Practical Ed Tech Tip:  How to Improve the Accessibility of Videos and Slides Used in Your Classroom  by Richard Byrne

If you’re like me, from time to time, you like to use a good video or a good set of slides to convey organized information to your students.

This year, thanks in part to my friend Beth Holland, I’ve started turning on the captions when playing videos in my classroom. I’ve also been using the auto-captioning tool in Google Slides since that tool was launched last year. If I was using PowerPoint, I’d use its built-in auto-captioning tool. The point is, there are some simple things that we can do to improve the accessibility of the videos and slides we use in our classrooms.

Using Captions on YouTube Videos

To turn on the captions when playing any YouTube video simply hover over the timeline of the video and click on the small “CC” icon that appears on the right-hand side of the timeline. To enlarge the size of the captions open the gear icon then click on “subtitles” followed by “options” to choose the font size and style.

If you have uploaded a video to your own YouTube account, you can use the automatic transcription tool. Unfortunately, the transcript may not be 100% accurate. That is often the case if you speak quickly, mumble at all, use uncommon words, or have an unusual spelling of your name. For example, the automatic captions always spell my last name as Burn or Bern instead of Byrne. You can override the automatic transcription by following the steps outlined in this video.

Get a Transcript for Any YouTube Video

A couple of weeks ago I published a blog post and a video about a neat service called SnackVids. SnackVids has since been rebranded as VidReader. With its new name, VidReader does the same thing that SnackVids did. That thing is to create a searchable transcript of any YouTube video that is narrated in English. As you'll see in this video, the transcript is not only searchable but all of the keywords are hyperlinked to timestamps in the video.

Automatic Captioning of Slide Presentations

As I mentioned above, Google Slides has had an automatic captioning function for a little over a year now. You’ll find that function when you open your slides in full-screen presentation mode. This short video shows you how to enable automatic captioning.

PowerPoint also has an automatic captioning function. Like a lot of Microsoft products, there are some minor differences between the web version and desktop version of PowerPoint’s automatic captioning function. This video shows you how to use automatic captioning in the web version of PowerPoint. This video shows you the desktop directions.

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