Module 5: How to Select Accessible Digital Materials
About This Module
The AEM Center offers this module as a part of an online learning series. Each module is self-paced and self-directed with technical assistance available from AEM Center staff.
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The AEM Center is only providing the content for these modules. The listed activities are suggested to encourage reflection as you interact with the content. If you are taking this module for credit, you may be required to submit assignments to your credit provider. The AEM Center itself will not be collecting assignments for these modules. If your district, state, or other agency is offering credit, please follow instructions provided to you for submitting evidence of participation directly to that agency.
All of the modules in the AEM series are pre-approved for the IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) credential. If you currently hold IAAP Certification, you can submit completed activities for CAECs through the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.
In addition to print-based textbooks and other related printed core materials (which were the topic of Module 4), educators and instructors can now select from a growing number of digital resources to support learning. While digital materials tend to be more flexible than printed ones, if accessibility is not considered from the start, these materials can present many of the same barriers as their print-based counterparts. In this module you will learn how to evaluate the accessibility of digital learning materials before they are procured for use in the classroom.
To begin, watch a 1-hour webinar. The webinar will introduce some of the key concepts and skills you will learn in this module, including:
- Understanding accessibility standards (Section 508, WCAG)
- VPAT - What it is and how to use it
- Sources of Digital Content
- OERs and Accessibility
- Five Things Educators Can do to Buy Accessible
After watching the webinar, choose a level of mastery based on your goals for this module:
Time Commitment: 1 hour
Goal: Explain the importance of selecting accessible digital materials to a colleague.
- AEM and the Digital Shift
- Understanding Accessibility in Digital Learning Materials (YouTube video)
- Procuring Accessible Digital Materials and Technologies for Teaching and Learning: The What, Why, Who, and How
Pretend that you have been invited to speak to your school board on the importance of accessibility as it considers a contract for a new digital resource for your district. What are three key points you would make in your pitch? Use the format that works best for you (text, audio, video) to compose your pitch.
Time Commitment: 2 hours
Goal: Select accessible digital materials for use in the classroom.
- The materials listed under the Entry Level
- Is It Accessible? Questions to Ask
Select a digital resource (learning management system, software or hardware) used in your district and research the following:
- Is there an accessibility statement somewhere on the developer's website detailing how accessibility has been addressed? If so, how easy was it to locate?
- Which accessibility standards does the developer claim to follow?
- Based on your own evaluation of the product with Is It Accessible? Questions to Ask, how well does the resource address the four POUR principles of accessible design?
- Is there a way to contact the developer to provide feedback based on your experiences with the product?
Create a summary of your responses to these questions in the format that works best for you (text, audio or video).
Time Commitment: 3 hours
Goal: Contribute to the development of a school-wide plan to ensure that digital materials for use by students are accessible.
- The materials listed under the Entry and Buld Levels
- Five Things Educators Can Do to Buy Accessible
- Understanding the VPAT
- Guidance for SEA and LEA Purchasing Agents
- Open Educational Resources (OERs)
You have been asked to join an adoption committee that will review all digital resources for your district. After identifying the person who is responsible for procurement in your district, set up a meeting where you can learn more about the process for vetting and acquiring digital materials. Using Five Things Educators Can Do to Buy Accessible and other resources from this module, draft a set of questions to prepare for your meeting.
After the meeting, create a summary of your findings from the interview in the format that works best for you (text, audio or video). Make sure to include 2-3 recommendations you would share at the next adoption committee meeting based on your findings,