Learning Resources

Report: Leadership, Transparent Procurement, Flexible Budgeting Key to Digital Materials Acquisition

As states and districts increasingly adopt digital instructional materials, educators, administrators, policy makers and providers need a strategy to support the successful acquisition and implementation of those materials, according to a new report from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA).

The report, "Navigating the Digital Shift: Mapping the Acquisition of Digital Instructional Materials," provides information and guidance on the process of acquiring and implementing digital instructional materials. It is based on SETDA's 2015 Digital Instructional Materials Survey, as well as independent research and interviews with educators from educational and government organizations.

Key findings from the report include:

  • States and districts need to increase the transparency of the procurement process;
  • States and districts also need to provide specific procedures to help educators and the private sector through the procurement process;
  • States, districts and schools need strategic short and long-term budgeting to plan for bandwidth, devices and digital instructional materials;
  • States should provide districts and schools with guidance related to best practices for adopting digital instructional materials;
  • States should provide professional development opportunities for teachers to learn how to implement digital instructional materials successfully in the classroom; and
  • States should provide recommended vetting practices for all instructional materials.

According to the report, successful digital learning initiatives also require support for state and local leadership, equity of access to broadband and devices both in and out of school, accessibility for all students, interoperability with complementary systems and protection of student data and privacy.

SETDA recently created the Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States (DMAPS) portal, a free, online directory for information about each state's education technology standards, plans and planning requirements, and policies and procedures related to the acquisition of digital instructional materials.

The full report, "Navigating the Digital Shift: Mapping the Acquisition of Digital Instructional Materials," is available as a free, downloadable PDF from SETDA's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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