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Remote home schooling isn't supposed to replace the classroom

But it may for a long time: Here's how it works best.

Schoology platform features
PowerSchool's Schoology platform is for teachers, students and administrators. The company says it pulls together services and modules from many third parties to allow teaching styles to be preserved.

School used to be mostly about getting educated at school. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which moved 50 million students out of school and largely online in the US. The situation doesn't promise a return to previous levels of classroom attendance anytime soon, yet many believe online learning is a stopgap measure. Now what?

Now playing: Watch this: How the best schools are doing remote classes

"There's a lot of talk that full online distance learning doesn't work," said Hardeep Gulati, CEO of PowerSchool, an online education management tech company whose Schoology platform is used by many schools. In an interview with CNET's Brian Cooley, he said the company's data shows that schools that had already integrated an online education platform before the pandemic have 92% engagement rates with students now. That's compared with 50% engagement at schools that had to adopt an online learning platform for the first time due to COVID-19. 

While the Schoology platform is focused now on digital learning and school management, "I would choose not to replace physical interaction but to augment and empower teachers better," Gulati said. "In a public school district, 40% of a teacher's time goes into administrative tasks which can be automated so they can spend more time teaching."

Hardeep Gulati

Hardeep Gulati, CEO, PowerSchool


Nor does Gulati recommend his company's platform as a way to conform or normalize one style of education or success measures. "One of the beauties of US education is that we don't believe in a cookie-cutter education. The challenge is how to capture all the energy and interaction in the classroom online. We allow every teacher to bring their (style of) instruction online."

PowerSchool's CEO shared many more insights about the intersection of education and online technology with CNET's Brian Cooley, which you can see in the video above.


Now What is a video interview series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers trends impacting businesses and consumers amid the "new normal." There will always be change in our world, and we'll be here to discuss how to navigate it all.