February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Ebooks Will Surge in Classrooms, Study Says

Ebook surgeClassroom materials will dramatically transition from paper to digital books in the next two years, educators predict, according to a survey from LightSail Education, a K–12 literacy platform that partners with Baker & Taylor.

The January 28 report, polling  475 educators, predominantly school and district leaders, also revealed a strong preference for digital libraries over rental models.

Among those polled, 94 percent expect that ebooks will increase in their schools and districts, with 52 percent predicting that ebooks will surge to account for more than 40 percent of all books in their school or district.

Forty percent would prefer purchasing ebooks outright, with only 16 percent opting for a Netflix-like subscription service. Only four percent liked the idea of a one-time, time-limited checkout.

Read the full LightSail press release below.


Schools Want Ebooks Integrated With Digital Learning Tools and Assessments to Drive Literacy Growth

NEW YORK, January 28, 2015 – A new LightSail Education survey of 475 educators – predominantly school and district leaders – from across the United States indicates that schools and districts see their use of classroom materials transitioning substantially from paper books to digital books over the next two years. An overwhelming majority of schools and administrators indicate a strong desire to build digital libraries rather than experiment with book rental and subscription models, but the market is still in its early stages.

The report, “State of the Digital Book Market” is the first to analyze K-12 decision makers’ views on the transition from paper books to digital books and literacy platforms.

Key findings of the report include:
·       K-12 decision-makers predict massive growth in the school-based ebook market.

·       The Library purchase model for ebooks is favored by most education leaders, where a preference is established.

·       Educators show a clear preference for reading in digital texts moving forward, where a preference exists.

·       School and district leaders are actively seeking technology tools that support literacy instruction.

Remarkable ebook market growth expected in next 2 years
–       94% of respondents expect that ebooks will increase as a share of books read in their school/district over the next two years.
–       58% report that ebooks currently represent less than 10% of all books in their school/district.
–       52% expect that in two years, ebooks will account for more than 40% of all books in their school/district.

Preference for Library purchase model for ebooks, with much of market unclear on best option
–       40% want to purchase ebooks in the Library model, in which the school owns the texts, and students can check books in and out of a “digital library” on their devices.
–       16% want a subscription service similar to “Netflix” where, for a monthly fee, students can access a broad library.
–       4% are interested in renting books through model that offers a single, time-limited checkout per rental.
–       40% either were not sure which book model they wanted or did not have enough information to express a preference.

Migration to digital books embraced by school and district leaders
–       52% want students reading in digital books.
–       8% prefer paper books.
–       40% expressed no preference for digital or paper books.

Strong demand for technology tools that support literacy instruction
–       86% have researched at least one technology tool for literacy, such as tools that assess students while reading, measure reading behaviors, or differentiate materials based on student reading level.
–       58% have researched three or more such tools.

“With a record 10 million tablets and computers sold into US schools last year, district leaders and decision makers are gearing up to make a major shift to from print to digital,” said Gideon Stein, Founder and CEO of LightSail Education. “The results of this survey strongly suggest that schools are looking to build digital libraries where they own their content outright rather than experiment with models like book rentals or subscriptions.”

The survey also found that ebooks are used across instructional models in schools, with especially consistent use for independent reading; 90% of survey respondents indicated the use of ebooks for independent reading.

The survey was sent to district and school leaders nationally, and respondents represented districts and schools in more than 35 states. Approximately 75% of respondents identified themselves as district administrators or school leaders. LightSail invited these individuals to respond to a survey about the eBook market, in order to understand their perspectives, and to inform its 400+ publisher partners of the needs of today’s educators.

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  1. I will support any approach that will guarantee to lift the educational results of our children. If this is the answer then we should more forward. Understand the effort and cost of implementation, understand how we will measure, and insure that it will be better than what is currently in place. BUT RESULTS must be guaranteed to be better. Our education system as a nation has yeilded declining results across the board for K-12 students since the late 70’s. Since the University of Chicago introduced the “NEW MATH” in the late 60’s we have seen continued and steady decline in math skills, critical thinking skills, vocabulay, and attention span. The Educational landscape over the past 50 years is litered with the train wrecks of ‘NEW IDEAS” which were implemented by trendy people and administrations without solid data or expereince to guide them or help predecit the results. The victims of this chaos have been our children and I have to tell you that all the information posted above once again speaks to great concepts and revolutionary approaches with not one solid peice of practical application data or expereince. I hope that this time things will be different. Maybe this time the approach will be one that starts with solid data, takes its time, measures the impact and then pushes for broader implementation as we understand how to make the system and results for K-12 students better, not just different.

    • I think you’ve pointed out one of the tragedies of American education over the last 50 years but a transition in format is quite different from a transition of content. There isn’t conclusive evidence that transitioning to digital texts will have any negative or positive effect on education. What it should do is lighten the giant backpacks that kids seem to still be carrying around and provide content in a form that makes sense for each school.
      At Xist, we’ve worked to make sure that our eBooks are available from all the major education channels, but also from other partners who are offering really innovative access models. From full ownership of the files through OPALS to free classroom subscription access through EPIC!, our 200+ children’s books are being used in classrooms around the country, in the manner that works best for each teacher, and at each school.

  2. eBooks have not been proven to increase the learning experience at any level. In fact, not only are they proven to be more costly, most studies indicate that eBooks are averse to increased learning.
    Possibly the only advantage of the eBook is the kids’ backpacks won’t weigh 50 pounds. Other than that, the book is the perfect vehicle for education.

  3. With digital course content delivery and management only increasing, it will be beneficial to lifetime outcomes (and perhaps earning potential) to have students be adept in digital learning engagement. This is helpful information (above), and it is heartening to see district heads engaging with these ideas. As a recent grad-school grad, for what it’s worth, I can say that I bought digital every time it was offered, and was frustrated when it was not. It wasn’t for the heavy lifting and eco-impact (alone) but for the increased dynamic functionality (such as cloud storage; so, I could access everything, anytime everywhere, no matter what was in my pocket or in my lap). As a data-driven analyst, I can say that we are often mindful of response biases in interpreting data. With a population weaned on paper, we’d expect some bias in responses in favor of paper for a good long while — until an equal population weaned on digital, and then one weaned by those weaned on digital, arises. Last as a strategist, I can say broadly that with new platforms, it can be helpful not only to consider perceptions among early adopters of the new platform itself, but also to consider what those early perceptions might indicate regarding the likelihood and health of the future receptivity to derivative growth off of the platform (i.e., as digital brings more value, will that new value have an uphill climb or downhill slide; reports like these would encourage the latter). Digital is a wonderful welcome world for content creation, delivery, and interaction; one that complements our print strengths, leavens and expands them.

  4. Chris McMurray at Parkrose SD says:

    Interesting. Great commentary and conversation. As school districts like ours embark on strategic implementation of technology, it is critical that we not place undue focus on the tool, and loose sight of the strong foundation of instruction that allows devices to modify and redefine the learning experience. Whether a student reads text on an iPad or a paper book in class does not determine whether or not he or she will learn the critical thinking skills necessary to actually do something with the information. In Parkrose School District we’ve worked very hard to establish technology as a tool, much like a mechanical pencil, rather than an event. We give every attending student an iPad and use them in the classroom not because they’re a bright and shiny substitute for books or white boards, but because they allow teachers and students to do more in the context of best instructional practices. The tools we choose, such as LighSail, are directly tied to our district mission, and help facilitate our initiatives for critical reading and thinking. They’re chosen and implemented strategically, woven into the fabric of the instructional program in such a way as to be not a “thing” but a way of being. There’s really no other way. We just don’t have time or money for frivolous applications of resources. We have iPads K-12 and are showing growth, not because of technology, but with it. Yes a digital book is still a book, but when I watch third graders crowdsourcing on a social justice topic with students in other classrooms and buildings in the district, and reference text in their discussion that everyone else has access to, I’m confident that they’ve moved past the device into a new learning space. That’s what this is about. At the end of the day, a teacher still has to be artful in what they do. Without that, neither digital nor print will get kids there. Technology redefines the learning experience and helps close opportunity gaps in a high poverty district like ours. Success in a global society does not rely on simply using technology, but what one does with it to extend thinking and connect.