Database Provides Access to State-by-State Tech Ed Policy

A new database launched by the State Educational Technology Directors Association will provide easy access to information about technology policies being implemented by every state in the U.S. The front-end for the database, called the State Education Policy Center, allows users to select and view any technology initiatives related to education being pursued in every part of the country.

The SETDA is in excellent position to supply this information, as its membership is made up of educational technology directors from each of the 50 states. The organization pursues the goals of facilitating private-public partnerships to further adoption of technology in the field of education as well as share best practices and provide professional development opportunities.

"The SEPC is intended to provide up-to-date information regarding select technology-related education policies and practices to inform school reform and improvement efforts. The aggregation of these state policies is unique and will benefit state, federal and local policymakers, researchers, private sector (corporate and philanthropic) investors, and practitioners," according to information released by SETDA. Information in the database was collected and verified by members of SETDA and state departments of education.

The SEPC website features a clickable map of the United States as well a drop-down list of all the categories covered in the database. Selecting a location brings up a link to policy documents in categories including K-12 broadband deployment, progress in implementing online assessment systems, computer-based or digital instructional materials and general information about the state and its education policy.

Information pages for each topic are available for viewing online and users will be able to download them beginning January 2013.

Perusing the information for New York State, one can click and find out that at the moment, the state is not pursuing any concrete plans for broadband deployment for its secondary and primary schools. When it comes to online testing requirements, a part of the online assessment section, the state belongs to two consortia working on developing a unified set of standards: Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and National Center and State Collaborative. Users are also informed that there's no legislation on the books mandating that New York school use state-wide assessment exams.

"Knowledge mining and information management is at the core of our combined and shared interest," said Jose Ortega, administrator of the Education Technology Office in the California Department of Education. "The State Education Policy Center provides a central repository of critical topics and policies that will help advance our own work through the experiences of our fellow states."

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