Student Using i-pad

Higher Ways Publishing reports on the results of a new study, which shows that the majority of US schools are now using e-books or digital textbooks as educational materials.

Exploring digital content

Publishing industry portal Good Reader writes that recently, American e-book distributor Overdrive released the results of its new survey. This poll of 2,000 US administrators at the school or district level was designed to determine digital penetration in American educational institutions, as well as how digital content is being utilised in K-12 classrooms.

Overdrive found that use of digital content in US schools is growing, with those questioned saying that it now comprises one third of instructional budgets. When asked to name the benefits of digital content in the classroom, respondents listed things such as greater student attention/engagement, the ability to deliver individualised lessons and allowing students to learn independently.

Digital penetration rates

As such, 80% of respondents said that e-books or digital textbooks are now used as educational materials in their schools. Of this number, 40% admitted that digital content is now included within their curriculum. When asked which content they most desire in digital format, respondents named English/language arts (74%), science (62%) and maths (61%), with social studies following at 56%.

Commenting within the study Kahle Charles, the Executive Director of Curriculum at St. Vrain Valley Schools in Longmont, Colorado said: “We believe the paradigm of instruction needs to change… Devices bring more knowledge to students’ fingertips than the teacher can give, so the traditional lecture model is no longer applicable.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.”

Overcoming challenges

Within Overdrive’s Digital Content Goes to School study, respondents were also asked which digital devices were used in their schools. The most popular were laptops and tablets, at 75% and 62% respectively. Personal computers followed at 49%, while smartphones brought up the rear at 17%.

Practically every respondent admitted that there are benefits to digital content, but they also expressed some concerns. One of the most common concerns aired was that some students still lack internet in their homes, limiting the effectiveness of digital content as an educational material. Another common concern aired by those questioned is that some teachers still fear making the transition to digital, as they do not yet feel comfortable with the concept of digital learning.

Rising from just 1% in 1995, figures quoted by Internet Live Stats suggest that roughly 40% of the global population has access to the internet today. As technology advances ever-more rapidly, global internet penetration is only set to increase throughout the next decade. Four in five schools in the US already utilise e-books and digital textbooks, because they believe these mediums serve as valuable, effective educational tools. As internet penetration deepens worldwide, evidence suggests that e-books and digital textbooks could become essential educational resources across the planet.

About Higher Ways Publishing

Established in 2003 by Hayim Oshky and Mike Walden, Higher Ways Publishing helps authors and publishers transform brilliant ideas into commercial success. Headquartered in Tel Aviv Israel and California, they are a market leader in digital and hard-cover publishing for the health, fitness and relationship industries. Higher Ways Publishing have assisted many authors in expanding their online presence in the growing digital marketing world.

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