Teachers in the year 2020 have had one heckuva year trying to navigate through remote and hybrid learning. With COVID-19 sweeping the nation, teachers have been tasked with the accelerated process of learning to adopt virtual learning. As a result, OverDrive Education has found that digital reading platforms schoolwide have made the overwhelming shift towards ebooks and audiobooks.
According to the report, 38,000 schools in 71 countries saw an 80% increase over the last year with the usage of ebooks and audiobooks. It has nearly tripled the usage compared to the 2019 school year. While the usage has increased, has it helped with the normalizing school for the students?
By The Numbers
Teachers have felt like remote learning is like poker games, bluffing, and a lot of sitting around the table. Keeping students engaged has been a difficult task across all grade levels. Instead of issuing out standard textbooks, schools have shifted towards using content that can be digitized.
The data showed that Sora is the most popular platform. Students can use the app’s built-in feature to connect Sora to their local public library. The stats showed that ebooks and audiobooks were checked out over 450% when students used Sora to connect to the public library. By doing so, it allowed students to access more digital books, which gave the kids a lot more options to choose what to read.
Based on what the students chose, Comic and Graphic Books were the top fiction category. Other categories in the top-5 included Fantasy, Picture Book Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Mystery. Biography and Autobiography books were the top nonfiction category. Joining in that category included Sociology, History, Nature/Science, and Reference.
The No. 1 checked out book on Sora was Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. Other books included Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, The Ninjabread Man by Katrina Charman, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and From the Top by Lincoln Peirce.
A Global Issue Remains
While ebook usage shooting up has been great, most schools still face a common problem. Even with trending technology, many schools have found themselves with a surplus of failing students. With the pandemic, virtual books were going to skyrocket in usage, but it doesn’t mean that families know how to navigate their way around a virtual book. Many kids still struggle with technology, which is impacting the national landscape of education.
This problem is not going to be solved overnight, but the fact that students are getting more acclimated to virtual books will be great when students eventually do come back to school. Having to conduct learning at home is challenging, but now teachers will be able to potentially use different content with ebooks. In lower-income schools, not having enough books for distribution can be an issue that comes up. Instead, now with each student having their device, the options could be limitless. Hopefully, with the potential of a new vaccine being distributed, we will get that chance to see it in the classroom with the students present.