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DVDs to aid blind, deaf students

Muskogee Phoenix, Oklahoma USA
Sunday, March 04, 2007

By Phoenix Staff Writer

The Oklahoma School for the Blind is working with the Oklahoma School for the Deaf to offer descriptive educational videos for the blind and visually impaired. The Oklahoma School for the Deaf, located in Sulfur, houses the National Accessible Learning Center, a library of 70,000 educational videos specially formatted for students who are visually impaired or hard of hearing.

The videos are available by mail, postage paid, for lending to families or schools.

The School for the Deaf has offered captioned videos for years, but now is offering videos that are accompanied by a descriptive narrative, said School Superintendent Larry Hawkins.

"These could be videos about 'Romeo and Juliet' for English or how to put in a sink for job training classes," he said.

"Oklahoma School for the Blind is reviewing the descriptive videos to see if they are appropriate or how well the descriptions work," said Karen Kizzia, superintendent for Oklahoma School for the Blind.

The National Accessible Learning Center is the only video library in the United States with the sole purpose of providing described and captioned videos to students who need assistance because they have hearing or visual disabilities. It is currently performing the operations once shared by more than 60 libraries across the country.

"Now that we're the only depository in the nation, we expect to send out 5,000 videos per month during the school year," said center director Max Martin

The OSD video library soon will phase out all VHS videos by only adding new DVDs that contain both captioned and described programming making the mailings more cost effective and storage feasible. Each year the program is projected to receive 300 new pieces of dual media for distribution.

"When the center receives a video order and mails out a DVD in its special DVD envelope, the mailing cost drops from $1.51 for VHS mail outs to .32 cents," Martin said.

"This savings is especially important due to the fact that the program pays the postage to and from the customers. By moving in this direction, we can save more than $2,300 per 1,000 videos distributed."

The OSD gets its inventory through the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), which is funded by a $7.5 million agreement between the National Association for the Deaf and US Department of Education.

To order a video, school personnel or parents sign on to the DCMP Web site at www.dcmp.org, view the movie catalogue, make a selection and submit the order.

If they have any problems or questions, they can call the Oklahoma School for the Deaf at (888) 685-3323 and ask for Starla Allen.

Taken from http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/local/local_story_063224921.html.

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