K-12 Market Research Finds Strong Ed-Tech Budgets and Optimistic Outlook for 2015

Shelton, Conn.-- MDR’s State of the K-12 Market 2014 report is based on two large-scale surveys of education decision-makers, conducted by the EdNET Research team to define important trends that will impact American schools in the coming year. Major findings in this year’s report focus on:

  • Strength in education technology budgets and receding educator budget woes.
  • Drive in Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as schools seek aligned instructional materials and prepare to administer online assessments.
  • Growing demand for solutions to improve teaching and personalized learning.
  • Reliance on digital resources and expansion of access through mobile devices, implementation of BYOD programs, and 1:1 computing.
  • Experimentation with new instructional models

Strong Technology Budgets
Kathleen Brantley, Director of EdNET Insight, says, “Schools are more optimistic about their ed-tech budgets than they have been for the past few years.”

Nearly 90% of districts expect their 2014-2015 technology budgets in hardware, software, teacher training, and technical support to stay the same or increase. Topping the list of their concerns are hardware/device purchases and infrastructure capacity; thus bandwidth and wireless networks will influence purchasing decisions going forward.

Districts Move Forward on the One-to-One Computing
A growing interest in 1:1 and BYOD programs is fueled in part by the rapid growth of mobile computing devices and the increased focus on personalized learning. Nearly half (44%) of all U.S. districts report that 1:1 computing is substantially implemented in high schools, 36% in middle schools, and 20% in elementary schools. Chromebooks have come on strong with half of all districts citing implementation of these newer devices.

U.S. Schools – No Strangers to Online Assessments
Brantley says, “Fully a third of districts already administer the majority of student assessments in core content areas online, with an additional 25% expecting to reach that measure this year. Districts’ current experience with online assessments underpins their overall readiness to administer the new CCSS assessments online. The majority (56%) of districts report that they are substantially ready to implement the new assessments, up from 43% in 2013.”

Experimentation Abounds for Flipped, Blended, and Personalized Models
Support for personalized learning is rated as the most important consideration when districts decide what digital instructional materials to purchase. To that end, they are exploring new instructional models to get students more deeply involved in learning. Much of this experimentation takes place in high schools—63% of districts have implemented flipped learning models in at least some classrooms, and 60% use a flexible blended model where students take all or a majority of courses online and teachers or paraprofessionals provide face-to-face support as needed.

Standards Continue to Drive the Instructional Materials Market
Despite the swirling controversy surrounding CCSS, 43 states remain committed to implementation, and states that have not adopted or that have recently rejected the CCSS are still creating and implementing locally developed college- and career-ready standards.

“It should come as no surprise that educators seek instructional resources aligned to standards,” adds Brantley. More than 70% of districts, up slightly from 68% last year, plan to obtain instructional materials for CCSS implementation by purchasing new materials.

Instructional Materials Making a Comeback
After years of cutbacks on instructional resources, districts also plan to purchase materials in math, English language arts, science, and social studies. One out of four districts expects their 2014-2015 instructional budgets to increase, up from 16% the prior year. Purchases of math instruction will be especially strong, with 43% of districts planning to purchase middle school products, 36% elementary, and 33% high school. ELA purchase expectations are almost as high for all grade levels.

To learn more about the State of the K-12 Market 2014 report and the market trend research from EdNET Insight, visit EdNET Insight or call 800-333-8802.