Entering its sixth year, TexQuest, the digital resource program for Texas K-12 public and open-enrollment charter schools, underwent some renovations. Coordinated by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and partially funded by the Texas Legislature, two new resources and a navigation portal have been added, four content providers totally refreshed their website interfaces, eBook access was refined, database names were adjusted, and some usernames and passwords were revised. Embracing the changes, Texas school librarians have found more opportunities to promote digital resources, make them easily accessible to participants and their families, and integrate online instructional materials, along with other library services, into their campus/district classroom curriculum.
TexQuest Has More Resources
Infobase Learn360’s rich collection of multimedia resources was added in June. Gale Cengage refreshed their website platform, added Gale OneFile High School edition to their suite of databases, and updated names and icons for many other resources.
Easy access to videos, aligned to subject areas and TEKS, gives teachers more ways to deliver content that accommodates for student needs, and allows students opportunities to explore additional multimedia resources, as well as the authentic newspaper, magazine, and reference book articles, eBooks, and images they have come to depend on.
TexQuest Can Be Searched and Shared More Easily
With the introduction of the TexQuest Navigator in August, participants can start at TexQuest.net, filter resources by content level and type, and access all TexQuest resources by selecting their district name in a drop-down menu and entering a password only once. The need for multiple usernames and passwords at the district level can be eliminated.
This optional method for searching TexQuest is only available at the district level and can’t be customized. However, it provides a template for campuses and districts to select appropriate TexQuest resources and curate them on their own web pages. TexQuest content from all providers can be saved and shared with Google Drive and Classroom; Gale and ProQuest have also added Microsoft functionality. Providers are also adding new integrations for multiple single sign-on systems and learning management systems. As librarians curate the new and upgraded resources to their campus and district web pages, they can make them easily found and accessed by teachers, students, and their parents.
TexQuest Is More Accessible
ProQuest and TeachingBooks.net introduced appealing platforms where participants can explore new features and collections or find and share their favorites in new ways. Britannica Learning Zone was upgraded to Britannica Fundamentals, eliminating the need for Flash. And access to EBSCO eBooks has been modified to make it easier for districts to curate resources at selected levels.
Student searches can be limited to the K-8 eBook collection, while districts or campuses can “opt in” to three upper-level collections for college bound students. In addition, most TexQuest resources now have text-to-speech capabilities, along with the power to quickly translate pages, articles, and even video transcripts into multiple languages.
More People Are Using TexQuest Than Ever
836 districts now participate in TexQuest, providing more than 94% of eligible students access to vetted, authoritative, curriculum-aligned resources. Usage statistics have increased significantly each year. And while districts receive more from TexQuest for the 2019/2020 school year, they will continue to pay just $0.27 per student as their annual participation fee.
As with most construction projects, there have been challenges. School librarians have had their hands full adding, deleting, and changing access points for appropriate resources, learning about new features, mastering upgraded interfaces, and creating opportunities to share digital resources with participants, while reinforcing ways to integrate digital resources in the classroom to support new state and district standards and priorities.
The TexQuest Support Center maintained a running list of action items at http://texquest.net/news to help TexQuest school contacts and leads keep track of the changes. All TexQuest promotional and training materials are gradually being upgraded and revised to support the changes and to reinforce the TexQuest goal to explore more!
Want to know more? Come to these sessions at the TCEA 2020 Convention and Exposition.Photo: 贝莉儿 DANIST