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On Thursday, July 15, Axios business reporter Erica Pandey unpacked how technology is transforming classrooms — from the way students learn to how educators incorporate digital tools for remote learning, featuring Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Khan Academy founder and CEO Sal Khan.

Rep. Houlahan discussed learning loss following the pandemic, the role of virtual learning, and the broader impacts of disrupted education around the world.

  • On virtual learning: "I don't think in the immediate future we should see a world where everything is virtual...But I do think we need a world where should we be in a position where another shock to our system happens that we have access to technologies equitably."
  • Why education is a foreign policy issue: "If you have a whole part of the world that has lost significant ground and is significantly disadvantaged, as I believe will be the case, then you have destabilization. You have economies that are unsettled. Understanding how that learning loss affects not just us in our communities and country, but also across the globe is really important."

Sal Khan highlighted the impact of digital inequities on education, and how the pandemic has accelerated discussions around internet and technology access for students.

  • On accelerating the conversation around the digital divide: "Over the last 10 years, we saw a lot of progress in the classroom setting of closing the digital divide. But then the pandemic put a big spotlight on the at-home setting. It's been unfortunate because I think it did exacerbate inequality."
  • On leverage technology in and outside of classrooms: "I think the physical environment is always going to be central...But the best is when you can leverage the best of both worlds. Let's see where technology can be valuable and not just for technology's sake but in service. To what pedagogical goals can we give access to certain coursework that a classroom might not have? Can we provide new ways of explaining things?"

Axios Vice President of Growth Mia Vallo hosted a View from the Top segment with Director of Education Product Partnerships at Facebook, Dr. Adam Seldow, who discussed challenges faced by educators during the pandemic and the digital tools developed to help facilitate their work.

  • "Educators were and still are in many ways deeply affected by the pandemic. Imagine spending the bulk of your career teaching in a traditional classroom [and] then all of a sudden attempting to do this from your living room..It's an immediate reality for educators across the globe. And in these challenging times, we need our community, we need resources and in some cases a whole new set of tools."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A Hard Truths event on the tech industry

On Tuesday, October 19th, Axios Editor-in-Chief Sara Kehaulani Goo and chief technology correspondent Ina Fried examined the current inequities within hiring practices, workplace culture and development in the tech industry today, featuring Girls Who Code CEO Dr. Tarika Barrett and TechEquity Collaborative founder & CEO Catherine Bracy.

Dr. Tarika Barrett explained how to engage and empower young girls to learn tech skills, how the pandemic exacerbated access to educational tools, and how big tech companies can address the industry’s gender gap.

  • On empowering the next generation of tech leaders: “Having more representation of women and people of color in tech in particular, can actually be the difference we need to empower a pipeline of young people and girls of color to pursue the tech careers of the future.”
  • On the gender gap in the tech industry: “As we are simultaneously addressing this growing gender gap in tech and trying to prepare our girls and young women for these thriving, exciting careers of the future, we also know that it’s within an industry that continues to sometimes be the source of negative news and troubling instances of discrimination.”

Catherine Bracy highlighted how tech platforms and their business models affect the broader economic well-being of a community, and the importance of improving working conditions for different tiers of workers at tech companies.

  • On inequities for contracted employees at tech companies: “We have done research that shows that not only are they treated differently because of labor laws and whatever else, but they are also more likely to be members of underrepresented minority groups.”
  • On how tech companies can better support contracted workers: “We do think that if they’re going to contract out, that they should ensure with the vendors that they’re using to provide this workforce, that those workers have an equal level of protection, benefits, stability as their full-time workforce. I feel like that’s the least that they can do.”

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Goldman Sachs Chief Operating Officer for Global Investment Research Gizelle George-Joseph, who spoke about how structural barriers affect labor market opportunities for minority communities.

  • “We talk about education, and six decades after Brown vs. Board of Education, 70% of Black students still attend a school where the majority of students are non-white. All of these have really broad repercussions for Black women and very large negative impacts on college graduation rates, on the labor market, and ultimately on our life outcomes.”

Thank you Goldman Sachs for sponsoring this event.

Biden says he'll make Supreme Court pick by end of February

President Biden speaks on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday said he will announce the nominee for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's replacement by the end of February.

Driving the news: Biden also affirmed that he will nominate a Black woman to replace Breyer, saying "it's long overdue."

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

State of play: Breyer said his retirement will take effect when the court "rises for the summer recess (typically late June or early July) assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed."

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