to take their online video homework anywhere – whether it be the campus coffee shop or the local neighborhood hang-out. Adding captions to online course materials and videos posted on the school’s media pages mean that students can take their studies almost anywhere, even the noisiest of locations.

4. English Language Learners

Captions also are beneficial to those learning English as a Second Language (ESL). Captions give ESL students the opportunity to review confusing materials or reference difficult or complex terms that they may have had trouble translating without a written reference.

5. It’s the Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require most educational videos to be captioned or otherwise accessible to ensure effective communication.

Section 504 states that no individuals with a disability should be excluded from or denied the benefits of any program, institution, or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, like many colleges and universities do. The ADA and Section 504 apply to a broad range of school programs, services, and activities, including lessons, board meetings, extracurricular programs, teacher conferences, recreational activities, social and cultural activities, adult education, and summer school.

Talk to Us for More Details

National universities, community colleges, online lecture providers, and educational video producers rely on VITAC’s service offerings to make their content more accessible and satisfy legal requirements. Contact us today for more information.