STOP! Read This Before You Purchase Your Instructional Materials, Textbooks, etc…!!!

 

4 adults meeting

4 Adults Meeting- Instructional Materials Committee

Attention District Textbook Coordinators and Others!

Have you ever  been frustrated when trying to copy and paste text from a pdf that’s been locked (or possibly was just a scanned paper copy/picture)?  Then you know a little about the concept that just because content is in a digital format does not mean it’s accessible/able to be easily used… While this may at times be frustrating to us, consider if you were a student who has decoding and comprehension issues and needs to use text-to-speech software, but can’t because the format is incompatible/inaccessible.

If there was a way to save money and improve student performance while making purchasing decisions, you’d want to know about it, correct?  When those who make purchasing decisions about instructional materials request to publishers that these materials be provided in a format accessible/usable to ALL students, then additional money is not spent on the need to retrofit or convert materials into usable content, or the need for staff to read aloud to students. When ALL students are able to access and use the district’s instructional materials, student performance goes up.

Did you know that publishers of digital content CAN provide instructional materials in accessible formats; we just need to ask (and include it in our procurement language)!  You can change the behavior of publishers and developers of digital educational content. Publishers say that they seldom are asked about accessibility; we simply need more districts helping to create demand.

One publisher that has listened is Pearson!  Their student editions of Pearson HTMLbooks  are designed to be fully compatible with assistive technologies.  Let’s spend out instructional materials allotment wisely.

As you/your district makes plans to purchase digital textbooks, reading materials, eLearning delivery systems, software, hardware, and more, you can help create the demand for accessible/usable materials.  AISD’s AT department implemented changes to procurement language during a bid for credit recovery software and required vendors provide the district with 508 compliant computer-based curriculum!

To help you get started, here are four prepared documents providing some basic background along with more specific guidance for you to share with others on your collaborative (Textbook Coordinator, IT, Curriculum Directors, AT, etc)  purchasing team:

  • PALM_Introduction.doc
  • Why_Buy_Accessible.doc
  • What_are_Accessible_Learning_Materials.doc
  • Guidance_for_Purchasers.doc (with example Procurement Language) !

These documents have been posted to http://aim.cast.org/learn/practice/palm.

If there is anything I can do to assist, please feel free to contact me at Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net   or 512-919-5246.

 

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