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Trying out real time captioning in the classroom

classroom resources for students with hearing loss

A few weeks ago I did a campus visit at the college I’ll be attending. While I was there, I got the chance to try out a real time captioning program called CART.

CART, also known as “Communication Access Realtime Translation”, is a captioning service that hard-of-hearing or deaf students can use in place of a sign language interpreter in the classroom.

How CART works

Basically, the school hires a captioner to sit in the classroom with you, transcribing what is being said in the classroom and who said it.

I sat next to my captioner, but she told me that I can sit far away from the captioner if I want and have the transcription streamed to my personal computer.

Captions aren’t always 100% accurate in the beginning, but the entire transcription is sent to editors, and in 24 hours they send an updated, more accurate transcript to use as a reference.

My experience with CART

When I walked into the auditorium, the CART provider had set up a computer that I could read from, and a steno machine that she typed on:

Steno Machine CART classroom resources for students with hearing loss

Steno Machine

The CART folks type fast. I thought they did a great job of keeping up with the pace of the presentation.

The computer where the transcript appeared told me the names of the people speaking. I was also told that the providers get a list of vocabulary if they are working in a classroom setting. (You wont have to worry about them misspelling a vocab word, they’ll already know about it.)

I really enjoyed the experience. I’ve never been able to keep up with people at assemblies and large class discussions. CART will definitely help me with that.

But, I do have some issues with it.

For one, the transcript screen is slightly obnoxious- I don’t like to bring a lot of attention to myself, so it’s a little embarrassing to have a bright screen on in a dark auditorium.

It also requires some multitasking. Taking notes and reading the captions can be problematic when doing so quickly at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I recommend using CART. Find out if it’s offered by your school and try it out! It’s not for everyone, and some may prefer a sign language interpreter instead. 

If your school doesn’t offer it, talk to the disability services coordinator or dean, who may be able to set up this service for you.

Read more: The IPE and Other Classroom Support

If you’ve tried out or are using a real time captioning service, please let me know in the comments! 

Author Details
I’m Daysia, and I’m 17 years old. I have profound bilateral hearing loss and I wear Phonak Bolero Q50-P hearing aids in both ears. I am pursuing a career in rehabilitative engineering.