The Cloud Goes to School-The Connected Student

Do you remember your first day of school?  There was something magical about the smell of new crayons, a fresh pair of rounded tip scissors, an unblemished spiral notebook and sharp #2’s. Today’s students might be cataloging those memories differently with the connected world.  Their fond memories might include a new device charger, a clean, uncracked mobile device screen and a $100.00 data storage gift card.  Where exactly does cloud computing reach into the world of the connected student?  Throw on your backpack, grab your BPA-free water bottle and let’s hop a ride on a big yellow bus to explore where a student in K-12 is connected to the cloud.

EdTech says that the most tech-savvy schools and the move to mobile are actually driving the marketplace. Students and parents are also expecting a seamless, virtual education process and an easy way to respond and communicate to staff and teachers.  In the age of the mobile device, the connected faculty member, student or parent expects a responsive 24/7 service model. Students are at “home” in the cloud, accustomed to working in a mobile world, and the newer generations have grown up utilizing technology practically from infancy. The wide availability of cloud-based applications is also steering BYOD into the classroom. Many school districts have incorporated school-based infrastructures that allow students to use personal devices from home to access classroom resources and cloud applications. This is a more cost-efficient way to increase productivity and collaboration in the classroom. The growing use of mobile devices and the integration of cloud computing and virtual access has also created a big change in the way teaching and learning happen today. Check out the school program that is embracing the use of technology and training new students in coding, called ipadpaloozain .

Cost efficiency and ease of operations are also driving the push towards the cloud as Avni Rambhia, digital media industry manager, Frost & Sullivan, explains : “Educational institutions are typically resource-constrained, and the cloud-based option takes the headache and responsibility of installing, maintaining and troubleshooting systems away from district IT and towards the vendor. This works out to a more reliable platform with lower total cost of ownership.” A report by CDW Government found that over 40 percent of schools use cloud applications to store their data and by 2016, schools are expected to spend 35 percent of IT budgets on the cloud.

From the registration process to the inner workings of the education edifice students and parents will experience cloud computing in some form.  K-12 school systems are looking for cost-effective ways to handle maintenance, upgrades and respond rapidly to changing IT demands and the cloud offers solutions that allow agility and speed in response Ever changing IT demands can mean an ever changing IT staff and the cost associated with making those changes.  Finding and keeping staff in this fluctuating environment can prove to be challenging and it can be more cost effective with a greater degree of stability to partner with a cloud-computing firm.

As you look outside of the inner workings of the public school system itself we find the cloud reaching beyond campus life and floating into the community at large.

The day of the brick and mortar school building is transitioning to a virtual cloud shaped education. Students can participate in class from a Virtual room, hang-out in a study group online, access lectures, mobile apps, and slide presentations all while in the library, their classroom or in their bedroom. They have the ability to collaborate with peers, their teachers and share ideas from virtual drives in real time, without ever setting foot in a school building.  Many high schools now offer “virtual” learning opportunities for completion of their high school diploma for their students, most of which is housed in the cloud. The key to an education in today’s market is a connected device that connects to hands that connect to a brain.  It is really just that simple.

There are some tips and tools that can make it even easier and used to help the student, whether in a school building or through distance learning.  These tools like shared cloud drives that allow for sharing documents or a way to hand write lecture notes that translate to a virtual document. There are social media sites that allow collaboration or input from those in the workforce, communication tools that are school district specific that give the student a peek into the social pulse of the school and group specific connection tools for extracurricular or sports activities.

The mobile and cloud education that your child will receive today is preparing them for being the connected college student in the future and possibly even preparing them for an IT career. After college and through the job search process for recent graduates, cloud technology is invaluable. Cloud Technology is in fact creating an entire new workforce itself as it is an increasing part of the technology field.

So as you school shop in preparation for the new school year, remember that you may be trading in those sharp #2’s for Internet 2.0!