Remote Learning HI January 2021 Video

Making Online Learning Accessible for Deaf Students

Making online learning accessible for deaf students

As we are now into our third lockdown, schools are closed and we are back to remote learning, Deaf pupils will find it challenging and difficult.

It is important that any such remote teaching is accessible.

Education settings are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that the pupil can still access any teaching or learning.

It can be difficult for deaf pupils online, as sometimes speech isn’t clear, people are all talking at once and the deaf child will feel isolated, frustrated and may find it difficult to access their work.

There are many ways we can help:

Make everything accessible

Many schools will use online platforms to set work, receive homework and provide contact between teachers and pupils. This could be an issue for deaf children, especially those who need a high level of in-class support. Video conferencing sites such as Zoom or Google classroom will help deaf children to pick up on some of the visual clues they usually rely on, helping them to understand information and activities.

If video content is used, it needs to be accessible, so using speech-to-text technology like Google Transcribe, or YouTube’s subtitling function to provide captions, will be beneficial. Although the quality of these services can vary, if needed they can be checked and manually edited to make sure they’re accurate.

For online teaching, automatic video captions using speech recognition can be found on:

  • Google Hangouts
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom
  • All videos, real time learning sessions, and pre-recorded learning sessions need to be captioned.

When connecting with students through video conferencing, keep in mind the quality of sound, background noise, lighting, visual distraction, and the placement of the camera, as well as captioning and/or interpreting.

When communicating with learners via video call:

  • Always have the speaker’s face visible. Have light on your face rather than behind your head and speak at a steady pace, taking pauses between important points.
  • Circulate corrected transcripts to all learners shortly after the video call has ended. is a free app that generates transcription with punctuation.
  • It’s a good idea to use the chat while teaching so the deaf pupil can follow the instructions.
  • Repeat what another pupil has said, so the deaf child fully understands.
  • Check in with them after the call to make sure they fully understood and whether they need extra help.


How to get captions on for Hearing impaired pupils.

If you need any advice or information, please contact SENDsuccess Hi team:



Making Remote Learning Accessible for Learners with a Visual Impairment


Making Remote Learning Accessible for Learners with a Visual Impairment

Students with a visual impairment (VI) have individual requirements and learning preferences which you will need to consider when preparing and delivering remote online learning. Students with VI will generally have to concentrate harder to maintain focus and this can lead to visual fatigue (eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, and other symptoms). The following information suggests reasonable adjustments to reduce any possible negative impact and improve the learning experience


  • Ensure the pupil with a VI has understood how to use the functions on the learning platform (maximise view, hands up, chat box, mute, live captions)
  • Ensure your microphone is working effectively and measures are taken to minimise any feedback or background noise
  • Remember screen sharing will reduce access to facial expressions
  • If you have a television and computer/laptop that allows HDMI input, consider connecting your student’s laptop to that larger screen TV

Formatting & design

  • Use a sans serif font such as Arial or Verdana for presentations, resources and worksheets
  • Double space passages of text where possible
  • Use high contrast font and background colours (eg. black on cream)
  • Avoid overcrowding presentation slides and reduce visual clutter
  • Adjust the brightness of the monitor the student is using – most laptops use the Function Keys along the top of the keyboard to access common settings such as brightness, volume, and mic settings


  • Make sure when you are speaking your face is well lit and can be seen clearly, preferably with the light source in front of you
  • Use software in ‘full view’ mode when presenting (eg. PowerPoint)
  • Pupils with a VI need extra time to visually process information so build in natural pauses
  • Allow the student to break up visually demanding tasks. Ten to fifteen minutes every hour is a common accommodation, but the student may need more or less break time
  • A guide of accessibility features that help you see websites and applications more clearly.
© Whitefield Academy Trust.