What is Cloud Computing?


Cloud computing first appeared on the near-term horizon in the NMC Horizon Report: 2009 Higher Education Edition. Since then, its use for supporting collaboration, file storage, and access to computing cycles, and the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies have grown every year to the point that few schools do not make some use of the cloud, whether as a matter of policy or not. Cloud computing has become the unifying factor among content and applications on the many devices people use in everyday life. Whether connecting at home, work, school, on the road, or in social spaces, nearly everyone who uses the network relies on cloud computing to access their information and applications. The ability to access services and files from any location and on any device offers considerable promise for extending learning beyond the boundaries of the school day.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Cloud services and resources will have a lower impact from their cloud-computing nature, rather will have a larger impact from their orchestration and interoperability possibilities, and from the innovation it could drive to learning environments, see post below in next section, how about define this topic as Cloud based services and resources. IMS LTI is an initial approach, but possibilities are vast. - roc roc Sep 2, 2013
  • Cloud computing (of various sorts) enables collaboration, access to high-end computing power, and reduced costs (through low end devices acting as a portal to sophisticated computing power) - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013 agree - mohamed.jemni mohamed.jemni Sep 1, 2013
  • It also allows the federation of effort and investment in addition to being a significant factor in improving the quality. - mohamed.jemni mohamed.jemni Sep 1, 2013
  • I'd say with cloud computing once having an internet access, then there are no more borders as it offers equal opportunity for all learners/teachers - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 3, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Move from cloud computing to cloud services and resources, this will impact directly into the educational field: The cloud-based services are constantly evolving, many of the so called cloud services, traditionally known as Web 2.0 services because of their innovative features, have added an important element into the cloud landscape, which is interoperability features, opening their API’s to allow consumers to use their services in creative and innovative ways. This opens the possibility to create orchestrated services that provides learning experiences that were not possible before. This also changes the paradigm from a monolithic architectural approach of education environments to a flexible, distributed and heterogeneous architectural setting for education environments, which is the aim of cloud education (learning and teaching) environments. This also maximizes innovation possibilities, allowing interoperability of the best and most appropriate cloud services based on learning needs, freeing up from a vendor specific approaches and limits, transforming the cloud education environment into a digital educational ecosystem of services and resources available for the practitioners, in contrast to a large amount of software services that are difficult to manage and organize for a learning setting. - roc roc Sep 2, 2013
  • It seems these days everthing online is called "cloud". The techies, of course, cringe at this, knowing that "cloud" started as a very specific type of infrastructure that grows and shrinks with demand. Perhaps this aspect of "cloud" is now just a subset. Joining the broad definition of "cloud" could be "grid computing" that joins computing power within and across institutions (e.g.very large grid computing project in Africa coordinated by UNESCO called Brain Gain, which is linking universities' compute power to create super-computing capacity for researchers in order to disuade "brain drain"). - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 3, 2013
  • I'm not sure if this fits, but "remote access to computing" sometimes fits under the general discussion of cloud computing. This is no longer limited by old "thin client" technologies, but now allows access to high-end experiences. For example, Boise State University installed a rack of HP Blade Workstations with remote graphics access so their engineering students could do high end engineering design and simulation work from anywhere on campus, from almost any BYOD device. They went a step further by giving a local high school access to these powerful workstations, enabling high school students to do engineering projects the school could not otherwise afford to equip. - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • Innovative and specialized cloud services and resources for STEM+ education will make a great deal of difference. Take the following example and how those cloud based tools can transformed into learning experiences across multiple services and resources for different learning activities in the STEM area, for instance we could imagine a science learning activity where we have an environment for the learner to do: web and ebooks research (using search engines, specialized databases and indexing services), compile information (using a google doc, a "list" service, or other type of service for compiling information), collaboratively build information in a group (using a document editor such as google doc), and built a mind map collaboratively (using mindmeister, cacoo, others), and finally share and discuss it in a social network (such as facebook, etc) all of this orchestrated using an interoperability system that ties together a learning experience using all these cloud services open APIs. - roc roc Sep 2, 2013
  • The potential impact on STEMx education is huge... in combination with mobile devices like tablets (please see my opinion under this subsection) it may radically transform the way in which we teach and learn- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 - mohamed.jemni mohamed.jemni Sep 1, 2013
  • The STEMx professions rely on international collaboration, especially when solving critical social challenges like hunger, environmental degradation, disease, etc. Giving students experiences that involve international collaboration is critical to helping them develop "global fluency" - and cloud computing is a key collaboration technology that makes this possible. - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 3, 2013
  • The impact is so fundamental - from supporting basic collaboration, to providing access to MASSIVE data sets (think Human Genome Project, and others), I'm having a hard time summarizing my thoughts! - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • IMS LTI, ROLE, CIS (Cloud Interoperability Service, to be published) - roc roc Sep 2, 2013
  • When it comes to "science collaboration through cloud computing" in K12 ed, a very interesting methodology has been developed by California State University Northridge, called Computer Supported Collaborative Science (CSCS). It uses something as simple as a Google spreadsheet to help students share data and see the "big picture" - a practice often lost if a small class or individual student collects data on their own. - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013
  • The UNESCO Brain Gain Initiative is an example of GRID computing being deployed in Africa
  • School in the cloud, the project winning the TED prize 2013 (One million US$) to build a learning environment for children in India : http://www.ted.com/pages/prizewinner_sugata_mitra - mohamed.jemni mohamed.jemni Sep 1, 2013
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