Howdy, folks! Welcome to another in a series of periodic ed tech news roundups. We hope you enjoy this one, and if you have a story you’d like to see included, let us know.
As remote learning continues, and educators work to deliver hybrid and online learning, ed tech companies are hoping to find practical solutions — and growing quickly.
- While the U.S. saw a precipitous drop in GDP in the second financial quarter of the year, educational technology firms raised more than $800 million in the first half of 2020. [EdSurge]
- The U.S. isn’t the only place seeing growth either. With ed tech being “no longer optional” ($) and ed tech startups are seeing potentially explosive growth ($), a Brazilian company is looking to raise a whopping $300 million. [EdWeek MarketBrief]
- As the ed tech industry grows, writer Doug Bonderud considers practical ideas to help make technology accessible to and useful for all. [EdTech]
From Tech to Texas
In TCEA’s home state, the conditions and guidelines around reopening schools are taking shape.
- Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement that local health authorities can mandate school closures “if there’s evidence of an outbreak after students have already returned to campus — but cannot shut them down weeks before schools open,” according to the Texas Tribune.
- Abbott’s statement comes days after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a much-publicized but non-binding guidance to schools stating that local health officials have “some authority to order schools closed if people in it are infected by COVID-19, but not as a preventive measure.” [Texas Tribune]
- Paxton’s guidance also caused course corrections and changes in plans to delay school in some Texas school districts. [NBC DFW]
Bridging the Digital Divide
The COVID-19 pandemic has helped highlight the digital divide in American schooling, which is described by Stanford emeritus professor Eric Roberts as the “growing gap between the underprivileged members of society, especially the poor, rural, elderly, and handicapped portion of the population who do not have access to computers or the internet; and the wealthy, middle-class, and young Americans living in urban and suburban areas who have access.”
- With a rush to remote learning, many local school authorities are working with tech companies to expand access. [Axios]
- Meanwhile, partnerships are forming between state and local entities to tackle the connectivity gap, exemplified in Texas’ “Operation Connectivity.” [Government Technology]
- Also in Texas, legislators are working to fund mechanisms already designed to spread internet access to rural parts of the state. [Texas Tribune]