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Technology in the Classroom: Cloud Computing in Education

With cloud computing students have all the materials at their fingertips. Cloud computing can make many of a teacher’s biggest challenges much simpler. Every educator faces the daunting task of organizing reams of handouts, worksheets and assignments, except those who work with cloud computing. With all of your student work, assignments and lesson plans stored in a cloud, you never have to deal with stacks of paper again.

What is cloud computing?

According to, it is “storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. Rather than loading programs and saving documents onto your computer, cloud computing allows you to use internet-based applications. This saves memory on your computer, usually costs less, and allows you to access your information, apps and programs from any device. Once you sign into your personal account, all of your settings are exactly as you left them, no matter where you are.

What can cloud computing do for education?

There are a lot of benefits which are particularly helpful to teachers, schools and districts. One example is cloud-based digital textbooks. They allow students to access the materials from anywhere, rather than having to lug around heavy tomes. As long as they remember to bring their tablets or computers to class, they will have all of the materials right at their fingertips. Digital textbooks tend to be more cost-effective than classic printed books for a number of reasons. Firstly, the initial subscription is usually more reasonable. Additionally, when new editions come out, the books will automatically update, so your school doesn’t need to continuously invest in new sets every time the information is updated. Schools are reluctant to invest in new sets of books every year, but with the fast-paced development of the modern world, particularly in STEM education subjects, books become obsolete and outdated incredibly quickly. With cloud-based textbooks, students can enjoy fully-updated editions as soon as they are available, without schools purchasing whole new sets of books. In addition to digital textbooks, there is also the benefit of easily-shared information. Educators can use cloud-based apps for education to have students hand in assignments digitally. This saves teachers from having to keep track of and carry around piles of student work. Many of these apps also enable educators to send students class materials and reminders in real-time which saves on printing and ensures that everyone is up-to-date. Cloud computing in education can make a big difference outside of the classroom as well. Districts can store important documents and guidelines in a cloud so teachers, department chairs and principals can access them easily at any time. Educators can save their lesson plans and worksheets in a cloud and easily share them with any colleague, or retrieve them from year to year. Even if a device crashes or a teacher gets a new computer, all of their hard work will be safely stored on the internet, and available for easy access from any device.

The Challenges of Cloud Computing in Education

As with anything new, and especially things relating to technology, you should expect a learning curve and some resistance when introducing cloud computing to teachers. Whether it is a school-wide or district-wide move, or even just the personal decision of an individual teacher, figuring out what works best will take some time. Administrators are not likely to buy into a whole new system in one shot. It will likely require an adjustment period where the old system is slowly phased out. To use cloud computing effectively, you need a strong internet connection. This means that if for some reason the internet is down one day, you will need to know how to adjust so your students can still learn. Some applications have an offline mode which is useful in such a situation. There is also the challenge of making sure that all faculty members and students know how to use the cloud properly, and offering support to those who need extra help. Cloud computing is already revolutionizing the way teachers work. With all of the time and effort that it saves, educators have more time and energy for other tasks. With the ability to use cloud computing in our schools, we can ensure that everyone has access to all of the materials anytime, anywhere.
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