digital resources

How 4 states are purchasing digital resources

A new resource offers a look at 4 states' processes and challenges as they obtain digital resources and materials.

“This paper shows that there is no one-size fits all for the procurement process,” stated Dr. Tracy Weeks, Executive Director, SETDA. “However, this important work provides strategies that states can leverage to provide leadership for their LEAs.”

“As content shifts to digital, now more than ever state leadership is critical to help ensure students have access to quality materials that are aligned to standards,” said Dr. Lou Maynus, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, West Virginia Department of Education. “This resource can support state and district leaders in West Virginia and across the country implement quality materials.”

California uses an 8-year adoption cycle per academic subject and considers both print and digital formats for instructional materials. Those materials must meet 100 percent of adopted state standards in addition to other evaluation criteria. Districts are not required to adopt the instructional materials reviewed by the state, however–they are charged with determining their own local needs and can adopt and implement materials in formats they choose. And as of 2014, a publisher or manufacturer submitting a printed instructional material for adoption by the state or local board must also ensure that the material is available in an equivalent digital format.

Indiana doesn’t have an adoption policy for digital instructional materials and does not procure resources for schools or districts on a statewide level. Instead, each district has the authority to procure and use digital resources and innovative educational technologies as they see fit to meet educational goals and requirements. The state does offer some guidance and resources for districts to use in their instructional materials procurement, and state funding that was available for textbooks is now also available for digital instructional materials.

Louisiana has enacted a state statute encouraging the adoption of digital instructional materials to include digital resources, and it requires the state board of education to make every effort to ensure that electronic versions are available for every title approved for placement on the state list of approved instructional materials.

Utah‘s state board of education approves a recommended list of instructional materials twice a year, but districts are free to select other materials. The state also holds several statewide contracts for instructional materials, including contracts with the Utah Education Network and the Utah Online Library.

Laura Ascione

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