As lockdowns stretch on, is edtech passing or failing?

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Back in January, Georgia Tech professor David Joyner got a cryptic email from a student based in Wuhan, China.

“I’m under quarantine, but my internet access is okay so I have more time to spend on classwork, I wanted to let you know,” the message read. Unsure why Wuhan would be under quarantine, Joyner did a quick Google search and saw the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I thought, there’s something going on in Wuhan so maybe we’ll have some students affected by it,” Joyner said. Fast-forward two months and the coronavirus is a household term. All of Joyner’s students, regardless of geography, have been impacted by the pandemic.

It has been a little over a month since colleges and schools across the country started shutting down due to COVID-19. Edtech startups had a surge in usage and a demand for more resources than ever. Now that the adoption scramble has slowed, the same startups are reckoning with unprecedented use cases.

Everyone knows how they’re expected to behave in a physical classroom, but can you stop a student from cheating when taking a test in their bedroom at home? How should teachers offer 1:1 time and take questions during a lesson?

Piazza founder Pooja Sankar says teachers face more open questions: “What does it mean to record myself? What does it mean to have a camera on my face? How do I know I can hold a class with reliable internet connection?”