What is Cloud Computing?


Cloud computing refers to expandable, on-demand services and tools that are served to the user via the Internet from specialized data centers and consume almost no local processing or storage resources. Cloud computing resources support collaboration, file storage, virtualization, and access to computing cycles, and the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies has grown to the point that few education institutions do not make some use of the cloud, whether as a matter of policy or not. Over the past few years, cloud computing has been firmly established as an efficient way for businesses to protect data, develop applications, deliver software and online platforms, and to collaborate. Education institutions are deploying similar cloud-based strategies to boost collaboration, productivity, and mobility in teaching and learning.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Cloud computing is obviously already here in a big way when it comes to collaboration and productivity. The next phase is for more and more creative tools and services to be pushed to the cloud (this is already underway with tools like TinkerCAD, which will only get more robust). Once minimal local processing is required, even graphic intensive tasks like 3D modeling/rendering will be done on remote servers. What used to require a $2000 workstation on the user end will now require a tablet or low spec laptop and an internet connection.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 4, 2015 Good point, heavier programs will be more available as cloud computing continues to develop. - kurt.wittig kurt.wittig Nov 7, 2015
  • Well stated, Jason. It's clear that cloud computing will continue to impact teaching and learning. - jerry.szombathy jerry.szombathy Nov 5, 2015
  • It is amazing how some technologies are adopted so quickly making thoughts and frustrations of just a few years ago a distant memory. The basic task of backing up data is rarely an issue now that most of what we do is stored in the cloud. Tears of frustration and anguish were a daily occurrence just 5 years ago as people lost their work. Lost data does happen, but it is very infrequent and usually only one item and not a year's work. We take for granted that what we do on one device is now readily available on another. This accessibility has changed behaviour as people no longer rely on bringing a particular device with them, they just look for available access and start working.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 6, 2015
  • Linked to the above is significant role Cloud Computing has taken on in almost everything we do digitally. One of the reasons people took to this technology so quickly was that it did (most) of what we already did better and added the invaluable feature of realtime sharing. This meant cloud computing was fairly easy to adapt to while providing the added benefits of collaboration.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 6, 2015
  • Cloud computing allows us to untether learning by allowing students and teachers to access resources, their own resources, regardless of device, platform, or location. Cloud computing finally allows for anytime anywhere learning (as long as you have connectivity and a device). As such, the collaboration and connection potential for learning is immense.- matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Once the tools for creativity and collaboration all work reliably in the cloud, BYOD will be an obvious move for schools. It won't make sense to purchase 500 Macbooks every few years when all the student will need is their personal laptop/tablet/phone to record and edit movies, create objects to run on a 3D printer, etc.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 4, 2015 Agreed. Also, transferring from one device to another is no longer a concern. Plug in, sign in, and go! - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 6, 2015
  • A HUGE shift towards the importance of uninterrupted, reliable bandwidth. We rely on the cloud for almost everything we do from attendance to reporting, to day to day lessons. As many have learned from unforeseen school closures (natural disasters, political unrest, etc.), if the plug is pulled on our digital connection things come to a halt and significant re-adjustments need to be made. Reliable bandwidth could, and perhaps should, be a topic on its own as we see Cloud Computing becoming more sophisticated; taking on more and more high processing tasks such as video editing, photo manipulation, 3D design, etc. It needs to be seamless to be successful and that requires bandwidth.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 6, 2015Agreed- kurt.wittig kurt.wittig Nov 7, 2015Agreed- matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • The implications for collaboration are massive. While students can currently create docs and presentations in the cloud, they will soon be able to have the same collaborative power in creating movies, 3D objects, games, etc. by working in the same virtual space simultaneously. Schools will be able to focus funds on being a resource hub for the community (providing 3D printers, advanced A/V equipment, drones, VR equipment, Greenscreen, etc.).- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 4, 2015
  • Advances and improvements in cloud computing are at the heart of many other innovations in this list. It's easy to overlook the importance of this topic because it's so fundamental to everything else being considered. - jerry.szombathy jerry.szombathy Nov 5, 2015
  • Beyond the school network, this is the central advance for tech infused teaching and learning success. I agree with my colleagues on this one that it really removes the barriers towards access to resources and sharing - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Many cities seem to have seen the importance of using the cloud and have now started to change the infrastructure by making fibre optic cabling a priority. Google Fiber (sic) has expanded to 9 cities in the States with plans to double that number, soon. Seoul, South Korea is similar.
  • - kurt.wittig kurt.wittig Nov 7, 2015As internet access becomes widespread through the race to connect the planet with projects like Loon http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/28/9631728/alphabet-google-project-loon-indonesia-wifi-internet-access , entire populations of people will soon have access to cloud based software that have never before had access to computing devices or software. The world will suddenly have a window into these populations and growth minded individuals from these populations will be able to communicate on the international stage.
  • In my current school, teachers use tools like Word Press, Google Drive, Youtube, Google Classroom, Edmodo, Moodle, and iTunes U to offer teaching materials online to provide students opportunities to learn anywhere anytime. We are finding that we are moving more student work to the cloud in order to increase visibility, accessibility and ownership. Some data are stored on servers within the school and other are relying on third party software. Issues to consider are sustainability, privacy, ways to backup the data, and ways to retrieve the data for leavers. We are also finding less desktop software is needed to achieve curriculum goals. Teachers can deliver most of the curriculum online (some lessons still need face-to-face interaction) if a sustainable, robust school internet connection is available.- makky.fung makky.fung Nov 9, 2015
  • At British School of Jakarta, we only allow systems to come in house if the bandwidth in Indonesia won't support them or we have no other option. Our mantra is Cloud Cloud Cloud. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

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