Operations

  • Budget & Funding

    Before selecting instructional materials, the review team should have a basic understanding of the budget for these materials, as well as the funding options. A state/district may have a line item in the budget for instructional materials; however, other ancillary costs should also be considered, such as the delivery platform and the training required for teachers to implement these materials. More details about budget and funding are provided in these sections.

    Key Questions

    • What is your budget for instructional materials?
    • What are the costs for purchased digital materials?
    • What are the print costs of downloaded materials?
    • Will you incur licensing fees for programs or apps?
    • Will you need to purchase devices?
    • Will you need to increase your internet capacity to utilize the materials?
    • Will you incur additional costs to curate materials online?
    • Do you need to upgrade your content delivery platform?
    • Do all of your teachers and students have access to non-shared devices?
      • If not, how are you addressing this issue?
      • Have you considered a BYOD program?
  • Many states and districts are utilizing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), a financial estimate that includes metrics and processes to determine the total cost of acquiring and maintaining instructional materials. Shifting to digital materials requires critical consideration regarding both access to the instructional materials and maintaining the technology tools and services to support the content. Understanding the overall cost for selecting and implementing instructional materials helps determine your return on investment.

    Key Considerations

    • purchases of instructional materials
    • print costs of downloaded materials,
    • licensing fees for programs or apps;
    • purchase of devices;
    • increasing internet bandwidth;
    • implementing wireless spots;
    • a new or updated content delivery platform;
    • technology maintenance and updates;
    • curation of the materials;
    • professional development and training.
  • SETDA’s research results show that a plurality (24) of states have a textbook definition that includes the option for digital textbooks. Fifteen states have a definition for digital instructional materials/learning resources/digital text. By broadening the textbook definition, states can use traditional textbook funding for the acquisition of digital instructional materials.

    In South Carolina, the state legislature provides funding for core instructional materials adopted by the state. Districts and schools must use local funds for the purchase of supplemental materials.

    Key Questions

    • Do you have dedicated funding for the acquisition of instructional materials?
    • Do schools have additional, discretionary funds for instructional materials?
    • What are the differences between funding core materials versus supplemental materials?
    • What are the costs for purchased digital materials?
  • Budget models for instructional materials are changing to support the shift to digital learning. Transformative budgeting, a model that accomplishes innovation within existing budgets. The following three essential strategies characterize transformative budgeting when applied to technology readiness for digital learning:

    1. Alignment of technology expenditures with the goals in the district’s strategic plans.
    2. A cross-functional budget leadership team that brings together finance, technology, curriculum and instruction.
    3. Transformative zero-based budgeting – a process through which education leaders begin each budget cycle at zero in each category, and then add costs to the budget only when there is evidence that such costs are required to meet goals.

    Key Questions

    • What are the regulations and statutes on acquiring instructional materials?
    • What you can buy when – core vs supplemental, intervention?
    • What is the budget for selecting and adopting instructional materials?
    • Have you considered transformative budgeting (i.e., re-purposing funds)?
    • Does your budget differ for core materials versus supplemental materials?
    • What costs would you incur to modify the OER to fit your district/schools learning standards?
    • What is the cost comparison between using digital OER and printing OER materials?
    • Will you need to increase your internet capacity to utilize the materials?
    • Do you need to upgrade your content delivery platform?
    • Do all of your teachers and students have access to non-shared devices?
      • If not, how are you addressing this issue?
      • Have you considered a BYOD program?
  • Interoperability

    While states, districts, and schools have long collected certain education data for accountability purposes, there is growing interest in leveraging data from digital learning tools, online services, educational apps, and other technologies. However, with all the data available to us through technology, school leaders and educators still lack the ability to easily transform that data to information to help guide decisions about instruction, school administration, and operations. Further, the systems we use to collect, manage, analyze, and report on that data are often disconnected and don’t work well together.

    Key Questions

    Facilitator Guide

    interoperabilityThe Faciliator Guide – Interoperability provides education leaders with the information and resources they need to conduct a professional learning session. Participants will:

    • Understand interoperability needs
    • Review national interoperability standards and tools
    • Hear from exemplars on how to overcome challenges
    • Interact with your peers to learn what tools they use
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders
  • Curriculum Crosswalk

    As states, districts, and schools access quality digital content from a variety of resources, the crosswalk of curriculum standards across states present challenges. Teachers cannot easily use a resource as a primary instructional tool if the curriculum standards are not clearly defined in that resource. The process for the selection of curriculum standards and frameworks and the revision process for curriculum standards are often cumbersome. Teachers lack professional development opportunities around these new/changing curriculum standards. Another challenge in using and sharing student data is the change to competency-based learning from traditional graduation requirements.

    Learning Object Repository Use Case

    The state’s Learning Object Repository (LOR) contains quality instructional content curated by subject matter professionals. Content may be locally authored by educators around the state, purchased by the state, or imported from trusted partners through a tool such as the Learning RegistryThis tool allows recognized SEA’s to share Open Educational Resource (OER) metadata with one another for eventual placement in their LOR.  Options for sharing could include automatic transfer using semantic web protocols, or with a CSV import/export; and because the contents’ metadata has been standardized and systems are in place for the cross walk of academic standards (using ASN, IMS Global CASE-compliant tool, or similar), the consuming SEA will not be required to manually edit content records before making them available to the public.

    • Curation of content by subject matter professionals
    • Common metadata schema used in initial resource description
    • Automatic sharing of metadata and transfer of metadata automatically
    • Crosswalk of academic standards and alignment to resources in the learning resource repository
  • Student Data Privacy

    As the collection and shared access to data increases, it is essential that states, districts, and schools have an understanding of data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to uses of student data. The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), created by the US Department of Education, developed a best practice resources toolkit to help states, districts, and localities understand student data. Resources are organized by topic area and updated regularly. In 2014, PTAC released the Protecting Student Privacy while Using Online Educational Services report, which included recommendations to schools and districts with respect to privacy, security, and transparency when using online educational services, including software, mobile applications, and web-based tools. Federal laws that serve as the basis for state and local policies on student data include:

    In addition to these federal laws, states play an important role in developing and enforcing policies that supplement these laws to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of student data.

  • Acquisition

    Acquisition of quality instructional materials, whether they are print or digital, purchased or free, typically requires following some level of state or local procurement laws. When selecting quality instructional materials, the team needs to have a basic understanding of the acquisition policies in their state, district, or school.

    Key Questions

    • Does the state have guidelines?
    • Does the district have guidelines?
    • Who are the interested parties in acquisition?
      • Curriculum designers
      • Principals
      • Teachers
      • Procurement office
      • Budget office
    • What are the procurement guidelines/restrictions/impacts for:
      • Print core instructional materials?
      • Digital/online/blended core instructional materials?
      • Openly-licensed core instructional materials (OER)?
    • Are the acquisition requirements different for core materials vs. supplemental materials?
    • AEM Best Practices

      National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) issues best practices for publishers and software developers.

      • Topic Area:
      • Accessibility

      View Resource

    • CCSSO Criteria for Procuring and Evaluating High Quality Assessments

      The CCSSO Criteria for Procuring and Evaluating High-Quality Assessments provides criteria for states to consider as they purchase, develop, and evaluate high-quality state summative assessments aligned to college- and career-readiness standards.

      • Topic Area:
      • Selection

      View Resource

    • Improving Ed-Tech Purchasing

      Digital Promise This study focuses on software that teachers and students use for instruction rather than hardware or professional development services.

      • Topic Area:
      • Budget

      View Resource

    • TEC Data Platform

      TEC Data Platform is an online library of edtech market pricing data specifically developed for school districts. TEC worked with Lea(R)n, using LearnPlatform as the unified edtech management ecosystem that allows for the collection and analysis of district technology contracts. The platform allows member districts to access price reports on the products they are considering for first-time purchase or renewal.

      • Topic Area:
      • Budget
      • Selection

      View Resource

    • The Palm Initiative

      The AEM Center at CAST has launched the PALM Initiative (Purchase Accessible Learning Materials) to ensure that materials used in the classroom are designed to be useable by all students. This requires adjustments in the way materials are purchased, and that, in turn, will drive the availability of more flexible and accessible learning materials in the […]

      • Topic Area:
      • Accessibility
      • OER
      • Selection

      View Resource

  • When considering digital instructional materials, in addition to the quality standards for print materials, leaders need to ensure that the materials will be easily and seamlessly accessible for all learners. In addition, the digital version of materials should leverage technology tools and resources so that it is dynamic, interactive and engaging.

    Key Questions

    • If digital, how will you deliver the content ? Do you use a content delivery system/learning management system?
    • Is the content dynamic ? Does the digital version offer more than a simple PDF of the text ? Does it leverage technology tools to provide interaction and customization?
    • Is the content fully accessible ?
    • Is the content interoperable across systems ?
    • Does your school/district have the technology capacity to deliver content efficiently and effectively?
      • Does your school/district have adequate internet access to fully utilize the instructional materials (i.e., speed, reliability)?
      • Do students have ubiquitous device access in school?
      • Do students and teachers have ubiquitous device access out of school?
      • Is the broadband infrastructure sufficient for simultaneous access for most users?
      • Is wi-fi available on campus in all learning spaces ?
      • Do all students and teachers have internet access at home, and/or the community to effectively utilize the instructional material at any time?
    • Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning

      This SETDA report advocates for increasing robust broadband access both in and out of school to best prepare all students for college and careers. Recommendations include: Increase Infrastructure to Support Student-Centered Learning, Design Infrastructure to Meet Capacity Targets, Ensure Equity of Access for All Students Outside of School,  Leverage State Resources to Increase Broadband Access.

      • Topic Area:
      • Implementation
      • Planning
      • Resources

      View Resource

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