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K-12 & AEM

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A key point regarding the use of accessible educational materials and technologies (AEM) is that they provide access to learning content and activities, diminish the impact of sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities, and offer opportunities to improve learning. It is important to recognize, however, that access to content does not, by itself, guarantee a quality learning experience. Paying closer attention to the ways in which students interact with AIM and to insights from the learning sciences can inform efforts to improve the quality of learning experiences for all learners, including students with print-related disabilities.

Provisions introduced to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 help to improve the delivery of accessible instructional materials (AIM) to students with print-related disabilities. The AEM Center is responsible for supporting the implementation of AIM but now also supports the use of all accessible educational materials and technologies (AEM). This includes print sourced materials, those which are born digital and the technology used to deliver them to the learner. It also includes other accessible technologies used to support learning and communications.

Note Regarding AEM & AIM

AIM [emphasis on INSTRUCTIONAL] is defined under IDEA, section 612(a)(23) and pertains to print sourced textbooks, core related instructional materials and accessible materials that are produced from those sources. SEAs/LEAs are required to comply with provisions related AIM.

The term AEM [emphasis on EDUCATIONAL] as authorized under 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v) and sections 674 and 681(d) of the IDEA (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) means print- and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials that are required by SEAs and LEAs for use by all students, produced or rendered in accessible media, written and published primarily for use in early learning programs, elementary, or secondary schools to support teaching and learning. AEM also includes the technologies used to deliver educational materials and activities.

Related Resources from the AEM Center

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

Print-based educational materials converted into specialized formats, related to the requirements of the IDEA statute.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law governing rights of children with disabilities to receive free and appropriate public education in least restrictive environment.

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Accessible Technology

Technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Incorporates the principles of universal design.

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Local Education Agency (LEA)

Agency legally authorized to provide administrative control or direction of publically funded schools.

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Additional Resources

Advancing Deeper Learning Under ESSA: Seven Priorities
Rafael Heller & Carol Gerwin
Turning the Corner Post-Conference Brief
This brief recommends seven ways for supporters of deeper learning to take advantage of the changing education policy landscape, as authority shifts from the federal government to states and local districts. The authors outline priorities to help the nation’s high schools move from a largely inequitable system to one that prepares all students for college and careers, with the full range of academic, personal, and social skills needed for life success. The ideas grew out of “Turning the Corner: Toward a New Policy Agenda for College, Career, & Civic Readiness,” a national meeting Jobs for the Future (JFF) held in October 2015 that brought together over 100 influential figures from across the education world to discuss next steps for the deeper learning movement.