Navigating the Digital Shift

“Broadband access is now as vital a component of K-12 school infrastructure as electricity and water, and this access must be seamless to maximize digital learning opportunities.”

SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) has released a new report that complements an online database that maps out the details of each state’s policies and practices regarding the acquisition of digital learning materials.

Just this year, seven states have enacted statutes that require the implementation of digital instructional materials within the next five years. Legislators now recognize the benefits of digital learning that are available to students 24/7. More than half the states report the creation of policies and procedures for digital instructional materials companies to follow when selling to districts.

This is a significant shift in the marketplace.

SETDA outlines the next steps and critical issues to increase the availability of quality digital instructional materials including:

  • Leadership: State and local leadership is vital for developing a shared vision, empowering leaders, and cultivating a culture of collaboration and innovation for digital learning environments.
  • Equity of Access: Both high-speed broadband and device access, in and out of school, are critical to fully implementing digital instructional materials to meet college and career goals.
  • Accessibility for All Students: Providing accessibility for all students must be a consideration when acquiring, developing, and implementing digital instructional materials.
  • Interoperability Considerations: The acquisition of complementary systems that work together is a necessary condition to efficiently implement digital instructional materials and resources and maximize the benefits of those resources.
  • Student Data & Privacy: Developing and enforcing policies that supplement federal laws to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of student data is critical.
  • Conducting Business with States: States and districts should work to make the procurement process more transparent, and develop specific procedures to aid educators and the private sector in navigating the process. 
  • Funding and Budget Implications: Strategic short- and long-term budgeting for bandwidth, devices, and digital instructional materials is fundamental as states, districts, and schools move towards digital learning environments. 
  • State Policies: States have the opportunity to encourage the acquisition and implementation of digital instructional materials by providing guidance for schools and districts regarding best practices related to instructional materials adoption, professional learning for educators, and recommended vetting practices for any instructional materials regardless of delivery platform or licensing type.

With this report, SETDA provides educators, legislators, and the education vendor community with actionable information to support the transition to digital instructional materials in our schools. It is important for leaders in each of these sectors to work together to ensure that we advance digital learning experiences in public schools.