State leaders focus on digital instruction, Wi-Fi leadership

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) devoted much of 2017 to researching and sharing approaches to two main issues in edtech: the use of digital instructional materials and access to Wi-Fi and broadband services.

After evaluating different state procurement policies and practices for implementing digital instructional materials, the organization published a resource in October featuring case studies on California, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah.

The month prior, SETDA released a report on state Wi-Fi leadership, which explored successful Wi-Fi implementation approaches and ways to close the wireless equity gap in school districts.

During a recent gathering of SETDA members, Deputy Executive Director Christine Fox sat down with EdScoop TV to discuss the that research and the organization’s plans for continuing it into 2018.

“The work itself, in both cases, [is] in-depth research on a particular state and how they’ve tackled these areas,” Fox says. “It’s really an opportunity for states to learn from one another. … We chose states from a variety of regions and sizes to highlight how states have shown leadership so others can build upon those examples.”

In 2018, SETDA officials want to expand the online toolkit on quality instructional materials by going deeper into specific content areas, Fox says. They also plan to update the state broadband leadership report from 2016 and add an interactive map for state-by-state comparisons.

Looking ahead, Fox says she is going to be following conversations about interoperability of classroom technology.

“Once the students have access to the content … how do the systems talk to each other?” she says. “That’s a big area of concern when schools and districts are working with multiple vendors — the interoperability of their tools and resources.”

She will also be exploring ways to address the homework gap , she says, which exists for students whose schools are connected to broadband and whose teachers assign homework requiring an internet connection, but who do not have internet access in their homes.