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ERIC Number: ED545198
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Accessibility of Learning Content for All Students, Including Students with Disabilities, Must Be Addressed in the Shift to Digital Instructional Materials. SETDA Policy Brief
Fletcher, Geoff; Levin, Doug; Lipper, Katherine; Leichty, Reg
State Educational Technology Directors Association
This is a time of rapid technological advancement, with innovations in education holding great promise for improving teaching and learning, particularly for students with unique needs. High-quality digital educational materials, tools, and resources offer students relevant, up-to-date, and innovative ways to acquire knowledge and skills. Created both by traditional publishers and increasingly by educators, digital content is a growing presence in the nation's classrooms. Technology-rich learning environments, supported by digital materials, are appealing to today's students and teachers who wish to use the transition to digital as a way to personalize and otherwise improve instruction. 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: (1) 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; (2) Encouraging the development and use of accessible open educational resources to maximize flexibility and customization options available to educators to meet individual student needs; (3) Providing educators with professional learning opportunities; (4) Ensuring that educators have access to online repositories of quality accessible digital content; (5) 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 (6) Exploring fiscally sound ways to support the creation and use of digital content. The recommendations of this paper regarding accessible digital learning materials are important and relevant for enhancing the educational experiences of all students. In some instances, the paper focuses on students with disabilities, given specific requirements in federal (and corresponding state) law that are placed on schools with respect to the education of these students. Before turning to these recommendations, this policy brief discusses open educational resources, examines the Universal Design for Learning Framework, and outlines federal law requirements regarding accessibility of instructional materials. [This brief was prepared in partnership with EducationCounsel LLC.]
State Educational Technology Directors Association. P.O. Box 10, Glen Burnie, MD 21060. Tel: 410-757-3342; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Rehabilitation Act 1973 (Section 504)