Cloud Computing in the Education Sector
Cloud computing is a technology utilizing the web to facilitate information access and improve collaboration. The benefits of cloud revolve not just around large, small or medium enterprises but also has applications and use cases in the education sector too.
Educational institutions all over the world have now become highly dependent on technology for teaching, learning and for conducting research and for this they have sought the possibilities of cloud computing and made use of its great potential to collaborate, network, share and manage resources.
Let us see some of the benefits of Cloud adoption in the education sector.
Helps the stakeholders in the education system
Cloud can help implement latest technologies in classrooms enhancing the learning processes of students to develop skills and knowledge necessary for achieving their goals. It also helps them to keep abreast with new technologies.
It will equip the teachers with necessary tools to aid them in formulating robust teaching methods.
For the school or college administrators, cloud computing provides the educational technology that helps in simplifying the admission and administration processes and also increases enrolment.
By availing IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, educational institutions can have the advantage of cost reduction and efficiency. The cloud is the ideal place for organizations to store, process and analyze data using cloud-based software tools in a cost effective manner.
Cloud computing does not need expensive software. The SaaS (software-as-a-service) model can really benefit the educational institutions by helping spread IT costs through flexible subscriptions. Many software programs are now available either free or a minimal cost subscription thus lowering the cost of mandatory applications for students.
Cloud based applications mostly are compatible on mobile platforms as well, thus letting the management the need to have minimum hardware investments.
Many companies are increasingly coming up with low-priced tablets and laptops provisioning the latest software, making it affordable especially for the student community.
Cloud computing on the other hand, provides the flexibility through these portable devices. In traditional case, you would have to work on the computer with which you created the file. But in the case of the cloud, files can be stored and created in the cloud. A program runs simultaneously on numerous connected computers or devices. These program software and user data are all stored on remote servers. Using mobile devices, you can access the program through a browser or app from anywhere at their time convenience.
This enables the mobile devices to gain wide acceptance in educational institutions by means of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies thus helping enhance student engagement and simplify the teaching/learning process by means of utilizing the easily available resources.
Provides wide array of opportunities
With the education entering the online world, students got the opportunity to avail courses through distance education and earn their diploma online.
The emergence of online academies and open education platforms like MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) has also enabled students to enroll for specific courses that is not available at their local institutions. Cloud computing has thus made it possible for students anywhere in the world to get education.
For some institutions, risks related to security and protection of sensitive data (continuous access to student data raises the possibility of extortion of user information), standards adherence, proper organizational support or even lack of internet might be the deterrents to cloud adoption.
But these barriers can be overcome if the institution can partner with the right service provider.
Overcoming the barriers
Be it for migration to cloud, or for maximizing the computing, networking and storage resources that these educational institutions already have – they need to recognize the technology products and services available to them.
Experienced cloud computing providers can help them to best leverage their infrastructure and available resources and help them successfully use virtualization and cloud computing services. For example, they can address one of the problems faced by many educational institutions – data storage. Most of them don’t have a data deduplication method in place which will save them from wasting storage space due to redundant data. A good managed service provider informs the institution about its necessity thereby also eliminating unnecessary spending on storage devices.
Apart from all this, the support of outside providers proves to be even more crucial when it comes to ensuring cloud computing security and data privacy.
Many educators around the world, have already started to reap the cloud computing benefits, like how it has enabled to optimize the organization, helped re-invest money back into developing the infrastructure through the cost savings and also how it helped minimize the workload efficiently. Cloud computing thus proves to be an indispensable and valuable resource for educational institutions today.
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