Opinion
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor

Open-Access Ed Tech Should Be Aligned to State Standards

July 19, 2016 1 min read

To the Editor:

Amazon recently followed its competitors Apple, Google, and others into the education technology space with the launch of its Inspire platform, an open education resource (“Will Amazon Change the Way Teachers Find Lesson Plans?”). But, so far, there is little evidence that such online portals delivering mountains of lesson materials have done much to improve teachers’ instruction.

Most do spend a lot of time looking for classroom lesson materials. In a recent RAND Corp. study, my colleagues and I found that almost all mathematics and English/language arts teachers select or develop their own instructional materials for classroom lessons, and almost half reported spending four hours a week or more doing so. According to the study, almost 90 percent of elementary teachers and half of secondary teachers seek out instructional materials from online sources, including both targeted sites like TeachersPayTeachers.com and more general-interest ones, such as Pinterest.

Indeed, teachers can and should have the freedom to select and develop at least some of their own instructional resources.

To improve their instruction, teachers need high-quality instructional materials that are organized into coherent units, and lessons that are sequenced and include material that meets the needs of both struggling students and more advanced students over time and through a logical progression of skills.

Teachers also need to understand how those materials align with state and district standards and assessment requirements. State and local officials could help with this step by rigorously evaluating materials from a number of online sources and using what is available to build coherent curricula for teachers that align with state standards and assessments.

Policymakers and educators should be seeking ways for educational technology to add coherence to teachers’ worlds, instead of just more information.

Julia Kaufman

Policy Researcher

RAND Corp.

Arlington, Va.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 20, 2016 edition of Education Week as Open-Access Ed Tech Should Be Aligned to State Standards

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Ed-Tech Policy Q&A Acting FCC Chair: The 'Homework Gap' Is an 'Especially Cruel' Reality During the Pandemic
Under the new leadership of Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is exploring broadening the E-Rate to cover home-connectivity needs.
5 min read
Internet connectivity doesn't reach all the houses
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty
Ed-Tech Policy Millions of Students Got Free Home Internet for Remote Learning. How Long Will It Last?
Time and money are running out on temporary agreements between districts and ISPs. Broadband advocates want a federal solution.
10 min read
Cupped hands hold a precious wi-fi symbol
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Digital Vision Vectors/Getty
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Ed-Tech Policy Whitepaper
Using E-rate Funds to Enhance School Networks
This guide offers a roadmap to help K-12 leaders successfully leverage federal funds to expand digital learning opportunities for their students.
Content provided by Spectrum Enterprise
Ed-Tech Policy FCC Takes One Step Closer to Offering E-Rate Funds for Remote Learning Technology
Advocates have urged the FCC to loosen its rules on E-Rate funds so schools can pay for technology that helps students learn remotely.
2 min read
Andrew Burstein, 13, participates in a virtual class through Don Estridge High Tech Middle School in Delray Beach, Fla., this school year.
Andrew Burstein, 13, participates in a virtual class through Don Estridge High Tech Middle School in Delray Beach, Fla., this school year.
Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP