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National Organizations Unveil New, Updated Tools to Improve Digital Accessibility in Education

Washington, DC – New and updated tools released today will help school leaders ensure their digital resources are accessible to all students, parents, and guardians.

Developed by the Center on Technology and Disability and CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), the resources include an updated accessibility toolkit, a district-level case study and planning rubric spotlighting the practices of Indiana’s Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, as well as a state-level digital accessibility case study of the Utah Board of Education.

“Technology has opened the door to incredible, personalized learning opportunities. However, accessibility of digital content and resources is now an essential requirement, as highlighted in the most recent National Education Technology Plan. Education leaders must ensure that their content and materials are accessible to ALL students or else our increasingly digital education will lead to more inequality,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

“The legal requirements are clear that ALL students have a right to accessible materials that are designed or enhanced in a way that they are usable to meet the needs of the largest number of students. We now have the resources, tools, and strategies to make accessibility an integral part of the educational experience to foster academic success and increase student and parental engagement,” said Tracy Gray, Managing Director, American Institutes for Research, and Lead for State and District Technical Assistance, Center on Technology and Disability.

Produced in 2016, the Digital Accessibility Toolkit: What Education Leaders Need to Know defines accessibility, underscores why the issue is important, explains how to procure accessible technology, identifies the legal requirements, and describes the benefits of digital accessibility. The kit has been updated with key information concerning the new requirements for information and communication technologies covered under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Aligned with the WCAG 2.0, the new requirements place U.S. standards on par with international standards for accessibility.

The organizations also developed case studies to demonstrate the effective accessibility efforts on the local and state levels. The district spotlight shows how Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation implemented a unified approach to leverage best practices and meet the needs of students with disabilities and their peers. The case study is accompanied by the rubric Bartholomew used to closely evaluate their classroom resources. The state-level case study details how the Utah Board of Education strengthened its state education agency infrastructure to support the delivery of accessible digital materials for all students and stakeholders.

To learn more and explore the new resources, please visit: cosn.org/accessibility.

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