A clear picture of state policy and practice
Sharing state’s regulations and process for acquiring digital instructional materials
Several years ago the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) developed an online database called the State Education Policy Center which housed data related to state policies on broadband access, online assessments and professional learning. Both the website’s public user and administrative interfaces were clunky and hard to negotiate such that it was difficult for SETDA staff to keep the site up-to-date with current information. With a large amount of new policy information recently gathered and more on the way, SETDA asked Blue Marble to create a new website that would make the data more accessible and easier to manage.
The most significant aspect of the project was the data that resulted from a survey SETDA had issued to all 50 states and two US territories. It was a huge amount of information concerning the procurement of digital instructional materials that is constantly changing. The data needed to be housed in such a way that users could understand the big picture as well as pull out detailed data points as needed. Both SETDA and BMC teams worked hard to comb through and organize this data into a computer-readable format.
Because SETDA intends to add additional topics to the site, it was also important to develop an information architecture that would would allow the site to expand and layer multiple data sets.
A central component of the new website is a data-driven interactive map that helps users easily see what’s happening across the nation with various topics related to digital instructional materials. From this map users can access a detailed profile of their particular state. A comparative table enables users to select up to five states to run a side-by-side analysis and ultimately understand the policies, requirements, and process for online content procurement as it relates to their particular situation.
Making policy data accessible and useful
- State and district leaders better understand policies related to procuring instructional materials in order to best meet student needs and potentially impact policy changes.
- With this information, publishers, technology developers, and funders know which states are open to innovations and understand individual states’ processes for acquiring digital instructional material.
- State profiles and data sets can easily be shared, exported or printed.
- SETDA staff have been able to easily adjust data points within the website’s CMS.