Money moves the world, and that includes education policy; school boards and education ministries cannot go on ignoring the full potential of cloud computing not only in terms of the tools it provides, but also the savings and ecology. Hence, I predict theses and other advantages of the cloud will lead those involved to finding solutions to the few disadvantages it has because the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
The potential of cloud computing in education is just beginning in my opinion. School boards will be tempted to convert with promises of extreme savings and convenience for students and teachers. Currently, I see the issue of student privacy as being one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. School boards must protect its students and parents can be quite worried about this issue. As such, cloud computing will need to develop secure storage spaces for school boards, but at the same time, parents are currently signing consent release forms that clearly state that their child's work could be published to websites with a host outside of Canada and that release the board of liability.
I believe overtime school boards will begin to remove internet barriers that have been put up to block the use of these programs and the use of them will increase. School Boards and educators are afraid because of privacy protection but the factor is that students are already using a lot of these programs from home or on their phones so it is just a matter of time before they will be allowed to access them from school. An example of this is Facebook. This program used to be blocked on computers at the school I teach at but students would find ways to log on anyway. The site is no longer restricted and students can log in from any computer in the school.
I see a slow growth in cloud computing in the K-12 system in the next five years. I think that regulations, security, budgets and other issues will keep most schools behind the times. Only once cloud computing is in the maturity stage of it's life cycle can I see schools starting to implement this concept in a stronger way.
Here in Ireland there seems to be a desire for a more creative and forward thinking teaching. (http://www.president.ie/remarks-at-the-irish-learning-support-association-ilsa-annual-conference-teaching-and-learning-in-the-creative-classroom-st-patricks-college-dublin-friday-14th-septe/)
There are schools that are becoming known for being creative, innovative and technology aware - these are being sought out by parents.
The issue is that the teachers union is dragging their heels on formally integrating new elements for reasons only known to themselves.
As a result I would think that in the school environment there will be a large divide between the high tech and low tech schools. Socially this will create a divide. Cloud based services will be able to lower the barrier of entry for the late comers which will ease the divide in the long term.
In general then cloud based services could help raise the tide of education for everyone - and if it does it could actually be one of the most important pieces of technology of the last number of years.
Before looking at this week’s presentation, I was thinking that Cloud computing will widen the gap of the digital divide. After educating myself I came to realize that actually, it doesn’t. It will help remove the digital divide. Instead of investing heavily in infrastructure and purchasing physical servers, software, data center storages, or network equipments, schools buy these resources as fully outsourced services, as we called it Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). We can outsource all the services to giant companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. The IaaS enables the delivery of computer infrastructures as a service via the Internet.
In most developing countries, investing in infrastructure is a big barrier for them because it costs a lot of money and also the technology advances so quickly that by the time they finish building their infrastructure, the technology changes. So they need to spend again for updates or upgrades. Obviously cloud computing requires good bandwidth and high speed internet. However, I have heard that they require less speed and bandwidth because all storage and media data stay in the cloud computer. So the future potential of cloud computing is to reduce the digital divide at least in the developing countries.
Saas, Iaas and Paas offer so many educational affordances and educators are now getting on board; but our students have long clued in to these. Our digital natives are only going to become more savvy and comfortable in these environments. I foresee a greater use of these options in the classrooms over the next 5 years.
After reading through the many comments throughout the different pages, I cannot ignore the privacy issue that keeps coming up. Cloud technology has so many pro's and the only the main holdback seems to be privacy issues. Is it me, or does there seem to be a correlation between those educators who do not use technology in their classrooms and the concerns about privacy. On one end, you have the districts giving a green light for technology and the encouragement of BYOD. You can't possibly implement BYOD without taking advantage of cloud technology. Secondly, we have millions of people (including students) sharing every aspect of their life on social media platforms from what they ate for breakfast to where they are geographically. If privacy is a big concern, we need to educate students about their use of the Internet as it pertains to their personal lives. The issue of privacy is an important one and of course it would be nice to have our data encrypted on a local server. Until this happens, I am not going to restrict innovative lessons in my classroom because I am worried about what someone will do with my students science project that is located on a server in California. I am pretty passionate about this topic and it seems as though the nay sayers are usually those that are resisting change and simply come up with any excuse to slow it down.
The cloud will build momentum, although many issues still exist. I think as people become more aware of the cloud's potential for cutting costs and collaborative learning the good will inevitably outweigh the bad. It was very interesting learning about the restrictions and legalities behind some of the issues dealing with cloud learning, as I work in a private school and we have been using cloud based services for some time, and without too much hesitation from the administration or parent community.
I recently spoke to our Director of Technology about privacy and security concerns and he simply stated..."if the States wants information regarding a student or any citizen for that matter...they'll get it one way or another."
Having been thoroughly immersed in the cloud for some time now I truly believe in its future potential. What business or school doesn't want to cut costs? What teacher doesn't want to give their students more opportunities to collaborate? What parent doesn't want to be connected to their child's learning more? The cloud is here to stay.
I believe that Cloud Computing is here to stay and will likely expand and grow exponentially in the next few years. I see a day when all of the programs we use are accessed via the cloud. This alone has great potential for humanity as it allows people to access to knowledge and technology without needing to have expensive devices; people could share devices to access individual accounts.
The ability to collaborate, save costs, and provide accessibility anytime and anywhere are the key advantages that override any limitations such as security and privacy. I believe security and privacy issues still need to be addressed but I am less concerned as from what I have read these past few weeks there have already been many improvements made in this area. Frankly I find FIPPA to be hindering and holding back educators from being able to use outstanding programs. FIPPA is definitely not inline with the 21st Century. It does not reflect the global economy we are living in. It is my hope that our government will realize the potential of cloud computing and will revise archaic restrictions.
I think that the adoption of cloud based services are inevitable. As mentioned in this OER they reduce the cost for schools, IT departments, and users. The concern that many people will continue to have is in the protection and privacy of the individual users and the intellectual property created and stored. Once people become more comfortable with their information and ideas floating around out there cloud services will become more common place. Others may not be willing to adopt these strategies, but as a business Education will have to see that cloud computing saves them money, creates better opportunities for communication, improves collaboration, and communities of learners are more engaged.
I also believe that the benefits of the cloud are too great to be ignored by academic institutions. Although there are drawbacks to using the cloud for learning in the K-12 system, there are ways to work around them including pseudonyms, firewalls and surveillance. I do not foresee use of the cloud in five years from now to be entirely seamless but I predict that many issues that are currently viewed as obstacles will be either eliminated or accepted.
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