Minnesota State Story
Minnesota first received a grant to focus on accessible educational materials in 2008. This first AEM project focused on large purchases of technology. After some time, the staff realized that "It is not about the stuff, it is about the policies, procedures, methodologies, and teaching people where they can access these materials as opposed to simply offering resources," said Kursten Dubbels, an AT Specialist. In the fall of 2017, Minnesota’s assistive technology project started a new 3-year program that includes an AEM component. Reviewers from the AT project started work on procurement guidelines (Quality Indicator 3) to help school districts ensure students get access to AEM in a timely manner. The staff in Minnesota recognized the importance of having good baseline data in order to better document progress, and working out the logistics and other details of a data collection system (Quality Indicator 5) will be a key focus going forward.
Minnesota relies on a range of internal and external resources for providing accessible educational materials to those who need them. Blind and visually impaired students are served primarily with resources ordered from the American Printing House for the blind, and these students’ individual needs are addressed using a modified SETT (Students, Environment, Task, Tools) framework. The Minnesota Resource Library oversees a loan program that allows qualifying blind and visually impaired students to trial a range of devices. For those who are not qualified under the blindness and visually impaired category, the state's assistive technology program, STAR, serves as a lending library. This allows individuals with other disabilities to also try out technologies and materials prior to purchase.
Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)
Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.View in glossary
Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.View in glossary
American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
Largest non-profit organization creating products and services for people who are visually impaired.View in glossary