Cloud computing increases the mobility, flexibility and cost-savings offered by mobile devices. Working “in the cloud” means that files are stored and created in the cloud, rather than on the computer where the file was created. A programme runs simultaneously on numerous connected computers. The programme software and user data are stored on remote servers. Mobile devices access the program through a browser or app.
Moving to the cloud could be a cheaper option since schools can spread IT costs through flexible subscriptions. Such on-demand software is cheaper than upfront licences.
Google and Microsoft’s cloud productivity apps allow schools to pay for their cloud programs on demand. We have already written about the educational ecosystems of the three main manufacturers. For example, Google Apps for Education takes Google’s existing cloud-based productivity apps and focuses them around collaborative study.
Increased Engagement and Productivity
With cloud computing, the programs used to create and share become even more mobile and less tethered to a particular device. Device portability enables ease and speed of use, leading to increased engagement and collaboration. Cloud computing could further shorten this gap.
Privacy and Security
However, the features that make cloud computing ideal for education (the ability to collaborate, ease of accessing files) rely on hosting companies being able to control communication between the company and the student.
Continuous access to student data raises privacy concerns and the possibility of data mining (extracting user information). Rather than decide against cloud computing, schools can invest in privacy protections (ie, cryptography or multiple cloud providers).