Digital revolution has significantly transformed traditional teaching and learning practices, allowing educators to introduce latest technologies into their classrooms and enable students to learn more efficiently. One of the most important tech trends of the decade is definitely cloud computing that created a vast space for innovation in different industries.
Cloud computing is a complex concept but it may generally be defined as a type of technology that delivers software tools and applications via the web. Cloud-based services store users’ data on remote server farms and enable constant access to important files from multiple devices simultaneously. Such an infrastructure improves collaboration and largely contributes to improved learning or teaching experience.
The following cloud-based services are increasingly being implemented in educational institutions worldwide and they drive modernization of traditional learning and teaching methods.
Google has developed a set of advanced software tools that facilitate document management, file sharing and team collaboration, improving productivity in different environments. Google apps for education enable educational institutions to move IT applications to the cloud and provide variety of collaboration tools that can substantially enhance students’ and teachers’ productivity.
Google Drive is probably the best-known app from this set. It is a cloud storage service integrated with Gmail and actively used by millions of individual users and companies worldwide. What Google Drive offers to students and educators is the ability to create a shared space for developing team projects. It provides constant access to important documents, enables easy file sharing and keeping track of document changes. By setting viewing and editing permissions to particular documents or folders, educators can make sure that the latest information is always available to the whole class.
Box is another major cloud collaboration service that focuses on reinventing professional collaboration. Their services are in line with the needs of connected employees and large companies but they have recently extended their market to educational environments.
Similarly to Google Drive, Box enables team members to create shared desktops, assign tasks to team/class members, track document changes or leave comments for one another. This year, Box has signed partnerships with companies such as Crocodoc and Canvas, with an aim to deliver learning applications, administration and course management tools from a single cloud interface.
In an attempt to provide educators with advanced technology tools at low prices, Microsoft has also created a platform for facilitating communication and collaboration among educators. Office 365 Education is primarily intended for higher education institutions to help them manage their IT infrastructure and keep their staff connected.
By connecting Office Web Apps to the cloud, educators and students can access Microsoft tools such as Excel, PowerPoint or Word via the web and work on a same document together. Individuals can use its cloud storage service SkyDrive to easily collaborate or share Office documents, and thus develop team projects more efficiently. By moving their Office documents to the cloud and sharing them with their collaborators, students can easily write and submit papers, get feedback or help from their colleagues.
Clearly, introducing cloud collaboration services in traditional classrooms has a great potential to make future education more efficient. With a variety of platforms to choose from, educational institutions can benefit from cost-effective tech solutions and simplify administration processes, while individual educators and students can communicate and collaborate more efficiently.