Author Archive

State Leaders Impacting Students’ Lives – Teacher Appreciation Week

thank-a-teacherSETDA serves and supports state leaders from across the nation as well as territories from as far away as American Samoa, the Common Wealth of the Mariana Islands and Guam. Our members, state leaders, in turn support districts and schools in their state that in-turn support teachers and students directly. SETDA might appear to be the 5 degrees of separation from practitioners in the classroom, but always recognize their critical role in student achievement and success, and respect the importance of their work every day.SETDA maybe 5 degrees of separation from practitioners in the classroom however, our members always keep them at the forefront of their work. So often as we develop resources or plan for events, our members make comments such as “remember, it’s about the learning” or “how will that help improve instruction?” For SETDA, educational technology is not about the cool gadgets and devices, our work is about supporting leaders to impact the instructional practices so that learning is personalized, engaging and best preparing students for colleges and careers.

SETDA leaders from the public and private sector and our partners from a variety of national educational organizations will celebrate teachers next week. Members and partners, we thank YOU during Teacher Appreciation Week for your tireless efforts to close the achievement gap and the digital divide to help ensure that all students have the opportunity to equitable access to the digital tools necessary to support learning in the digital age.

Thank a teacher or education leader today. #thankateacher


Wow, What a Year! Top SETDA Resources 2015

As the year winds down, we reflect on our accomplishments from 2015. Needless to say, SETDA had a busy year! Through the continued leadership of the Board of Directors and the dedication of our members and staff, we’ve developed new reports, tools and publications to advance learning in the digital age. SETDA listened to the needs of our members and partners and focused efforts on developing resources around digital instructional materials, the implementation of digital learning, and equity of access. As we work together in our mission to build and increase the capacity of state and national leaders to improve education through policy and practice, we want to thank all of our wonderful SETDA members and partners for their knowledge and expertise. Keep reading to learn more about our 2015 resources and publications. We look forward to building on this work and new projects in 2016! To stay up to date on SETDA’s latest work subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @setda.

Navigating the ShiftNavigating The Digital Shift: Mapping The Acquisition of Digital Instructional Materials. This landmark report identifies policies and practices related to the implementation of digital instructional materials. The details included can help educate school and district administrators, policy makers and the private sector on the flexibility of state policies related to the procurement of digital instructional materials.

OER Case Studies. This online series of open educational resources (OER) case studies website supports SETDA’s work focused on digital instructional materials and offers a deep look into how these materials are implemented in a variety of educational settings.

DMAPSDigital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States (DMAPS). A unique online portal, the DMAPs is an online database providing state and territory policies and practices related to the acquisition of digital instructional materials in K-12 education. There is an interactive heat map so that users can view national trends as well as individual state profiles and exemplars.

Ensuring the Quality of Digital Content for Learning. This paper, published with Foresight Law and Policy, complements SETDA’s prior digital transition policy briefs by examining strategies for ensuring digital content quality.

E_rate_modernizationE-rate Modernization Resources. SETDA and Common Sense Kids Action developed a toolkit for state and local policymakers and digital leaders as they navigate the modernized E-rate program.

State Digital Learning Exemplars. SETDA and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation co-released this national report highlighting states with policies in support of 5 key areas: innovative funding streams and policy, digital content, human capacity, network infrastructure, and data management and privacy.  

Building Your Roadmap For 21st Century Learning Environments. SETDA collaborated with Cable Impacts and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning to create a free planning tool for schools and educators shifting to 21st learning environments.


EdTech Update This site and newsletter brings together the widest set of industry thought leaders and uses what the audience does with the content both collectively and individually to deliver the most interesting and relevant content to each reader. The Update condenses the latest and best thinking from hundreds of sources, including top bloggers.

The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning (GIDL) is a free web-based resource designed to support school and district leaders as they work to ensure that investments in digital learning spark positive results.

OER Implementation Sparks National Interest


“The Utah State Office of Education is proud to be a state leader in supporting OER for our schools and districts. OER materials provide our teachers with the ability to customize content for the specific needs of their classes. The use of OER encourages collaboration among educators and is often more cost effective than traditional textbooks.”  Brad C. Smith, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Utah

Open Educational Resources (OER) support has gained national attention recently, including U.S. Department of Education’s Secretary Duncan’s trip yesterday to Williamsfield Community Unified School District in Illinois to share progress on their shift to digital and open educational resources (OER). The district is implementing OER content from EngageNY and purchased devices for students with the savings from instructional materials. In addition, Secretary Duncan announced that Andrew Marcinek will serve in the Department’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) as the first “Advisor for Open Education.”

SETDA applauds ED’s support for advancing OER. SETDA has a track record of advocating for OER including developing resources and collaborating with others in support of OER. SETDA is a supporting partner of the K12 OER Collaborative and in August, joined over 100 other organizations signing a letter calling on the White House to ensure that educational materials created with federal funds are openly licensed and released to the public as OER. SETDA has published multiple policy briefs in support of OER and most recently published the OER in Action Case Studies. The Case Studies highlight the importance of state leadership in the shift to implementing OER and include details about implementation.

Trends toward implementing OER are increasing as educators leverage the ability to personalize learning for students. “I don’t feel trapped by the textbook. Instead, as a teacher, I can create the digital curriculum in the way the works best for my students,” states Tracy Poulsen, Nebo School District, Utah.

Want to learn more? Visit SETDA’s OER Case Studies for multiple resources and details on OER definitions, development, vetting and implementation.

Roadmap Supports building Digital Learning Environments



Cable Impacts, the Partnership for 21st Century Learning and SETDA collaborated to develop the Building Your Roadmap to 21st Century Learning Environments,

The Roadmap is a resource created specifically for school leaders, designed to them help craft a holistic strategy to create 21st century learning environments – classrooms where, in addition to traditional subjects like math, English and science, crucial skills like critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration are practiced, where learning is personalized, adaptive and even self-directed, and where students are ultimately equipped with skills needed for college, careers and life-long learning. The Roadmap consists of a website that provides school leaders with a framework for developing their own strategic plans, a report written by Dr. James Marshall of San Diego State University that takes a deeper dive into the details and research, and an infographic that visualizes the planning process.

The Roadmap is built around a deep dive into five interconnected topic areas: Learning, Teaching & Professional Learning, Assessment & Accountability, Leadership & Culture, and Infrastructure. In each topic, three stages of change are explored, guiding principles established, key questions asked, policies considered, exemplars researched and action steps agreed on.


The primary audience for the Roadmap project is the senior leadership at districts for whom the Roadmap can provide

  • guidance to help structure strategic planning;
  • research, data and best practice examples to inform the resulting plan; and
  • third-party affirmation for what they’re doing.

Leaders can use parts of the project deliverables with policymakers, parents and the press to help them grasp where the district is doing well and where help may be needed, to illustrate the holistic nature of this kind of systemic change, and to highlight the need for adequate time and resources to support change. Take a few moments to review this resource and share the links with your colleagues.


Looking for the Best Sources of Content for Ed Tech ?

Ed Tech Update has the answer…

ETU_logoSETDA is excited to share Ed Tech Update. This site and newsletter brings together the largest set of industry thought leaders writing about educational technology to support ed tech professionals.

Keeping up with experts publishing content all over the web is a challenge; it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the sources. And, even if you were able to identify and subscribe to them all, you’d have to wade through a ton of content every day to figure out what is the best and most relevant content for you.

Ed Tech Update pulls that rabbit out of the hat by…

  • Pulling together content from the WIDEST set of the most relevant sources;
  • Personalizing the content, once registered you see by using your LinkedIn profile, what you share on Twitter, what you click on either on the site or the newsletter, and what topics you tell it are the most relevant based on your interests;
  • Reviewing what Ed Tech professionals are reading, sharing, saving, etc. to figure out what is the most relevant, at that and every moment and highlights those sources;
  • Delivering great content through a personalized newsletter and on a site where thousands of articles are archived and easy to search.

The more you read and share, the better Ed Tech Update gets at delivering you EXACTLY the information that’s most important for you. The top leaders in the field give you their thoughts, insights and information on what is going on in the world of educational technology.

Sound a bit like MAGIC? The technical person behind Ed Tech Update was the original CTO for eHarmony.

Click here to see today’s hottest stories in the world of Ed Tech and to register for customized content.

Need Digital Learning Resources? Leverage SETDA’s Guide to Implementing Digital Learning

GIDL_300x300Successful digital learning implementation can meet a broad range of goals, including supporting the academic needs of students to ensure that they are college and career ready. As districts strive to implement or upgrade students’ digital learning experiences, a variety of factors impact implementation including planning, professional learning, software and digital content, infrastructure, devices, pedagogy and technology support. If you are in search of resources to support the shift to digital learning, SETDA’s Guide to Implementing Digital Learning (GIDL) provides guidance for schools and districts to consider as they heighten their focus to ensure smooth implementation of digital learning. In addition, this resource includes proven resources and digital learning examples from across the nation.

The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning is a free web-based resource to support school and district leaders as they work to ensure investments in digital learning spark positive results. GIDL includes six topic areas: planning, professional learning, content and software, broadband, devices and tech support. Each topic’s section includes background information, key considerations for implementation, resources and exemplars of digital learning in action.

On January 15, SETDA hosted a public webinar to explore how states and districts can empower and encourage educators to plan for and implement digital learning to improve students’ learning experiences. Presenters shared state examples of initiative that support digital learning implementation and how they will leverage GIDL. To access the webinar archive and resources, visit

Visit the new the Guide to Implementing Digital Learning website and use the wide range of resources and materials and share them with your colleagues in curriculum, assessment, instructional materials and IT.

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