Overdrive has just published a new survey that takes a look at digital penetration in schools in the United States. They take a look at what medium is the most popular and what type of tech devices diligent young scholars are employing to get the most out of their education.
Based on a survey of more than 2,000 administrators at the school or district level in the U.S., the study will help educators better understand the current state of digital content in the K-12 classroom and where it’s headed. Survey respondents report that digital content currently occupies about one-third of the instructional materials budget and the use of digital content continues to grow. Contributors to this growth include strategic planning (73 percent have a device strategy and 64 percent align their digital content plan with this strategy), recognized benefits (including the ability to deliver individualized instruction, allowing students to practice independently, and greater student attention/engagement), as well as movement toward 1:1 programs.
Of the 80 percent of respondents who report using digital content in their schools or districts, four out of 10 are using it as part of their curriculum. “We believe the paradigm of instruction needs to change,” said Kahle Charles, executive director of curriculum, St. Vrain Valley Schools, Longmont, Colo., who is quoted in the study. “Devices bring more knowledge to students’ fingertips than the teacher can give, so the traditional lecture model is no longer applicable. We want content that will engage students and the ability to introduce flipped classrooms with content that students can access at any time, at any place.”
Across the board, teachers most desire English/Language Arts (ELA) content in digital format (74 percent), followed by science (62 percent), math (61 percent) and social studies (56 percent). OverDrive has seen this trend develop firsthand as hundreds of schools across the country have increased integration by using popular digital content in a variety of innovative ways, including adopting digital novel sets for ELA classes this school year.
While virtually all respondents see benefits of using digital content, there are also some concerns. The two issues cited most often were equity concerns about lack of Internet access at home and the fear of teachers not wanting to go digital, including teachers not comfortable or effective with digital learning. Administrators are in agreement that better results and faster growth will occur if teachers are also provided with appropriate professional learning to incorporate digital content into their curriculum.
Other highlights of the “Digital Content Goes to School” study:
- Devices used for digital content: laptops (75 percent), tablets (62 percent), personal computers (49 percent), and smartphones (17 percent)
- Funding sources
- The research highlights differences among subgroups such as districts and schools, public and private, 1:1 programs and no 1:1, and size of schools/districts
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.