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Digital instructional materials gaining ground in STEM education: Study

Tags: Science/STEM Market 2015, STEM education, Education Market Research

June 19, 2015 | COMMENTS ( 0 )

Digital instructional materials gaining ground in STEM education: Study

The national trend of shifting to the use of digital instructional materials in the classroom is affecting science/STEM education, according to findings in Science/STEM Market 2015, a new study from Education Market Research (EMR)/Simba Information.

EMR's survey data indicates that the market share owned by the core Science textbook is slipping.  There has been a 10-point decline in textbook usage compared to EMR's 2012 survey results, most of which is coming from grades 9-12. On the other hand, the shift to digital continues to gain momentum.  The survey data shows that 45.4% of the Science classrooms are now "high digital", with another 25.7% "medium digital".  That leaves just 28.8% at the "low digital" level.

The report also addresses how widespread school districts are adopting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and instituting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula. The answer, it appears, is that use of both programs is spotty.

"It appears that NGSS and STEM are making very slow progress," said Dr. Robert M. Resnick, president and principal researcher for EMR. "Looking at the numbers, 16.1% of all survey respondents have fully implemented NGSS, at least at some grade levels, but the majority (73.2%) are still in the early planning or early implementation stage, or have not addressed NGSS at all."

On the STEM side, the majority (50.9%) have achieved some degree of implementation, the report found, while 44.3% are still far from implementation.  However, that represents a significant improvement compared to EMR's 2012 survey findings. Science/STEM Market June 2015, covers the estimated $1.1 billion market for textbook and non-textbook Science instructional materials and digital resources in 2014-15.

EMR's survey was designed to answer critical questions about Science instruction in terms of preferred strategies and materials most frequently used.  Areas investigated include which textbooks, supplemental materials and publishers are used most often at different grade levels and how they are perceived by teachers, the level of discretionary funds spent on supplemental texts, workbooks, teacher resource materials, online/digital content, assessments, and other non-textbook materials and programs, and the progress of NGSS and STEM at different grade levels and within each of the five regions of the country.

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