How to Set Up Closed Captioning for Assistive Tech

During virtual learning, it is essential to meet all students’ needs and make sure that the technology that is being used is accessible to them. One of the ways to do that is to make sure that your live and pre-recorded lessons have closed captioning.

How do you set up closed captioning for assistive technology? It may be easier than you think! We have compiled a few ways that might be available to you for adding closed captioning to your lessons and live recordings. As always, the method that works best for your school or institution may not be the same as others’ preferred method. It is up to you to use your discretion and knowledge about your school to determine which will serve your population the best.

Ways to Set up Closed Captioning

Google Slides with Captioning

One of the most popular virtual teaching platforms is Google Classroom. Find digital resources for Google Classroom here.

With that comes access to a whole host of programs, including Google Slides. Slides work similarly to Microsoft PowerPoint in that you can include captioning or text for each slide shown.

This enables the instructor to present the information related to the slide while the student who needs captioning can read the captions and follow along. This is especially helpful if the presenter is sharing the screen with students.

Google Live Transcribe

While not as seamless as some of the more advanced and expensive options, Google Live Transcribe can be used to transcribe the lesson as it is occurring. This would be most beneficial for pre-recorded lessons as the instructor could then share the transcription with the class in a PDF format. For live courses, the students would not be able to see the transcription while it is happening.

Private Transcriptions

If all of the students do not need closed captioning, another option is to use a program like Streamer (https://streamer.center/). Students log into their Streamer app, which then transcribes live conversations, classes, and more. At the end of the transcription, the program provides a private copy of the transcribed conversation or class to the user. It also can assist with taking notes and highlighting text within the notes for more detailed assistance.


Although the most expensive, another option is to have a person transcribe the class, lecture, conversation, or meeting in real-time. Usually hired from a firm, the person would be responsible for attending the live session and transcribing it as it occurred. (This might be a great job duty for paraprofessionals during distance learning!)

This tends to be the most accurate transcription, as well as the quickest… but also probably the most expensive – which is the drawback – especially if the service is needed for multiple classes a day over the course of a semester.

Typically, this service also comes with a transcribed document so that attendees can review it later if they so choose.

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While there are no quick and easy answers to providing closed captioning for virtual learning situations, there are ways to make it happen for your students who need it as an accommodation.

Figuring out which method works best for your student population, as well as your teacher and/or classroom budget is key.

You can also check out the best accommodations for virtual learning here if you need some more ideas!




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