With electronic book reading device ownership on the rise, it comes as no surprise that digital reading is becoming increasingly popular. According to new findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 23% percent of Americans age 16 and older say they have read an e-book in the past year, compared to 16% a year ago. Meanwhile, printed book readership fell from 72% to 67%.
While The New York Times is observing an increase in digital reading among children between the ages of 6 and 17, Pew reports e-books are most popular with adults age 30-49, as well as people with college or graduate degrees and those living in households earning more than $75,000. With teens 16-17 seeing one of the largest spikes in e-reading last year, undergrad faculty should be primed for an incoming class of digital learners.
Interestingly, book readership in any format did not experience a statistically significant shift in 2012. Thus while e-reader adoption is rapidly rising, it’s not transforming the popularity of reading.
The web is aflutter with year in review ed-tech trend reporting. While slightly more niche movements, such as learning to code, are on some expert’s radar, here’s a look at the top three trends of 2012:
THE PAPER VS. DIGITAL STRUGGLE ESCALATED
Hack Education’s comprehensive 10-part Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series chronicles the continued struggle to transition from traditional print to digital textbook learning. Audrey Watters notes in the piece that while digital technology adoption is soaring, the jury is still out on whether or not students are using these new digital tools as much as hard-copy counterparts. Accordingly, Mind/Shift’s Frank Catalano is declaring, “paper is not dead.” Nevertheless, this year the FCC and U.S. Department of Education called for an industry-wide digital conversion, in spite of persisting practical obstacles.
ED-TECH INVESTMENT SKYROCKETED
Watters and Catalano also noted a boom in education technology investment and entrepreneurship. Financial backers are perhaps hoping to see a return on the oft-speculated bursting of the higher education bubble by providing more accessible digital alternatives to traditional models; however, City Light Capital’s Josh Cohen worries, “there’s more money than talent.”
As we reported last month, 2012 was unquestionably the year of the MOOC. While Watters reports that MOOC dropout rates are raising some eyebrows, retention rates may improve as MOOCs move toward accreditation.
What does this mean for 2013? According to Forbes.com, next year will be all about the “hybrid program,” a model in which students are taught both online and in person. Thus while the trends of 2012 sparked controversy, it looks as though 2013 is shaping up to be a year of compromise.