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Annual Tech Survey Exposes Lack of Comprehensive Strategies for Implementing Digital Curriculum in K-12

Annual Tech Survey Exposes Lack of Comprehensive Strategies for Implementing Digital Curriculum in K-12

The third annual K-12 Survey from the Learning Counsel surveyed 708 U.S. schools and districts to find that while most are spending more on digital curriculum, they lack comprehensive strategies which has thus resulted in a "trying" transition, says David Kafitz, V.P. Logistics & Research.

"Our initial surveys, and our city-by-city tour of Digital Curriculum Strategy Discussions, have proved to us that many districts and schools do not have comprehensive strategies as they move to Digital Curriculum. They are using all types of random hardware products, subscription sites, apps, digital content and systems," Kafitz said.

"On top of this confusion of available devices and software, there is no immediate and codified solution for how these digital 'things' are to be vetted, purchased or used all together in a cohesive over-arching solution. These are trying times in the transition to digital. Teachers are literally overwhelmed at a time when standards and testing are also changing. It goes without saying this is creating an enormous burden for schools," he continued.

Specifically, the survey found that districts and schools aim to transition to full digital curriculum coverage models and are spending more on related efforts than ever before, but implementation plans vary across the board.

According to a prepared statement from the Learning Counsel, "there is no agreement among schools about the best device based on the age of the student."

Use of tablets, which were once one of the most popular devices in education, is continuing to decline as use of devices like Chromebooks continue to increase.

All in all, the survey indicates that 2016 was a record year for digital curriculum spending, in part thanks to "years of non-adoption of textbooks in several states, causing more digital acquisitions at the same time that the market reached an inflection point of saturation of devices."

Despite the record spending, the survey found that 80 percent of schools have yet to adjust their budget to support digital resources instead of paper ones.

According to Kafitz, this could mean big trouble if schools don’t find cohesion.

"Perhaps you are over-duplicating digital materials with paper, or have no coverage at all in key subject areas. Inspecting your policies, methods of purchase and use will be a healthy exercise that can greatly benefit your district's transition to digital curriculum," he recommended.

The survey also found that teachers are still slow to utilize the Open Educational Resources (OERs) available to them, schools are slacking when it comes to creating policy for student data privacy and that 78 percent of students now have access to a device for a good portion of the school day.

The full annual report is available for purchase from The Learning Counsel, for which details can be found here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

12/21/2016

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