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Digital textbooks in schools can enhance teaching and learning – YouGov survey

UK teachers see budgetary constraints as one of the main barriers to the adoption of digital technology in schools. Yet greater access to digital versions of textbooks is the most desired resource for teachers. The findings come from a survey of more than 800 teachers and school leaders conducted by YouGov on behalf of CLA.

The UK-wide research, which surveyed attitudes on access to digitally-delivered resources, finds that original, teacher-created materials are by far the most-used resource in teaching when asked to select up to three: 64% of respondents named it as the resource they use most often, ahead of worksheets or workbooks (48%) and online video content (40%).

‘The YouGov survey results show there is a high preference among teachers to retain flexibility over classroom teaching by creating their own lesson plans, and they want digital technology to help them,’ says Eela Devani, Strategy and Digital Director of CLA. ‘However, the survey also shows that budgetary limitations, poor infrastructure and a lack of digital understanding are seen as the main barriers to adoption of digital technology.

‘Nevertheless, the highest percentage of respondents cited digital versions of textbooks as the resource they would like greater access to, ahead of curated TV content and free materials like posters.’

A snapshot of detailed YouGov survey findings

Which of the following resources would you like to have greater access to? Please select up to 3.
Digital versions of textbooks 30%
Curated TV content 23%
Free material from organisations e.g. posters 21%
Printed books 20%
Original teacher-created materials 19%
Media or publisher online platforms 18%
Online video content from YouTube, Google, etc. 15%


Why go digital?

The survey’s respondents were asked to select up to three of the main advantages of digital technology. At the head of the field was the belief that it offers a greener solution, for example potentially less photocopying, followed by providing greater access to relevant teaching materials, the fact that students prefer using digital technology and its ability to enhance the quality of learning.

Digital technology also allows greater sharing of materials for home study and saves time in lesson planning.

Which of the following do you think are the main advantages/opportunities of digital technology in schools? Please select up to 3.
Offers a ‘greener’ solution e.g. potentially less photocopying 49%
Provides greater access to relevant teaching materials 39%
Students prefer using digital technology 36%
Enhances the quality of learning 34%
Allows sharing of materials for home study/coursework 30%
Saves time in lesson planning 25%
Saves time in lesson delivery 14%
Delivers textbook materials in a digital format 10%


Barriers to going digital

Perceived obstacles to the adoption of digital technology in schools show a mixture of resourcing issues, capabilities and trust. Among the comments made by the survey’s respondents was the following: “Unfortunately, no money in school so greater access to digital items for pupils is unlikely to ever happen.”

Which of the following do you think are the main barriers to adopting more digital technology in schools? Please select up to 3.
Budgetary constraints 76%
Poor digital infrastructure in some schools 47%
Lack of digital understanding among school leaders/teachers 33%
Speed of broadband access 25%
Lack of trust in the quality of learning materials available free on the internet 20%
Bans on the use of personal smartphones in the classroom 14%
Lack of available learning materials online 11%
Lack of digital understanding among students 4%


“The message seems to be that, given the right economic case, there is a good opportunity for greater adoption of digital textbooks in schools,” says Eela Devani. “This study, which was commissioned from YouGov using their teacher panel without reference to CLA, supports our experience that digital extracts of textbooks that schools already use can considerably enhance lesson planning and delivery – and save teacher time.”

“We have just launched a new online platform called ‘Education Platform’ that enables schools to access digital copies of extracts from printed books they already own. It is available to CLA licensed schools at no additional cost. This Platform has been developed in collaboration with the major educational publishers who have contributed high-quality digital versions of thousands of popular textbooks.”



All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 808 teachers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19/09/2019 – 02/10/2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all school teacher

For further information, and to speak to a CLA representative, please contact:

David Wells

T: 07919 896603