Expanding Learning Opportunities for AllThe National AEM Center at CAST is a federally funded technical assistance center based out of the nonprofit organization CAST. The mission of CAST is to remove learning barriers by creating inclusive and flexible learning environments. With a goal of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), they know accessibility is a primary factor that needs to be available. We spoke with Luis Perez, a Technical Assistant Specialist at CAST, and he describes accessibility as, “the welcome mat of UDL. It is the first steps to creating a full UDL environment.” He further explained to us, “You need to be able to interact with the environment, receive the information, respond and if we don’t take care of those accessibility requirements upfront, it makes it that much more difficult for students to have access to higher learning skills.” Gaining access to learning tools like this is a life changer!
Programs and ResourcesAEM at CAST provides a multitude of resources to help individuals of all ages and abilities learn and develop necessary skills needed for furthering education, as well as workforce development. For people unfamiliar with AEM’s, regardless of age or need, they provide a collection of frequently asked questions and need to know information on their Quick Starts website. They also provide a free online course, open to everyone. The course consists of 5 sections, listed below:
- Introduction to Accessible Educational Materials and Technologies
- How to Make your Documents Accessible
- How to Locate Captioned Videos and Make your Own
- How to Find Specialized Formats of Print Materials
- How to Select Accessible Digital Materials