Wednesday, February 9, 2011

TEA Update: New Options with Digital Content in Texas

Notes from a TCEA 2011 Concurrent Session

John Lopez
Texas Education Agency

All TEA Power Points from TCEA will be uploaded to TCEA Project Share group for this conference.
Commissioner's List added Electronic Textbooks. These became available for districts to order in the Spring of 2011.

Format of digital materials being submitted is all over the map. Some are PDFs and some are more robust and interactive.
HB 4294 - Passed in 81st Legislative Session - Electronic Textbooks
  • Established Commissioner's List
  • Materials were reviewed by a panel of experts
  • Commissioner Rules have been approved
  • Commissioner shall update the list
  • Commissioner can remove materials from the list
  • Must be recommended by a panel of experts prior to removal
  • State will pay for electronic textbooks on Commissionaer's list
  • Districts may choose from either the SBOE list or the Commissioner's list
  • State textbook funds can be used to purchase technological equipment
  • Technological equipment used to support instruction for digital content
  • Section 5 (C-1)
    Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a school district or open enrollment charter school must purchase a classroom set of textbooks adoped by SBOE
Some rules are going to need to be aligned. For example, fines for errors need to be restructured to give time for correction (these corrections were not as feasable with print textbooks).

Commissioner's List of Approved Vendors for Proclamation 2010 and 2011
  • AWARD Publishing
  • iStation
  • Compass Learning
  • APEX Leaarning
  • Achieve 3000
  • A+Rise - ELPS - every teacher in Texas has access to these resources through Project Share Epsilen
  • Glencoe/McGraw Hill
  • Pearson Longman
How do you get to the products?
 If a district selects these products, TEA sends the money to the district, and the district contacts the vendor to order the books. There are Conforming and NonConforming lists.

 Aside: No guarantees Project Share will be funded in the next biennium although it is assumed it will be continued due to TEA's investment in it.

Open Source Textbooks - HB2488
  • Electronic textbook available for downloading free of charge
  • Cost may be incurred if district orderes printed copies
  • Allows the SBOE to adopt an open-source textbook at the secondary level
  • Districts shall annually certify that they cover the TEKS
  • SBOE will place on conforming/nonconforming list
  • Written by university faculty
  • Eligible university determines the level of qualifications with TEKS
  • Allows the Commissioner of Education to purchase state-developed open source textbooks.
  • Property of state
  • Commisssioner shal provide a license to school or district
  • Commissioner shall seek to recover costs for developing, revising, and distributing open source textbooks
  • Districts will be able to modify the open source textbooks
Attorney General's Opinion
  • Does a classroom set apply to lower grades? YES
  • Can a university open source textbook qualify as a classroom set? YES
  • Does the right to take home a textbook extend to classroom set? YES
  • Can the SBOE rfuse to place an open source book on the conforming or nonconforming list? NO
  • Can the SBOE fine or sanctiona university as a publisher? YES
  • Is the distict eligible for textbook creditif it selects an open source textbook? YES
  • Who owns technological equipment? The state does not own the equipment.
What to Watch For?
  • New legislation - set up keyword searches in Google to email you when there is activity! Will be effective September 1 - Appropriation is end of May so the timeline will be very compressed for getting materials to classrooms in the Fall. Also need time for PD.
  • District Decisions with instructional materials - get teachers involved and professionally develop them to use digital materials
  • Impact in the classroom - we need to allow mobile devices to be used in the classroom to leverage this content
  • Mobile Devices
  • Look at your district technology plan to make sure they are in place for eRate and Title II Part D funding