In June 2015, we launched our annual CAP THAT! campaign with a simple message: turn the captions on when watching video content in class. This year we focused on the significance of using captions to benefit even more students, including students with English as an Additional Language, those who have reading difficulties, children on the autism spectrum, as well as students who are Deaf or hearing impaired. Amongst Australian schools nationwide, this equates to over one million kids in total.
The 2015 campaign took on a new look and feel this year, reaching more educators across Australia than ever before. In the final weeks of the campaign, CAP THAT! newsletter subscribers totalled over 2,000, our Twitter followers increased by 11%, Facebook likes reached over 100, and with the help of our sponsors and personalised letters sent to principals across state, independent and Catholic schools, we reached over 200,000 educators.
As highlighted in many of our articles this year, the impact of turning the captions on whenever you’re using video content in class goes beyond access for students who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment. The literacy benefits of using captions are also important for students on the autism spectrum for whom captions help focus on tasks and reduce challenges created by behavioural cues. Captions can also be used to assist in teaching context and enduring skills. Overall, captions support an inclusive classroom and provide literacy and learning benefits for all students.
True to its intent, in 2015 the CAP THAT! website continued to be a source of free and practical resources for Australian educators interested in integrating captions into their classrooms and schools. Our lesson plans, prepared by voluntary teachers and in line with the Australian Curriculum, for Foundation through to Senior Secondary level remained our most popularly visited pages with thousands of downloads by teachers over the duration of the campaign. Over 500 principals downloaded our professional development presentation to share how important captions are with their staff, and our how-to videos were watched thousands of times.
While we refreshed the look and feel of our website, we also updated some key popular resources such as the free educational videos database, our captions on YouTube guide, and our instructions for creating your own captions. It was also encouraging to see that our infographics poster was the most shared post on social media.
At the close of another great campaign, we’d like to thank the Conexu Foundation and National Literacy and Numeracy Week for their continued support of CAP THAT! in 2015. We would also like to especially thank the two new sponsors who came on board this year, TES Australia and Discovery Kids, who helped us reach more teachers than ever by sharing our content across their websites and social media, created captioned videos, and spread awareness of the benefits of captions in their member newsletters.
We’d also like to acknowledge the other organisations who joined in to support the campaign this year, including a special shout out to ABC Splash who generously provided video stills for our campaign newsletters from their free captioned educational videos, and Ai-Media who shared with us their work in schools using their Ai-Live technology.
We’ve been encouraged by the thousands of teachers who have signed up to receive regular information and tips on how captions can be integrated into classrooms, and by the number of educators that are downloading our resources. We’ll soon be asking for your feedback on the campaign so we can find out what else you need to spread the word about the benefits of captions in your school and how we can make it easier for you to turn the captions on. This will help us make CAP THAT! even better in 2016.
Although CAP THAT! has finished this year, the campaign website will remain online for you to download and share our resources. There’s also lots of information available in the education section of the Media Access Australia website, featuring professional links and information for teachers working with students who are Deaf or have hearing impairment, combined with support services information for parents. You can also download an informative brochure explaining how captions are essential for learning.
Most importantly, don’t forget to keep turning on captions whenever you are watching television or video content.