eBooks, audiobooks and digital textbooks use in the classroom on the rise with more teachers planning on using the digital content for curriculum use


CLEVELAND — April 1, 2016 – 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, the leading eBook and audiobook platform for schools, teamed up to conduct 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 www.ascd.org/digitalcontentreport.

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 “Devices bring more knowledge to students’ fingertips than the teacher can give, so the traditional lecture model is no longer applicable.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

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 www.ascd.org/digitalcontentreport and to learn more about OverDrive’s service for schools, visit overdrive.com/schools.


About OverDrive

OverDrive is the leading digital distribution platform, supplying the industry’s largest catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, streaming video and periodicals to 34,000 libraries, schools and retailers worldwide. We support all major computers and devices, including iOS®, Android™, Chromebook™ and Kindle® (U.S. only). OverDrive delivers all digital media on a single platform, and offers innovations such as OverDrive Read, the breakthrough EPUB and HTML5 browser-based reading experience, and Read-Along eBooks. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and is owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten. For more information, visit www.overdrive.com or follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and our blog.

About ASCD
Founded in 1943, ASCD is the global leader in developing and delivering innovative programs,
products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner. Comprising
125,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, professors, and advocates from more than
138 countries—the ASCD community also includes 54 affiliate organizations. The nonprofit’s diverse,
nonpartisan membership is its greatest strength, projecting a powerful, unified voice to decision
makers around the world. The association provides expert and innovative solutions in professional
development, capacity building, and educational leadership essential to the way educators learn, teach,
and lead.


OverDrive Contact:
David Burleigh
Director of Marketing & Communications


216-573-6886 ext. 218

ASCD contact:

Ross Romano