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Before the pandemic, U.S. history teacher Travis Malekpour hesitated assigning his students work in the classroom that required a computer. He knew not every student had a laptop or tablet.

Three years later, Malekpour, who teaches in Queens, doesn’t think twice about assigning and grading in-class work that requires a device. 

After COVID shuttered campuses in March 2020, forcing schools to pivot to remote learning, the city spent more than $360 million to buy 725,000 iPads and Chromebooks. That seismic shift made devices more accessible to students than ever before — and has now pushed some teachers to fold technology more often into their lesson plans. 

“Having students who now have tablets and laptops they bring to school definitely changes the game a little bit,” Malekpour said. 

The city’s education department has embraced some virtual education models, including a hybrid high school program that mixes virtual instruction with in-person activities. They’ve also used federal relief dollars to fund virtual courses for students at small schools that can’t provide such classes. More recently, schools began using computer programs to prepare students for upcoming state English and math tests, angering some educators and families who want children to be interacting directly with instructors, Gothamist reported. 

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