Audio Description in History, Biology and Physics Classes for Visually Impaired
The aim of this paper is to present the results of a research study on the possibility of using audio description (AD) as an additional didactic tool in the education of the blind and partially sighted children. More specifi cally, the study meant to investigate whether and, if so, to what extent adding AD enhances the comprehension of educational fi lms among children and what the possible value of AD in educational settings could be. In addition, the underlying objective of the study was to raise the awareness among teachers about the importance of AD as a means to achieve audiovisual accessibility.
The filmic material employed for the purposes of the study consisted of three episodes from the educational animation series Once Upon a Time..., namely Once Upon a Time... Man (episode America), Once Upon a Time… Life (episode Blood) and Once Upon a Time… Discoverers (episode Newton). A total of 55 children participated in the study. After each screening, the children were invited to take part in a quiz competition, whose aim was to test their level of comprehension of the shown fi lm. To gather children’s responses, the researchers employed innovative clicker devices and supporting software from InterWrite PRS. Both the screenings and the questionnaires with clickers were greeted with much enthusiasm by children and they arouse interest and curiosity also among teachers. The study revealed that AD in educational fi lms helps to develop and retain specialised vocabulary. Moreover, it helps the children to follow the fi lm, thus improving its overall comprehension. It is the researchers’ assumption that AD, through its use of varied word choice, synonyms, metaphors and similes, can boost literacy of the blind and partially sighted children. Finally, a conclusion can be drawn that fi lms with AD could not only complement lessons, but also make them more enjoyable.