Cloud computing is basically a way of running your IT without doing all the hard work. And it could be the next big thing in education. Here are eight reasons why educational institutions around the world are shifting to the cloud.
1. Cloud software is easy to use
Having grown up with intuitive cloud software like Hotmail, Gmail and Facebook, users expect cloud programs to be simple. Most vendors, therefore, ensure their software can be used with very little training. This means you don’t have to spend time learning new software tricks (or teaching them to your students) and can concentrate on using the software pedagogically instead.
2. Fast to get started
For many cloud programs, you just need to sign up to get an account. So, if you find a program you want to use, you can be working with it in a matter of minutes. Even institution-wide cloud applications, such as itslearning, can be set-up in just a couple of days.
3. Better student collaboration
Many cloud programs facilitate file sharing and multiple authors. This means that students can easily exchange files with each other and invite their peers to work on the same document.
4. Ideal for extending the curriculum to anywhere and anytime
Your files and software are hosted on the internet, which means they are always available to you at any time of day or night. This gives students far more choice as to when and how they study – and teachers can work as efficiently at home as they can at school. A number of schools use this functionality to keep education going when schools are closed for bad weather, and to keep long-term, absentees up to date with their education.
5. Minimal upfront investment
There’s no hardware to buy and (in most cases) you don’t have to install software on local computers. As a result, an educational institution can vastly reduce the time and money it spends on its IT set-up.
6. Easy to scale
Adding more users is fast and simple.
7. Lower operating costs
As the software is maintained by the supplier, you have to do very little to keep it running smoothly. And because the supplier takes care of any updates, you know you (and your colleagues) are always working with the latest version. This keeps maintenance costs down and eliminates the frustration of incompatible and outdated software.
8. Lower hosting costs
Data storage is notoriously expensive. Cloud computing lets educational institutions avoid that cost as the supplier hosts the data on their servers.
Posted on Tue, May 31, 2011
by Dan Elloway