When I started teaching, syncing work between school and home was impossible. Completing homework required either printing it and bringing it in as paper or–well, nothing. There was no way to get it into a student school drive from home. Thanks to cloud computing, that nightmare is over. Cristopher Burge who runs the website Cloud Storage Advice, has a great rundown on how cloud computing has revolutionized education:
The concept of cloud computing saw its beginnings in the educational sector ever since the first open source websites saw the light of day. Online libraries and collections of free didactic documents were a reality as early as 1997, through the Cisco Networking Academy. American entrepreneur Salman Khan (not to be confused with the Bollywood actor of the same name) founded a similar project ten years later, namely the Khan Academy.
Cloud Computing in the Educational Sector
And yet, cloud computing for school and universities wasn’t a top priority less than a decade ago. According to statistics published by Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman, only 4% of the school and education system was interested in cloud computing in 2009. It registered as one of the lower ranking fields on the list, but it still managed to position itself in the top ten.
Nevertheless, an article published in the International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications one year later in 2010 uncovered that 88% of teaching professionals saw a need for integration of the service. Fast forward to 2018, how many schools in the world can actually say that they executed this?
Still, educational institutions and their staff are decidedly more open-minded from this point of view nowadays. Although many professors still favor hard copies, online libraries have also made their way into the course plan in some places across the globe. Even if they don’t have their own database quite yet, at least recommendations for third-party applications exist now.
Implementing a cloud storage platform at a school is a great way to gather all this knowledge into one unified place that can be accessed by students. Simply put, there are quite a few reasons why institutions can profit from the employment of such technologies for teaching and learning purposes. We will explore them together in the next section of this article.
Virtual Classrooms and Labs
The concept of virtual classrooms has been around for a while now, with many schools benefitting from in-house programs dedicated to the organization of courses. However, such an endeavor was usually extremely costly and time-consuming, as well as poorly optimized for the necessities of each individual educator.
Here is where the cloud comes in to save the day once more. Many renowned names in the game, such as Blackboard and Google, are now offering their own cloud-based virtual classroom suites. With their help, teachers can systematize lessons, assign papers, keep track of attendance, and distribute grades more efficiently.
In addition to this, platforms such as CloudShare offer virtual training labs for their users. With their help, trainers can create virtual scenarios that their students engage with and apply in a computer-generated space. Results can be then assessed and graded accordingly, which facilitates the overall learning experience immensely.
Extended Access to Education
The progress of technology has brought upon an increase in the demand for education. As revolutionary fields such as those of artificial intelligence or augmented reality become central to our world’s economy, so does the need for young trained professionals to take on the responsibilities that come with this advance.
Thus, the future of education lies in online media. One example of a platform facilitating the completion of a higher edification is Coursera, a cloud-based service that offers a variety of courses, as well as quite a few specializations and degrees. In addition to this, accessing resources from the comfort of a smart device has an undeniably attractive convenience to it.
Lower Maintenance Costs
As highlighted by a survey conducted at the College of Computing and Informatics in Saudi Arabia in collaboration with Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems in New York, cloud computing is an excellent way to expand the scoped of modern education through unlimited and cost-efficient web-based resources.
Organizations that use this type of platform in their courses generally report lower maintenance costs overall, as the need to pay for licensing and supporting hardware and software is gradually phased out by the cloud. In addition to this, the flexibility that is inherent to the service decreases expenses and workload at the level of IT staff as well.
The Bottom Line
Cloud computing and all the different platforms supporting it has shaped the way we look at education today. Over the course of the following years, this is bound to change even more. the future of learning will happen online, and there’s no doubt about that. Thus, it is our responsibility to prepare and embrace the endless possibilities.
Author Bio: Cristopher Burge is a very passionate writer with a master’s degree in information technology, specialized in network management and defense. His biggest passion is, of course, technology. He loves researching and writing about it because he believes that it should be our ally. On his website, Cloud Storage Advice, you can find more detailed information about online storage, reviews, and hot trends.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.