Chart: Technology. Mobile devices: 1,359. Infrastructure/hardware: 1,358. Technology supporting learning anywhere: 1,179. Connectivity: 908. Distance learning/online school: 725. Smart panels: 350. Student information systems: 196. Cybersecurity: 153. (This chart is based on a June 7 compilation by the data-services firm Burbio of Covid-relief spending plans released by 5,004 school districts and charter schools in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The sample represents roughly 74% of the nation's public-school students and receives $83 billion of the $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funds. The categories reflect spending for hardware and software, as well as data systems.)

Much of the spending in the first two rounds of federal Covid relief aid went toward the hardware and software needed to connect students to school remotely. Even as schools return to in-person instruction, technology and connectivity remain important priorities for school districts and charter schools included in the Burbio sample. Local education agencies plan to continue investing in student mobile devices and  “technology that supports learning and enables students to learn anywhere.” Some expect to invest in better internet connectivity and on developing or supporting virtual models, online school or distance learning. Many places are investing in instructional software–included in three Burbio categories–either for remote or in-person instruction.

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Graphic by Merry Alderman Design