With 78 percent of students using a digital device for large portion of their school day, it should come as no surprise that 86 percent of K–12 schools are looking to spend more this year on digital curriculum.
These are findings from The Learning Counsel’s most recent Digital Curriculum Strategy Survey. In it, the research institute that studies and writes about digital curricula in education found that the digital courseware market is maturing, as spending shifts from individual teacher investments to districtwide spending.
Another survey, conducted last April by OverDrive and ASCD, found that 80 percent of schools and districts use some form of digital content in the classroom.
However, both surveys found that only a small portion of educators are using digital resources as the primary source for teaching.
Though spending on these tools might increase, schools now must work to find the return on investment, prepare teachers for new tools and address the digital equity issues that might exist.
“They actually access that curriculum and work at their pace,” Mike Hickman, an assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, told the Telegraph.
Concern about the lack of internet access at home was found to be one of the biggest barriers to adoption of digital curriculum, the OverDrive and ASCD survey reports.
Monroe County Schools had this is mind when developing its program. The Telegraph reports that before rolling out any digital curriculum, the district conducted a survey and found that a majority of students had internet access at home. For those who didn’t, alternative options were developed so they wouldn’t be left behind.
Many educators find the appeal of digital curriculum to be a no-brainer, writes Amy Brown, a K–12 education strategist for CDW·G, on EdTech.
“I’ve heard educators heap praise on the interactive, multimedia content for its ability to engage students in new and interesting ways,” writes Brown.
However, Brown indicates that schools will only get the most out of these options by ensuring that educators get proper training and professional development.
“Educators need to understand how classroom devices function,” she writes, “and how digital resources fit into the classroom.”