The benefits of cloud computing aren’t a secret anymore. Education has seen an explosion of technology integration thanks to the ease and accessibility of the cloud. It’s also the best option for secure, scalable file storage. That indicates a bright future of cloud computing, especially in the education sector.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing in Schools
In order to understand the future of the cloud in classrooms it’s important to understand the benefits of cloud computing specifically in the education setting.
Up to Date & Up to the Minute
Have you ever looked at a textbook and worried about how out of date it is? Whether in an urban or rural school district, outdated materials are a common problem, especially as schools lack funding. The cloud offers instant access to current materials. An unlimited number of users share and access materials, usually for free (Technavio).
More Time Spent Learning
The cloud nearly eradicates time wasted on searching for thumb drives that get buried in the bottom of backpacks or left at home. Because the cloud can be accessed from anywhere there’s an internet connection, students can connect on any device without the hassle of a dumped backpack to sift through (Aspect).
The Green Option
Say goodbye to the waste of copying documents that only get thrown out. One of the benefits of cloud computing many people overlook is the fact that it’s a way to start going paperless.
For more benefits of cloud computing in education, check out last week’s post.
What is the Future of Cloud Computing in Classrooms?
According to Business Wire, educational settings around the globe will see an increase in cloud computing of more than 25% per year through 2021. While much of this has to do with the benefits of cloud computing, there are also applications specific to education that have districts moving toward the cloud.
Built in Analytics Makes Cloud Computing Perfect for K-12 Education
Today’s students are assessed regularly and measured by their growth – but tracking growth has been a problem for education professionals for years because of the amount of time and data it requires. Students have to be tested at the start of each unit of study to see their baseline, then throughout the learning until it’s done to see the progress they make. But because curriculums spiral and are differentiated, each year the amount that needs to be tracked is greater. What’s a spiral curriculum? And what’s differentiated instruction?
Students start school and learn basic math skills like counting. But then they learn addition. Later addition becomes the foundation for multiplication. This continues, with students building on what came before so in order to know how to teach them (differentiated instruction) teachers need to know where they are. That’s a lot of assessment and data and calculation. Enter the cloud.
Most educational applications in the cloud offer built in analytics. Learning is tracked instantly and can be accessed simply by clicking on a child’s educational record. This allows teachers more time to create high quality, differentiated lessons that meet each child’s unique learning style needs versus figuring out how to track every stage of their growth. Students are able to have more attention from teachers and spend more time learning topics and applying them.
Teach Students How They Learn
Most students don’t learn from the old “sage on the stage” method. In this antiquated approach the teacher stands at the front of the room and recites material. Students listen and take notes with little guidance. This is pedagogically unsound. K-12 students learn better other ways.
First, students learn better when a new concept connects to one that is already known – this is why anecdotes work so well and why learning across the curriculum is so encouraged (Edutopia). Students come into contact with a topic they already know. It is thus easier for them to acquire new, more advanced knowledge.
Second, students learn better through collaboration. Much of this has to do with the way they engage with material. When someone talks at a student with information they may get some of it, but make them responsible for talking about or even teaching it to others and they’ll learn it better, quicker (Stanford University).
While the sage on the stage was great for rote learning it doesn’t develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. More engaging practices, like the Socratic method, offer deeper understanding. This is the pedagogical practice of posing a question to students. When a student answers, the teacher questions each answer more deeply. Students think beyond facts and instead pull in other areas of knowledge and apply them.
Finally, collaboration encourages conversation on topics by and between students. Students learn from others. They assimilate topics into their lives by working with it directly through discussion, debate and explanation. The cloud is all about collaboration.
Cloud Computing & Higher Education
Professionals are ditching traditional work schedules, but they’re not the only ones. Those seeking degrees are also changing up the paradigm. Whether its people in the workforce going back for a bachelor’s or master’s degree while working or a student who is also a professional athlete or needs to work to afford tuition, Higher Ed needs to be accessible (CoreStack). Many people simply do not have the luxury of attending college full time.
We’re already seeing the future of cloud computing in university settings. Students can attend classes via video or by watching recordings of lectures. Proprietary or existing software like Blackboard handles assignments in the cloud.
As with telecommuting and working remotely, one of the benefits of cloud computing in colleges and universities is the significant reduction in time spent on commuting, dealing with hardware and having to fit life, work and school together when two of those traditionally exist in the same nine to five time frame.
Is your Educational Setting Ready for the Cloud?
Whether you’re running a small independent school or work for a large district or university, Computer Resources of America can help you incorporate the cloud into your educational institution. Contact us today to learn how we can help.
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