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So we've all heard about it by now: President Obama is going to be giving a speech to schools across the nation (well, some schools, anyway) that will be simulcast via cable, satellite and the web.

But even in the schools that do air it, will every student actually be able to access the information given in the speech, regardless of whether or not they can hear it? Possibly... and possibly not.

According to the Department of Education's site on the speech:

Viewers may watch the address via the Internet by visiting the White House Web site, at where the address will be streamed live.

C-SPAN, the cable public affairs network, will cover the president's speech live on its C-SPAN television channel and provide live streaming video online at The speech also will be aired live on C-SPAN Radio (90.1 FM in Washington, D.C., and channel 132 on XM Satellite Radio).

White House television will make the address available via satellite for access by local broadcast outlets and school districts.

All well and good, right? Plenty of ways to access the speech; every school should be able to view it, right?


Will the address include captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers?

The live address broadcast on C-SPAN will include captioning.

So... if a school wants to present the speech in a form accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing students, they'll have to get a cable subscription. Lovely.

The obvious solution, of course, would just be to offer the online stream in both uncaptioned and open-captioned versions, the latter fed straight from C-SPAN through a hard-wired caption decoder (yes, despite the fact that TVs have them built in nowadays, external caption decoders do still exist). In fact, although the White House is quite good about captioning online video after the fact, I don't think I've seen a live event since the inauguration broadcast online with captions, even when they're run on television networks such as C-SPAN with live captioning.

So, any deaf students at schools without access to C-SPAN will just have to wait till they get home to find out what the speech was all about... and, likely, spend the length of the speech in class bored to tears without a clue what the president's saying.

Really, we can do better than this.

Originally posted to codeman38 on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:51 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Um, presumably they have interpreters in class (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen, GlowNZ, codeman38, MaikeH

    if they go to a regular public school instead of one for deaf kids

    Otherwise, how the hell do they do anything else in class?

    "i find the resemblace of DemocraticLuntz and Arken to Disney style yapping jackals to be astoundingly accurate"

    by DemocraticLuntz on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:54:58 PM PDT

    •  Eh, good point... (0+ / 0-)

      Still, I wouldn't be surprised if there's some school that'd be boneheaded enough not to have the interpreter show up during that time.

    •  It can depend on how much hearing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      someone may have left if he or she is not completely deaf.

      I had a classmate in driver's ed who was hearing impaired enough to need accommodations, but who was only impaired enough to rate an electronic device with an earpiece that would amplify a teacher's voice if he or she bothered to wear a little wireless microphone.

      She couldn't benefit from any of the videos in the course because they didn't have captions. She could do everything else required using the device she wore, but the video worksheets got "No captions, no answers" written on them.

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 09:02:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I often had issues with videos myself. (0+ / 0-)

        I can hear people fine face-to-face, but my auditory processing is screwy enough that sometimes I have trouble understanding things played through a loudspeaker.

        Classroom videos were hit-or-miss for me; sometimes I could hear them fine, sometimes I could only make out every few words, depending on the brand of TV, its maximum volume level, the timbre of the announcer's voice, the amount of background noise in the room, and various other factors.

  •  Most cable companies (4+ / 0-)

    provide free access to schools.  Every school in which I've taught has had multiple free cable drops.

    My issue will be with streaming.  Our internet connection, for which we pay a handsome monthly fee, is not the most reliable or consistent.  The inauguration was a disaster.  I'm hoping there will be fewer people competing for the band width on this one, although the faux controversy may drive up the viewership....  I cannot understand all the outrage over a pep talk.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 09:25:30 PM PDT

  •  my inaugural experience was like luckylizard's. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Our school district plans to play the speech the next day.
    I have conference period during the speech time, so I am planning to stream and download it.  But last time, cnn and msnbc were inaugurus interruptus.

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