After spending the better part of a weekend trying to get closed captions or subtitles to work on my webpage, I’m here to tell you I have finally done it. The test video I uploaded with the captions, finally started to work. I have captions working on my video…happy am I!! Check out the video below. I know that the captions are not completely correct, some take up nearly all the screen but at least it’s working and I can start to fine tune the captions so they are timed correctly.
As I research learning with closed captions, I’m seriously impressed with what I see. Finland has a high literacy rate. Why? Because they have better teachers? No. Because they don’t produce their own movies and TV shows. They use everyone else’s and then subtitle in their own language. The fun part is that the kids don’t mind and it makes them work while they veg…how about that.
Looking at other countries, India has low literacy rates, so what do they do? Like many countries they lower the bar so they don’t look so bad. Does this fix the problem? Never does. So what does one enterprising man do? He looks at how subtitling videos effects the literacy of the population. And low and behold, it improves it.
It improves comprehension as well. There are studies that look at not only reading comprehension but the effects closed captioning and subtitles have on listening comprehension. This is not the “perfect drug” that will fix all our educational woes but it seems to vastly improve many of the issues that we see in our youngsters. If you think about literacy, it touches nearly all aspects of education. You have to be able to read and comprehend your text book in science and social studies to really do well. So if we could improve our students literacy, we could improve their scholastics all around.
I have one little girl who is 4 and already can spell Mom without help (and dad, let’s not leave him out) and my other little 4 year old girl who is just happy being a drama queen. For both of them, I’m going to start using CC whenever I put them in front of the tube so that they will be ahead of the game. Let’s not forget my 6 year old who has already started the “I don’t want to read that” game. I figure it will definitely help to bring her up another level so that when she hits middle school she won’t struggle with the reading as much as some of my current students do.
I knew when I started this journey that closed captioning would be important for the deaf and hard of hearing (of which currently I teach none). I had heard rumors that this accommodation would also help others but I was completely blown away by just how far reaching this one small change was. It helps SO many learners. It kind of makes you wonder why more of the “educational” websites do not offer this accommodation. YouTube has closed captioning but many school districts block it. TeacherTube does not appear to accommodate in this way (I’ve e-mailed them about it and am awaiting a response).
After spending all day exploring closed captioning options and actually experimenting with a few, I found that there were some I really liked and some that were a pain. The problem with most of them (I was previously warned, I just forgot) was that with all the free software that captions, most of them do not add it to the video, they just create the file that adds the caption. You still need a software that will combine the two files. That software costs money. I’ve looked at all sorts of options for this. My favorite so far is MovieCaptioner ($99) and you still need to get QuickTime Pro to convert it.
The other problem I’ve found for my own issue is that the CC does not seem to follow the conversions I’ve tried (through Prism since I don’t have $30 for QTPro) and then when I upload to TeacherTube it’s not there. TeacherTube will allow me to upload the .mov file that has the captions but the captions are there once it’s uploaded.
Additionally, TeacherTube appears to convert the silly thing into a Flash Video. This, of course sent me into exploring how to caption flash video. I’ve found myself once again stymied. I found 2 software options that discuss CCing Flash video but one is greek to me (CCforFlash) and the other you have to pay for to even use, there is no shareware option. So here I am struggling with this since TeacherTube is the vehicle I use to deliver videos in the classroom. I either find a new video host, get TeacherTube to give me another option, or find a way to caption flash (which can be done successfully since BrainPop does it.)
I’m working on getting information on close captioning videos and how to go about it. I’ve been really interested in the different programs that I’ve found that allow you to close caption video. So far I’ve found 4 that allow you to do it yourself and 4 companies that will do it for you. As I research each one, I will update the Tech Resources web page.