Purchase Accessible Learning Materials
As classrooms incorporate more digital technology, it becomes increasingly important that materials used in the classroom are designed to be usable by all students from the start. This requires adjustments in the way materials are purchased, and that, in turn, will drive the availability of more flexible and accessible learning materials in the marketplace. The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (NC-AEM) launched the PALM Initiative (Purchase Accessible Learning Materials) to ensure this change happens as soon as possible.
The E-Book Market Brief begins to highlight some of the problems that we are seeing in the commercial and open education resource markets. The problem extends to purchasing decisions for hardware, software, e-learning platforms, apps, and more. This is a problem worth solving. Publishers will respond when states and local education agencies demand accessible learning materials directly from the source.
Draft purchase order and contract language has been proposed for use by state and local education agencies. In order to increase demand for accessible digital instructional materials, the language is offered to support requests for accessible materials with supporting documentation. A document, Guidance for SEA and LEA Purchasing Agents has been posted below with the proposed language and related resources.
The AEM Center has also been asked to provide guidelines that publishers and developers can use when creating accessible digital instructional learning materials. A DRAFT document, Accessible Digital Learning Materials—Publisher/Developer Best Practices Guidelines has also been posted below.
Take Action: What You Can Do
The following resources are “ready to go,” or you may customize them to fit your needs.
- Require that all materials purchased are fully accessible.
- Incorporate accessibility into your policies and practices.
- Include accessibility in contract language.
- Create lesson plans and units that include accessible materials.
- Introduce PALM at a staff meeting.
- Form an accessibility action team.
- Talk with administrators, technology coordinators, and purchasing coordinators about accessibility.
- Create an accessibility action group in your child’s school or district.
- Inform school administrators about accessibility.
- Talk with your child’s teacher about accessibility.
- Talk with other parents and parent groups about accessibility.
- Present PALM to your stakeholders.
- Share the PALM documents through your networks.
- Include accessibility in your mission statement.
- Form an accessibility taskforce.
- Accessible Digital Learning Materials—Publisher/Developer Best Practices Guidelines.