Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor

Open-Access Ed Tech Should Be Aligned to State Standards

July 19, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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


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.
Student Well-Being Webinar
When SEL Curriculum Is Not Enough: Integrating Social-Emotional Behavior Supports in MTSS
Help ensure the success of your SEL program with guidance for building capacity to support implementation at every tier of your MTSS.
Content provided by Illuminate 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.
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.

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 Homework Gap Could Be Back in Full Force If Lawmakers Don't Act, Education Groups Say
COVID relief funds helped give millions of students internet access during the pandemic, but the money could run out, advocates say.
2 min read
Young girl working on computer at home.
Ed-Tech Policy Reported Essay Remote Learning Isn’t Just for Emergencies
Schools were less prepared for digital learning than they thought they were.
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Ed-Tech Policy Opinion Why Are We Turning Our Backs on Remote Learning?
Neither the detractors nor defenders of remote learning are fully in the right, argues one superintendent.
Theresa Rouse
5 min read
Illustration of girl working on computer at home.
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor Using E-Rate to Address the Homework Gap
The FCC's E-rate program can provide relief to many families, says this letter author from the Internet Society.
1 min read