The Accessibility of Learning Content for All Students Must Be Addressed
WASHINGTON, DC (June 23, 2014) – The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recently released a policy brief for state and district education leaders focused on considerations and strategies regarding the accessibility of digital content for all students. The brief, The Accessibility of Learning Content for All Students, Including Students with Disabilities, Must Be Addressed in the Shift to Digital Instructional Materials, examines important legal, policy and practice considerations regarding the accessibility of digital instructional materials. The paper discusses the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework, Open Educational Resources (OER) and federal law requirements regarding accessibility of instructional materials. The brief also provides recommendations for state and district policy regarding the development, use and distribution and sharing of digital tools to improved the learning experiences of all students.
“It is important that education leaders take proactive steps to ensure that all students have full access to instructional materials in the digital age,” said Douglas Levin, SETDA Executive Director. “We are pleased to provide clear information, resources and guidance toward this goal.”
“This policy brief provides additional background and understanding around a topic that is important not just to students with disabilities, but all students,” stated Chuck Hitchcock, Chief Officer, Policy and Technology and Director, National AIM Center at Cast, Inc., and a contributor to the brief. “The topic of Universal Design for Learning applies to all learners, and this policy brief helps to further inform educators and the public of its importance with respect to digital materials.”
The brief is available on the SETDA website (www.setda.org), as well as the archive of a related webinar in which the brief was discussed. The brief was prepared in partnership with EducationCounsel LLC, a mission-based education consulting firm.
Founded in 2001, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal non-profit membership association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology leaders. Our mission is to build and increase the capacity of state and national leaders to improve education through technology policy and practice. For more information, please visit: setda.org.
This is a summary excerpt about purposes/goals of this paper:
This paper summarizes issues and ideas that education leaders should consider when examining the accessibility of digital content for all students, including students with disabilities. It provides recommendations for state and district policy regarding the development, use, and distribution/sharing of digital tools and resources to improve students’ learning experiences. These recommendations focus on:
- Establishing a clear vision for the use of accessible digital learning materials and communicating that vision to relevant stakeholders, including content-creators and content-users;
- Encouraging the development and use of accessible open educational resources to maximize flexibility and customization options available to educators to meet individual student needs;
- Providing educators with professional learning opportunities;
- Ensuring that educators have access to online repositories of quality accessible digital content;
- Investing in research and evaluation to assess the impact of accessible digital learning materials on student achievement and engagement and to share best practice; and
- Exploring fiscally sound ways to support the creation and use of digital content.