Policy | News

SETDA Releases Brief on Accessible Resources

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has released a new policy brief addressing the accessibility of digital instructional resources.

The paper, "The Accessibility of Learning Content for All Students, Including Students with Disabilities, Must Be Addressed in the Shift to Digital Instructional Materials," addresses "the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework, open educational resources (OER) and federal law requirements regarding accessibility of instructional materials," according to a SETDA news release.

"Digital learning materials are used increasingly in our schools and classrooms, including in virtual and blended learning spaces," according to the authors of the brief. "These tools and resources have the potential to be created with inherent accessibility functions, and policymakers have a legal responsibility to ensure that this development does not leave students with disabilities behind. With educators increasingly creating digital content, state and district policymakers should ensure that educators are informed about OER, including attendant licensing options, so that materials can be used by the broadest range of learners."

Recommendations of the paper include:

  • Establish a clear vision for the use of accessible that can be shared with publishers, vendors and educators;
  • "Support the Flexibility and Customization Options Provided by Accessible Open
    Educational Resources";
  • Provide professional development and technical assistance for teachers;
  • Make sure teachers have access to quality online repositories of accessible resources;
  • "Invest in research and evaluation"; and
  • Address funding issues.

"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, in a prepared statement. "We are pleased to provide clear information, resources and guidance toward this goal."

The full brief, along with an archived webinar discussing it, are available at setda.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].