Report: Digital Curriculum Spending up 25% in 2016, Most Schools to Increase in 2017

A new survey from The Learning Counsel finds that nearly four in five (78 percent) students have access to a computing device for "a good portion of the school day" or longer.

Sponsored by Ruckus Wireless, the third annual Digital Curriculum Strategy Survey and Assessment Tool is based on responses from more than 700 districts and schools in the United States.

Three top trends among the findings were that tablets are losing popularity, Chromebooks have seen a more significant gain in popularity than other devices and there is no consensus among schools as to which devices are best depending upon student age.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • District spending on hardware, networks and major system software will see a slight increase in the coming year to reach $16.2 billion;
  • Schools claimed 79 to 91 percent network coverage in classrooms and common areas, but it may not be enough to support digital curriculum as most teachers called their school networks "unreliable";
  • 86 percent of schools and districts surveyed said they plan to increase spending on digital curriculum in 2017;
  • 56 percent of those surveyed said that teachers already use paid digital resources about half to three-quarters of the time, as opposed to open or free resources;
  • 80 percent of respondents said that district budgets still hadn't moved from paper-based textbooks to digital resources; and
  • Spending on digital curriculum jumped by 25 percent in 2016 and, for the first time, was weighted more toward organizational spending than individual teacher spending.

"As our district was transitioning to digital content, it was critical to conduct a needs assessment early in the program planning and development process," said Kahle Charles, executive director of curriculum at St. Vrain Valley Schools, in a prepared statement. "The Learning Counsel's Assessment Tool and Survey proved to be a valuable aide in this process. Through the survey, we were able to understand the extent of our digital content implementation, identify the gaps in our implementation of digital content, and gather the information about next steps in our action plan. This also provided a great opportunity to engage current staff members in the planning and implementation process."

For more information visit The Learning Counsel site.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].