Educators, policymakers, and ed-tech companies that want to know more about implementing digital instructional materials in each state can now access a free online tool developed by the State Educational Technology Directors Association, or SETDA.
The portal, which SETDA developed to encourage more implementation of digital instructional materials, is a free database with details about how each state, Guam, and the Mariana Islands approaches the procurement of digital education resources.
Called the Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States database—or DMAPS—the portal can be used to access:
- Overviews of state policies and practices
- State trends via a “heat map”
- A comparison of up to five states by topic
- Individual state profiles
- Profiles of district exemplars
States can also be compared in various topic areas, including guidance and policies, procurement, funding, and digital learning resources.
SETDA’s goal with the portal is to help schools and districts implement digital instructional materials “more efficiently and effectively,” according to Lan Neugent, SETDA’s interim executive director.
In an interview, Neugent said SETDA sent a survey to its members, asking questions of state leaders responsible for procurement, instructional materials and ed tech. SETDA also consulted with other organizations, such as the K-12 OER Collaborative and The Learning Accelerator, for their expertise in the field, he said.
A takeaway from the portal is the fact that “policy is key,” said Neugent. “If [a state] can’t set policy about digital resources, it can’t link companies with schools so teachers can really get what they want.” He said the work is a potential springboard to influence policy changes about procuring instructional materials to best meet students’ individual needs.
The project was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also has given Education Week several grants over the past decade, most recently for coverage of implementation of college- and career-ready standards.