Digital Media Projected to Capture 60.1% Share of PreK-12 Instructional Materials in 2019

Digital Media Projected to Capture 60.1% Share of PreK-12 Instructional Materials in 2019

The Hawaii Department of Education in mid-2019 began to shape a 10-year strategic plan to underpin K-12 education in the period from 2020 to 2030. The long-term plan for defining student academic success and how to achieve it would replace the current practice of plans with three-year horizons.

The new plan could redefine the indicators that the department would use to define student success. Among suggested metrics the department could track are:

  • math and language arts achievement gaps,
  • career and technical pathway completion,
  • civic engagement and civic voice,
  • high school-college dual credit participation.

Metrics under consideration in Hawaii are topping lists in other districts across the U.S. Each of these areas are capturing the attention of providers of instructional materials, as well. Improving student proficiency in math and language arts has been a perennial target for decades. How best to teach them remains a topic of debate.

Civics and civic engagement are getting renewed interest in school districts and statehouses. Workforce skills and dual enrollment programs are rising areas at both the K-12 and higher education levels.

The industry is looking for growth in 2019 and the next several years, particularly driven by reading. Balanced Literacy is the term that appears to have succeeded whole learning as an academic approach to raising reading comprehension, but phonics remains a distinct and active part of the Balanced Literacy approach.

Digital-Driven Sales

In terms of instructional materials sales, Simba Information estimates that the PreK-12 instructional materials industry generated $8.51 billion in sales in 2018, down 1.2% from an estimated $8.62 billion in 2017.

The use of digital materials for instruction in U.S. classrooms continued to expand in 2018 and Simba estimates that total sales of digital instructional media reached $5.02 billion in 2018, accounting for 59% of total sales of instructional materials to schools.

In making its estimates for its new report, Publishing for the PreK-12 Market 2019-2020, Simba used a mix of data provided by publishers on their digital/print splits, existing Simba research on the testing market and data on sales of children’s ebooks. The split also reflects Simba’s understanding of the growing use of digital in the manipulatives segment and digital delivery of classroom magazines.

Simba expects that percentage to rise to 60.1% by the end of 2019.

In terms of instructional materials across most subjects, Simba expects the spread of technology to mean ongoing proliferation in the use of apps, games and maker-spaces for hands-on projects and activities. Some teachers have called this an “integrated ala carte” approach that ties together data on student needs and resources to address those needs.

Look Ahead: Upcoming Simba Information reports on the K-12 instructional materials market in 2019 include:

  • K-12 Social Studies Market Outlook;
  • K-12 Testing Market Forecast 2019-2020;
  • 2019 National Instructional Materials Adoption Scorecard and 2020 Outlook.