SETDA Says

Post from September 24th, 2012

Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age

Today the State Educational Technology Directors Association
(SETDA) released Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age.
This report highlights the sea change underway in the multi-billion dollar U.S.
K-12 instructional materials market enabled by recent technology and
intellectual property rights innovations. With a focus on the ultimate impact
on student learning, the report provides examples of lessons learned from
recent digital and open content/open educational resources (OER) initiatives by
leading states and school districts. It concludes by offering comprehensive
recommendations for government, industry, and educators to ensure that the
inevitable shift to digital instructional materials improves student
achievement and engagement and efficiently uses scarce resources.

Given existing trends and the experiences of leading states
and districts, the core recommendation of the SETDA report is that states and
districts commit to beginning the shift from print to digital instructional
materials with the next major "textbook" adoption cycle, completing
the transition within the next five years (by no later than the 2017-18 school
year).

“In a time of tight budgets and increasing expectations,
many schools today purchase both print and digital instructional materials in a
duplicative and uncoordinated fashion, with far too little attention to quality
and value for money,” said Douglas Levin, SETDA executive director. “If the shift
to digital instructional materials is not made immediately, major funding will continue
to be directed to traditional materials that will tie the hands of students and
educators to static, inflexible content for years to come. Only if education
leaders act now, can they influence the reimagination of the K-12 textbook.”

Out of Print is a product of
collaboration among state educational technology leaders, leading technology
companies, publishers, and policy and practitioner experts committed to driving
innovation in K-12 instructional materials. The numerous examples in the report
of successful digital and open content initiatives highlight the dramatic
opportunity before us to modernize a decades old approach to textbook adoption.

“We are proud of the work we have done in Indiana to
increase technology options for schools. Increased flexibility to select
digital instructional materials and new state-level grants are spreading
high-quality, innovative initiatives across our state,” said Dr. Tony Bennett,
Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This effort has created a
thriving 21st century learning environment for Hoosier children and is helping
to drive student success to an all time high.”

 As the report concludes, “reimagining an integral element of
the educational system within five years is a daunting task.  Yet, as this report highlights, many states
and districts have traveled partially down the path already – and our students
are ready. If we are serious about offering a college and 21st career ready
education for all students, we do not have the luxury of further delay.”

 To access the full report, visit: http://setda.org/web/guest/outofprint

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