A new survey from OverDrive Education reveals that ebooks have become even more essential to learning during the 2020-2021 school year, as schools and districts grapple with remote and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of survey respondents, 80% of administrators state that ebooks are very or somewhat valuable in the ability to offer remote learning. Survey respondents included administrators and teachers at schools and districts across the U.S.

COVID-19 spurs increase in ebook adoption

The connection between COVID-19’s disruption to the classroom and the adoption of ebooks is clear, with 98% of administrators reporting that full or partial remote learning is in place, and 85% of administrators reporting use of ebooks in their districts. Furthermore, 67% of teachers using ebooks say they’re using them more this year than last year – demonstrating how the digital shift in schools has accelerated.

The survey also explored how educators are using ebooks in their schools. Highlights include:

    • 59% of teachers say they use ebooks in their classroom to support curriculum, including digital textbooks as well as electronic versions of popular fiction and nonfiction books
    • 40% of administrators say their district has ebooks as a school library resource
    • 33% of administrators say ebooks are a great resource for those who struggle with reading

Plans for 2020-2021 school year remain in flux

The timing of the survey coincided with the start of the 2020-2021 school year, when more than 9 out of 10 respondents said they had at least some students learning remotely. However, the survey reveals that the situation remains fluid, with 78% of administrators reporting that overall plans for how students attend classes have changed since Aug. 1.

For a summary report of the survey’s findings, please email abarnett@overdrive.com.