Getting to Digital in the Classroom

Contributed by CDW-G

Digital content is hot – from national newspapers to local school board meetings, everyone is talking about it and what it means for the future of education. CDW-G believes at its core a digital content program should empower learners and educators to create, not just consume information, and tie every experience back to 21st-century skills. The second annual 21st-Century Classroom Report from CDW-G surveyed 1,000 high school students, teachers, and IT professionals to understand the state of technology in our high schools, including digital content.

Among the report’s key findings, CDW-G found that although digital content is capturing our attention, the reality is that only 11 percent of districts are currently using digital content, while another 15 percent are considering it.

Asked about the importance of current technologies, 73 percent of faculty rate digital content as essential to the 21st-century classroom. Related technologies rate well with virtual learning at 59 percent, media tablets at 38 percent and e-reader devices at 33 percent. The report also found that 21 percent of districts support media tablets and 13 percent support e-reader devices.

As a market, we need to help leaders sort through the noise and develop best-fit programs for their students and teachers. To make digital content a reality the report makes several recommendations.

  • Consider the students: Take the opportunity to survey and learn from students by understanding how they use technology and digital content.
  • Think about the full potential: Are teachers using the full reach of digital media in the classroom?  Music and video clips can be useful to augment digital text.
  • Reconsider the norm: The “sage on the stage” has a time and place, but some teachers are recording lectures for students to watch as homework so they can do hands-on assignments to apply the lessons during class time.
  • Understand the impact: Work closely with administrators to ensure that their teachers have enough time and support to make a successful shift to digital content. Targeted professional development and peer mentoring can make this a reality.

The full report is available for download at


CDW-G is a leading provider of technology solutions to government, education and healthcare customers.

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July 2011


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