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Adapting Video for VI Learners

Making best use of unmodified materials

The right medium for supplementary support

Optimum support

In many cases the primary video or multimedia teaching pack will need supplementary material in a form which suits a student's needs. There are a number of options, not all mutually exclusive:

  • large print
  • braille
  • annotated still pictures and enlarged diagrams
  • raised diagrams
  • audio tape
  • computer plain text files for use with personal screen readers.

Students need to do their part to help their teacher provide the best support by letting them know, in good time, in what format they would prefer their supplementary guidance. One group of students might prefer Braille for particular material or when working in certain settings, but tape for another. (Braille is easier to use in a group, for example). Some students always carry their laptop computer, their normal working practices being to use enlarged text or screen reader software both for note reading and note taking. Such students would prefer supplementary notes on disc. Yet others might prefer large print, or normal size print which they will read with their low vision aid.

Preparation issues

It is one thing to identify optimum supplementary formats, and another to provide materials in the right amounts and at the right time. Students need to be aware that institutions work within resource limits: they may not be able to achieve the ideal. Teachers, on the other hand, should at least know whether or not materials can be provided in the optimum format. If not they should plan for a fallback strategy (including the exceedingly low-technology but highly effective human reader), and let the student know in good time what it is.

Resource management involves the following things:

  • Knowing the available budget. Insist that your institution commits itself to monetary and time allocations. Without them, all is grace and favour.
  • Being aware of the general costs of preparation of each of the supplementary formats. In rough order of cost (most expensive first) they are -
    • raised diagrams
    • braille
    • annotated still pictures and enlarged diagrams
    • audio tape
    • large print
    • computer plain text files for use with personal screen readers.
  • Actual costs will depend on several local factors, and you need to research these. For example,
    • if you have a computer-based brailling facility on site
    • if the video and text assets you need to base your supplements on can be exported from the teaching package (unlikely for video without extra effort, but possible for multimedia and Web materials)
    • what local skills are available to you; and
    • what lead time you have before the materials are needed.

Other issues you need to consider include the degree of re-usability for next years students; and if the video pack producers have had the foresight to provide some or all of what you need either within the pack (as text descriptions in multimedia, for example), or as a printed or computer-file resource.

 
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