What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing refers to expandable, on-demand services and tools that are served to the user via the Internet from a specialized data center and do not live on a user’s device. Cloud computing resources support collaboration, file storage, virtualization, and access to computing cycles, and the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies have grown to the point that few institutions do not make some use of the cloud, whether as a matter of policy or not. Cloud computing is often used as a synonym for grid computing, in which unused processing cycles of all computers in a single network are leveraged to troubleshoot issues that cannot be resolved by a single machine. The primary distinction is how the host computers are accessed. Clouds, especially those supported by dedicated data centers, can be public, private, secure, or a hybrid of any or all of these. Many businesses, organizations, and institutions use storage, software (SAAS), and API services to reduce IT overhead costs. Google Apps, a SAAS provider, for example, has become a popular choice for education institutions and many have moved their email infrastructure to Gmail and adopted Google Docs for document sharing and collaboration, but such services do not meet the high security needs of many corporations or government agencies. Private cloud computing solves these issues by providing common cloud solutions in secure environments. Hybrid clouds provide the benefits of both types. Whether connecting at home, work, school, on the road, or in social spaces, nearly everyone who uses the network relies on cloud computing to access or share their information and applications.

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

  • Cloud Computing needs to be visible in any report on tech in education because it revolutionizes IT mangement in schools (especially K-12). All types of complex software can be easily contracted, not-installed ;-) and require no operational management, etc. etc. (all aspects of cloud computing apply: scalabiliy (up and down), no upfront capital investment, no destruction of capital when abondoning a platform, etc.). Cloud Computing enables a paradigm shift in schools, talking about the application of technology instead of keeping it from breaking down. There some nuance but basically (from the IT perspective) the school becomes yet another location (like the library and McDonalds) where wifi, a table and a power outlets enable students to learn, work and cooperate. This requires good infrastructure but no more servers, software, etc. Any IT manager that says otherwise is afraid for his/her own job, budget and/or team ... - M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013
  • Cloud computing enables the teachers and the students to collaborate using technology and social media. Introducing ways to save data in a safe environment in the clouds will give students and teachers access to everything regardless of location and computers in a less restrictive way than the Learning Management systems can. Schools should be able to collaborate with other schools in other districts and not be limited to their own county. Students should be able to write textbooks together to be used later at the exams. - ann.s.michaelsen ann.s.michaelsen Oct 28, 2013
  • Cloud computing will be very relevant in connection with BYOD and the increasing use of tablets in schools. - u.simmetsberger u.simmetsberger Oct 29, 2013 Cloud Computing and BYOD are inseparable, CC conditional - Pieter.Swager Pieter.Swager Oct 30, 2013 .- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Oct 30, 2013
  • Cloud computing is a must-have technology of today and tomorow. We all have many different devices (stationary PC, laptops, tablets, smartphones,...) an the benefits of cloud computing are huge! The idea that I can use any device with the access to the internet wherever I am for me is revolutionary for the school. The students are mobile and the school must become mobile too. - simon.drazic simon.drazic Oct 31, 2013
  • Schools using cloud computing can reduce overinvestments in ICT - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 2, 2013

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

  • The paradigm shift mentioned above and the opportunity for education offered by the public cloud offering of Google, Microsoft and Apple. I think privacy and missing functionality are used as easy excuses to dismiss public cloud services. Privacy issues are often not that different when applying private cloud solutions, technology can not solve these issues, people can. And when deciding on functionality the 90/10 rule should be applied, do we REALLY need a private cloud platform because this or that function is missing in a public cloud service used by billions of people who apparently are doing fine without that function ?!.... - M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013
  • I think the privacy issue should be addressed more clearly and it would be good to have guidelines. There are many different use cases and they are not all clear. E.g. is it OK for a teacher to store pupils' parents personal information in his google docs that he uses for tracking the communication with parents? Most likely the parents are not aware that the data is stored at Google's, not on school's own ICT system and there is no guarantee that European privacy laws are respected (e.g. data cannot be stored for more than x amount of years).- Riina_Vuorikari Riina_Vuorikari Oct 30, 2013- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Oct 30, 2013
  • add your response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • A conversation about the USE of IT instead of why its not working properly. - M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Oct 30, 2013 True! - simon.drazic simon.drazic Oct 31, 2013
  • I think the potential impact of this technology in European schools education could be that students and teachers start collaborating on a different level. Students need to collaborate more on all levels, from writing together in class, between classes and levels and outside school districts. Again the LMS restricts collaboration and using cloud services would accelerate the work on getting more collaboration between schools! - ann.s.michaelsen ann.s.michaelsen Oct 28, 2013agreed - u.simmetsberger u.simmetsberger Oct 29, 2013
  • I agree with it facilitating collaboration within schools and across schools, but also out of school.It also may help those kids who do not have all the needed software at their home computer/device (e.g. no need to get a pirated copy of Word) - Riina_Vuorikari Riina_Vuorikari Oct 30, 2013
  • Cloud computing can reorganize the way we set up provision and acquisition of IT infrastructures and services in primary and secondary education - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 2, 2013 In fact is doing it now. We are piloting with some school a project with thin clients that, is evaluated as positive, we'll scale. The picture is completely different in terms of management, allocation of costs, software, procedures, but the entry barrier for teachers is not very high, which is good!! - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

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

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