Navigating the Digital Shift: Mapping the Acquisition of Digital Instructional Materials: This research paper provides an analysis of state policy trends related to digital instructional materials, essential conditions for implementation, an update on the states’ progress towards SETDA’s Out of Print recommendations and highlights several next steps for consideration as leaders move to advance the learning experiences in the digital age.

Through a survey and independent research, SETDA gathered details for all 50 states, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) regarding state policies and guidelines for the acquisition, vetting, and funding of instructional materials. In addition, SETDA interviewed lead educators from a variety of educational and governmental organizations, state instructional materials leads and state procurement officers. The full publication strives to inform educators, non-traditional instructional materials publishers, technology developers, and investors on the increasingly supportive environment of states with respect to innovation around digital instructional materials.

Next Steps
As the education community continues to invest in digital instructional materials and resources, SETDA encourages educators and policymakers to support the transition strategically.

  1. Essential Conditions: Support the essential conditions necessary for the successful acquisition and implementation of digital instructional materials for successful digital learning including Leadership, Equity of Access, Accessibility for All Students, Interoperability Considerations and Student Data & Privacy.
  2. State Acquisition Policies: Conducting Business with States: States and districts should work to make the procurement process more transparent, and develop specific procedures to aid educators and the private sector in navigating the process.
  3. Funding and Budget Implications: Strategic short- and long-term budgeting for bandwidth, devices, and digital instructional materials is fundamental as states, districts, and schools move towards digital learning environments. The coordination of state purchasing contracts and the encouragement of consortia purchasing can support the transition to digital as well. When acquiring digital instructional materials, the cost associated with access to broadband and devices is a pivotal factor.
  4. State Policies: Implementation, Adoption, and Vetting of Digital Instructional Materials: States have the opportunity to encourage the acquisition and implementation of digital instructional materials by providing guidance for schools and districts regarding best practices related to instructional materials adoption, professional learning for educators, and recommended vetting practices for any instructional materials regardless of delivery platform or licensing type.