When I think about the word cloud computing, I am constantly drawn to Apple’s latest announcement of the iCloud – coming to a computer near you in the fall; however, that, in my opinion, is a different type of cloud. Apple’s version of the cloud is going to push information to various devices synced together (ex. Music will be stored in the cloud, and then automatically pushed to your devices). Therefore, the device matters in this regard because of the necessity to push content to the various devices. The more popular form of a cloud is where the device doesn’t matter. I think of that cloud in comparison to GoogleApps, where a user can log on from any device and access all of the information necessary. The latter type of cloud will be much more sustainable in nature because of the myriad of devices once could choose and still access the content. Hence, the Chromebook. These devices are primarily built for utilizing and browsing the Internet; thus, the cost is lower and access via 3G of WiFi is available on most of the devices. I really like the functionality of these Chromebooks and the cloud itself because I know that I have been the victim of losing information or forgetting a flash drive, when I really needed a document.
As the main IT person at my school, this video brings a smile to my face where education and cloud and Chromebooks are heading. These benefits will be significant in the long-run, especially for schools.
Impact on Teaching
One of the primary tasks that I will charging my teachers with (aside from our 1:1 deployment) is to find suitable Internet-based substitutions for their CD and site licensed software to cut back costs, but to also make the programs more accessible for our students. One of the primary tools that is used is Inspiration for diagramming and creating other visual representations, but the issue is that the program is only going to be installed on the students’ computers. Therefore, the students won’t be able to work on assignments while away from their computers or at home. So, I’ve tried to showcase other options to my teachers like MindMeister and Bubbl.us, which are web-based programs. With the emergence of the cloud, hopefully, more and more teachers will begin to rely upon the cloud and move their own teaching materials there for student access. Additionally, I see the cloud becoming beneficial for teachers that currently need VPN on their work computers to do work at home. This means that teachers can always have their materials available for them with the click of a button and a couple of passwords. The ease of use will make the flexibility and fluidity of teaching that much easier!
Following the cloud computing model, learning will truly become more ubiquitous in nature because information will be constantly available. Students will have 24/7 access to the information they need for all of their classes and to explore on their own. Students will be able to learn at all hours of the day or night in order to fully immerse themselves in the learning process and engage with the course material. The first step is to make the devices available to the students, but then will need to make the cloud available to them as well. Learning will be a brand new process with access not being an argument for students across the country once given the opportunity to possess a Chromebook. As 1:1 is a current trend in education, the time is now to truly define the cloud and access of knowledge for our students to see how that will alter the course of education and the need for all face2face meetings between teachers and students.