Cloud Computing in Education

Education is a crucial aspect fostering a country’s economic growth, especially for underdeveloped ones. Today, students have become more technologically savvy as teaching and learning utilizes more innovative technology on a daily basis.

Many educational institutions throughout the world have become exceedingly dependent on Information Communication Technology (ICT) to service their academic and commercial requirements. As such, cloud computing has begun to play a pivotal role in servicing these demands to be the primary provider of information services in the generations to come.

Access to on-demand information and computing resources increases the output of students and academic professionals alike. As an alternative to contemporary academic mediums (textbooks, paper worksheets, and so on), the use of internet technologies in primary, secondary, and tertiary scholastic institutions by the faculty and students has become the standard of data research , productivity, and information sharing.

Presently, schools, libraries , and other academic establishments are taking advantage of cloud-based applications provided by various cloud service providers to allow their faculty and students to accomplish many academic tasks based on their individual requirements.

The use of cloud computing in the academia is one of the world’s fastest-emerging trends.

As the world modernizes, the demand for education will always increase. Cloud computing in education unlocks opportunities for improved research, intellectual discourse as well as collaborative and cooperative learning.

By providing software-centered environment, cloud computing reduces the dependency on expensive hardware whose costs can otherwise be diverted to more education-related resources.

Cloud computing also allows courses to be offered and run from remote locations, as evidenced by distant learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by many renowned universities.

Scholastic establishments are now better equipped to manage data more efficiently and less expensively than they could if they relied on their own IT infrastructure.

However, since these entities no longer have total control over their private data, they need to rely heavily on the cloud computing service provider(s) to make sure security systems are in place to guarantee that their data is preserved and utilized appropriately.

The following diagram illustrates the recipients of cloud services in the educational sector.

Cloud Computing in Education

Cloud Computing in Education

Cloud computing services can be utilized by academia through the following service models.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

This service model allows scholastic organizations to use application software through a cloud platform via the internet. These subscription-based resourced are readily available in a variety of options, facilitating e-learning for both novice and advanced users.

For example, YouTube is an extremely popular video resource SaaS that many students and teachers worldwide use to watch and even download videos related to their various subjects.

Students can watch subject-related videos to understand what is taught in class and teachers can also watch the videos to get presentation ideas to drive home the concept of the lesson that seem difficult to teach/present to students.

Some prominent education SaaS platforms include Canvas, CampusAnywhere, College Office, and CloudEMS.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

This service model supports teachers in their development or acquisition of applications via programming languages, services, and tools that the cloud platform providers offer.

For example, an educator can design a customized virtual lab for the students using PaaS. And for this, they will have to possess technical know-how or hire an IT team for application development.

Google App Engine, Windows Azure, and Force.com are a few of the industry leaders in PaaS service provision to schools. Two of the industry’s leading education PaaS are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google App Engine (GAE).

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

This service model provides educators with the virtual infrastructure to deploy and run software, including applications and operating systems. Especially in IT education, students need to develop their problems-solving skills through hands-on practice.

For practicality, computer labs are the key elements in the teaching and learning of information technology. Moreover, IT education comprises a host of dynamic subjects which involve diverse technologies. Every so often, the computer lab designed for one IT course may not be suitable for others.

For example, the computer lab configured for teaching networking is not appropriate for teaching programming. By adopting the cloud computing IaaS, it is not necessary for the two departments to develop their own IT infrastructure to cater to their students.

Consequently, the instructors of the networking courses may alter the IaaS set up so that the others may access the programming courses server.

Some notable education IaaS include Ciso Metapod, Google Compute Engine (GCE), and Microsoft Azure.