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Expansion of TASA on iTunes U to Assist Districts with HB 5 Requirement

AUSTIN—The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) today announced the expansion of digital content resources in TASA on iTunes U to include content for college preparatory courses in mathematics and English language arts that school districts may use to satisfy requirements in House Bill 5.

In addition to changes made to testing and graduation requirements, HB 5 requires school districts to partner with at least one institution of higher education to develop and provide college preparatory courses in math and English language arts for 12th grade students who do not meet college readiness standards on either a STAAR end-of-course exam, a college entrance exam, a higher education screener, or in their coursework, indicating that they are not ready to perform entry-level college coursework.

The bill requires the college preparatory courses to be developed in collaboration with faculty from both the high school and partnering college or university to ensure the courses are aligned with college readiness expectations. In addition, each district, in consultation with their higher education partner, is required to develop or purchase instructional materials for the courses. The college preparatory courses must be made available to students by the 2014-2015 school year.

To assist districts, TASA will be working with experienced teachers, high school content specialists, and higher education faculty to create a collection of digital resources in TASA on iTunes U that districts may use in developing their college preparatory courses. This collection of digital resources is expected to be available by late spring.

"The digital resources we are creating in TASA on iTunes U will provide a road map for districts as they begin the process of developing college preparatory courses in math and English," said TASA Executive Director Johnny Veselka.

iTunes U is the world's largest online catalog of free educational content that helps educators quickly and easily share their courses with their class or to a global audience, allowing teachers the ability to integrate their own documents, content from the Internet, hundreds of thousands of books on the iBooks Store, over 750,000 materials from existing iTunes U collections, or any of the more than one million iOS apps available on the App StoreSM.

These free college preparatory resources will accompany the currently existing TASA on iTunes U digital content for 18 high school courses in the four core content areas (math, science, social studies, and English language arts) that were created by classroom teachers and that are fully aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). A total of 58 classroom teachers and content specialists, across 14 Texas school districts, have collaborated with TASA in the iTunes U content development.

The desire to integrate and leverage technology in the classroom, coupled with the need for teachers to redesign instruction so that it engages students and facilitates their learning, prompted TASA to launch this initiative last March. TASA is now expanding the collection to help districts satisfy the requirements of HB 5.

"We hope the digital resources in TASA on iTunes U will help facilitate the work of our school districts and educators giving them a reliable, vetted collection of interactive, online content to ensure compliance with HB 5," said Veselka.

As we expand the resources available in TASA on iTunes U, we are also inviting teachers, content specialists and other educators to submit digital resources to be considered for inclusion in one of the existing 18 high school course resource collections. Any Texas educator or leader with a valid Independent School District email address can now engage in the expansion of this project to further enhance the teaching and learning process.

Content experts affiliated with the TASA on iTunes U project will review all submitted digital resources to ensure the end result is a vetted collection of the highest quality, interactive online content—created by teachers for teachers—to foster creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills in an engaging, digitally rich learning environment. Submit your audio or video files, apps, podcasts, web links, PDFs, and other digital resources for consideration.

The statute that requires school districts to develop and provide college preparatory mathematics and English language arts courses can be found in the Texas Education Code, chapter 28.014 (TEC 28.014).