Cloud Computing: a key tool for the schools of tomorrow
Data is becoming increasingly available across devices and the cloud is more and more a part of our everyday life. In a world that is rapidly moving towards full digitalization, this is the right time to start looking at the impact that cloud computing has had and will continue to have on education.
The more we understand this technology the easier it will be to successfully integrate it into the school system, making the best of the advantages it offers.
Content is becoming accessible from anywhere, at any time. Whereas our device used to be the only tool to access our work, today a lost or broken laptop no longer means losing your data with it.
Students are able to start their work on school devices and continue working from their own devices at home, while teachers are able to monitor their progress.
Teachers can send additional assignments, reading material or schedule changes and be sure all students will be notified.
Going forward we can expect that students will no longer need to commute to school, or at least not regularly, as they will be able to learn from their homes or even from another country. This is going to mean a lot for lower income families, students with disabilities, international students and continuing education students. Platforms like Coursera, founded by Stanford University professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, allow students to find courses, specialization programs, and degrees without leaving their home.
Schools and students won’t need cutting-edge technology, any browser and internet connection will work. Smart devices like Chromebooks will ensure all students can access the internet at a reasonable price.
Sharing textbooks is also becoming simpler and cheaper, as reading material only needs to be uploaded once to be instantly available to the whole class.
Additionally, cloud computing means saving resources, as it will progressively lead to a paperless school system.
We can also expect the cost of higher education to decrease significantly going forward, as thanks to remote learning professors will be able to teach larger classes with more flexible schedules.
The cloud is safer than hardware when it comes to storing and sharing data, its advantages involve both data security and data recovery. All content shared via the cloud is end-to-end encrypted, making it ideal for sending any document. Depending on the cloud service used the user can choose whether to let the system keep the encryption key, which is accessed every time a user logs in with their password -this is how iCloud, google docs, dropbox work- or keep the key themselves -a less popular option available on services like Mega and SpiderOak.- However, it is possible to encrypt files prior to uploading them to the cloud, which is currently considered the safest way.
It is highly recommended for teachers and school administrators to be assisted by IT specialist before uploading sensitive data to the cloud.
Coworking and group projects
Students no longer need to be in the same place to work together on a group project. They no longer need to be in front of a teacher for their work to be presented and graded.
Teachers can also add changes and correction to a project from their location directly on the file, providing real-time feedback.
This coworking method has already been very successful when it comes to different classes or schools working together on a project, even internationally.