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Education And The Cloud: Fad, Or Benefit-Rich Phenomenon?

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Everyone seems to be raving about the benefits of cloud computing. It saves hard drive space, it allows users to access their needed files from anywhere and at any time, and it can offer seamless compatibility across platforms and devices. But despite its many benefits, there remain a few skeptics. Some say that cloud computing is what they have seen before, only repackaged and remarketed. Still others say that cloud computing may have plenty of benefits for business, but not so much for other areas such as education.

In fact, it may be difficult to find a lot of information about the impact of cloud computing on education, simply because there’s so much talk about its impact on the business world. And while the return on investment, saved costs and improved efficiency may be all the rage when the topic is business, none of these goals are achievable without first having obtained the knowledge needed to reach them.

Reducing the Load
A major cause of students dropping out of the school system can be attributed to the lack of infrastructure that’s needed to support them. This can include anything from too few teachers to a small classroom.

Enter cloud computing. When resources are made available in the cloud, all schools in a network can have a substantially-reduced load, as well as afford all other schools in that network the benefit of leveraged efficiency.

In cases where a small classroom or lack of teachers poses the biggest issue, cloud computing can put classrooms in the cloud, where classrooms can have an infinite number of students who benefit from the presence of a teacher no matter how far away they may geographically be. Indeed, the future of cloud computing may see some of the world’s best teachers instructing from the cloud.

Sharing Resources
Learning in a physical classroom can mean dozens of school computers, all of which must be upgraded and maintained throughout their useful lives. This can cost a school a lot of time and money, and requires that an IT person or team be present in case something should go amiss with the school’s computer system. But when education occurs in the cloud, all maintenance and upgrading is up to the service provider, which means that more resources can be devoted to teaching.

The software and hardware needed to educate students can come at a high price, which may be the reason that so many schools don’t have enough. This issue not only bars students from having the most complete learning experience possible, but may reduce their ability to compete in the working world.

A cloud solution would put all of the latest technologies where they are accessible by all, leveling the playing field of all educational institutions while offering the best tools possible for students.

The Future of Cloud-Based Education
The idea of putting classroom content like lectures online to provide more physical classroom time is gaining in popularity, with many tools now available to support this ‘flipped classroom’ concept. And in our society, where the content we desire is available whenever we like, this demand is also being seen in the educational world. There is now the expectation that one can perform all of the tasks surrounding education, such as studying, from where ever and at any time they wish.

One big sign that cloud computing is getting a firm foot-hold in the educational world is coming from well-recognized schools like Stanford University, who are now making some of their course content available online. Other top schools are offering online courses to students all over the world for a fee.

An Exciting Time to Be an Educator or Student
When considering the benefits of the cloud computing phenomenon to education, it’s important to note that the changes occurring in the education system are only the beginning. As the technology changes, evolves and matures, so will the benefits to students and teachers. Cloud computing has come a long way since its humble beginnings, and as it evolves, so may the opinion that it doesn’t offer many benefits.

Citations:
  • Stanford offering online classes

Guest author Deborah Romero enjoys writing on a variety of topics, particularly related to technology.  She has assembled information to help consumers locate internet providers in Miami.

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