Cloud computing can help education
Cloud computing is one of the most talked about solutions in the education industry. School IT managers and educators know first hand that technology changes have been constant, and the potential they create for young learners is tremendous. Yet there are still many teachers and educators that are unclear on what computing in the “cloud” really means.
How cloud computing helps schools
- Easy access – Lesson plans, labs, grades, notes, PowerPoint slides – just about anything digital that you use in teaching is easily uploaded and accessed anytime. No more carrying around devices, such as thumb drives or CDs. You don’t need to worry about losing the device, breaking the CD, or not having your information load properly.
- Sharing – You can share some or all of your files that you have stored in the cloud. No more obtaining an extra thumb drive or burning another CD or DVD. You just need to send a link to the file(s) destination.
- Collaboration – You can set up various student groups to work on projects and assignments in the cloud.
- Tracking changes – Let’s say you made some changes to a lesson and want to change it back – no problem! Cloud computing will save multiple revisions and versions of a document so that you can chronologically trace back the evolution of an item.
- No more photocopies – With cloud computing, the amount of photocopying is reduced significantly – even more so if each student has their own smart device (computer, laptop, tablet, etc.). Quizzes, tests, assignments all can be taken, scored, shared with students and parents, and stored.
- Stability – One of the greatest benefits of the cloud is scalability. Cloud computing is now to the point of being a very stable technology that you can rely on.
- No more file cabinets – With cloud computing redundancy, there is no longer the need to both save files digitally as well as in paper format. Cloud computing systems are regularly backed-up, so the chances of losing content are reduced significantly. Plus, no more file cabinets means more classroom space for the teachers and the students, right?
- Increased engagement and productivity – Cloud services nicely complement what research has discovered about the benefits of tablets: how their mobility and flexibility leads to greater collaboration and engagement. With cloud computing, the programs used to create and share become even more mobile, exponentially increasing the pedagogical benefits. In the SafeGove.org report, 51% of staff surveyed envisioned benefits such as better exam results.
- Potential cost savings – Moving to the cloud usually means moving away from a CAPEX model (physical assets that depreciate) to an OPEX model (pay per use). Cloud services could be a cheaper option for schools that face funding cuts, yet still have to invest in technology to improve learning standards. Also, cloud computing can bring cost savings in terms of buying, leasing, and maintaining photocopiers and printers, ink cartridges, and paper.
- Security – Anything you store in the cloud usually requires authentication (ID and password, for example), so it is not easily accessible by anyone. In addition, should something happen to the technology at school, your content will still be available to both teachers and students if it is stored elsewhere.
If your school has information technology infrastructure (wired and/or wireless), it is easy to implement cloud computing. And, the advantages of cloud computing far outweigh any disadvantages, right?
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