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ASCD and OverDrive Survey Finds Digital Content Used in 80% of Schools and Districts

Posted Apr 1, 2016
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Digital content use in schools is no longer a new frontier, with more than 80 percent of schools and districts now using some form of digital content in the classroom. The use of digital content – including eBooks, audiobooks and digital textbooks – is a growing part of the curriculum in the classroom. To learn more about this trend, ASCD and OverDrive conducted a proprietary research study, “Digital Content Goes to School: Trends in K-12 Classroom e-Learning,” with ASCD members as the study’s participants. Highlights will be presented at the 71st ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Atlanta on April 2 and 3, and the full report is available for download at

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.

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

As digital content continues to transform the classroom, the concept of a personalized, individualized model of schooling becomes more feasible, according to the report. Digital solutions that make technology elegantly simple for teachers and students will go a long way toward addressing concerns about the ultimate success of digital content in the classroom.

To get the full report, visit

Source: OverDrive,

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