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3 tips for developing a digital content plan for maximum impact

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The research is in, and it’s clear that ebooks and audiobooks are here to stay as K-12 students and educators realize the transformative benefits of digital reading and learning. According to a recent survey conducted by OverDrive and ASCD, 80 percent of U.S. districts and schools now use digital content, and most plan to increase their usage.

As you chart your own digital content path, here are some tips to point you in the right direction.

Have a device strategy for ebooks and audiobooks. There are many devices to choose from so it’s important to weigh your options carefully. Not surprisingly, laptops, tablets and PCs are the most popular devices. However, a lot of districts and schools are also leveraging smartphones and e-readers for library and home use.

Nearly three-quarters of administrators reported having a device strategy in place, and most also have a corresponding digital content plan. Whatever device or devices work best for your environment, be it 1:1 or BYOD, iPads or Chromebooks, it’s critical to have a strategy in place as you plot your digital content future.

Ask your librarian AND classroom teachers

In addition to popular children’s and young adult fiction for the school library, teachers are also hungry to use digital content in their classrooms. We found the most-desired subject areas to be ELA (74 percent), science (62 percent) and math (61 percent).

Although librarians generally have a lot of expertise in what ebooks to choose, don’t forget to consult with classroom teachers too.  

Provide staff training

There are two primary themes when discussing the type of professional development that’s needed for digital content in districts and schools:

  1. It should be hands-on, how-to, differentiated and in-person.
  2. It should offer ideas and examples about how best to smoothly integrate digital content into their instruction and school.

One of the best ways to help ensure successful implementation of digital content is to have teachers and staff who are knowledgeable, enthusiastic users.

Herb Miller holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University and serves as the director of OverDrive Education, the leading digital reading platform for K-12. He specializes in helping districts and schools effectively implement digital content to maximize impact on students and educators. Follow OverDrive Education on Facebook and on Twitter at @OverDriveEd.

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