- The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has issued a new resource, "State Procurement Case Studies: Spotlight on Digital Materials Acquisition," aimed at sharing best practices and well-defined processes for digital course material procurement, eSchool News reports.
- Demonstrating that the process isn't one-size-fits-all for any state, California has implemented an adoption cycle that weighs print and digital formats on an eight-year cycle per subject, while Indiana doesn't engage in statewide resource procurement or have a policy in place, opting instead to leave that in the hands of each district.
- Meanwhile, Louisiana has a state statute in place requiring its state board of education to make efforts to guarantee digital versions of materials are available for every title on the state's list of approved resources, while Utah's state board considers a list of recommended materials two times each year.
SETDA's new resource highlights a common pitfall of best practices: What worked for one state, district or school might not necessarily work as-is in another. A variety of factors ranging from geography and population density to finances and politics can derail efforts that ran smoothly in an entirely different location.
That said, whether they're considering them for the exact same reasons, most states (and the districts within them) now seem to have digital resources on their minds. It makes sense from a number of perspectives: interactive content can boost student engagement, digital resources can be updated and don't require the costly replacement of an entire textbook library to do so, which also prevents additional unnecessary paper waste.
Of course, our favorite piece of advice regarding any tech or resource procurement remains the following gem from Scott McLeod, an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Colorado Denver and the founder of CASTLE: When considering a product, resource or other vendor pitch, ask, "How does this empower students to do amazing things that make a difference in the world?"