School on the Cloud: Paradigm Shifts and Educational Changes

School on the Cloud: Paradigm Shifts and Educational Changes

Kostis Koutsopoulos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece & EUROGEO, Greece) and Yannis Kotsanis (Doukas School, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3053-4.ch003


In order for the educational system to meet its future needs, several requirements must be fulfilled. There is a need to be an efficient and effective teaching and learning operating system, an appropriate to the future conditions teaching environment, an acceptable set of methodological tools and, because of these, a suitable classroom environment. These requirements represent the major components of the education paradigm been in effect every time, which, in the last few years, has shifted from the Individual/Traditional, to the Group/Progressive, and finally to the Community/School on the Cloud paradigm. In addition, changes in the components of each paradigm have resulted in changes in the corresponding school model, from the Traditional, to the Progressive and finally to the School on the Cloud model. The goal of this chapter is to present and evaluate all these shifts, which are of paramount importance to future teaching and learning.
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Paradigm Shifts

At the onset, it should be pointed out that the advent of ICT technology, in the form of Cloud Computing, has opened new educational thresholds to get and utilize data, information and knowledge on an individual, group and education community level, and mainly to teach and learn them in our schools. As a result, the way we view and apply education has altered, following changes introduced to the education system, representing what Kuhn (1962) has called paradigm shifts. A brief presentation of these shifts follows (a more detailed examination can be found in Koutsopoulos & Kotsanis (2014).

Individual or Traditional Paradigm

The first and long-lasting paradigm was the Individual or Traditional one, which has been characterized by face-to-face or individual teaching and learning, where the teacher, in a mono-disciplinary way, was instructing 20, 30 or even 40 students at once. These students were passive listeners. However, the actual educational process was taking place on an individual basis, since each child was learning alone and seeking solutions to problems, which unfortunately they did not identify or considered as important or meaningful.

Group or Progressive Paradigm

The first shift in education led to the Group or Progressive paradigm, which is still operating and characterized by a multidisciplinary educational environment. It provides students with collective learning experiences resulting from various forms of learning relationships, which are the result of interactions between learners and content, learners and learners and learners and teachers. In other words, it provides in-group teaching and learning (Anderson, 2003; Godwin & Kaplan, 2008, Kalantzis & Cope, 2010).

Community or School on the Cloud Paradigm

The second shift is taking place now. The previous paradigms can no longer be widely applied (Jonassen & Yueh, 1998; Koutsopoulos & Kotsanis, 2014). It is suggested that an integrated approach, requiring the participation of all educational factors and stakeholders is necessary, representing the Community or School on the Cloud paradigm. This paradigm simultaneously takes into account cultural, pedagogical, technical/technological, administrative, social and political factors in a holistic approach, an integral part of which are the basic education stakeholders (i.e., students, teachers and school administrators).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Effective School System: Is an educational system where the educational institutions possess an identity, expressing the local conditions, the culture, the language, the particular concept of education, etc., and which determine the individual learning process, learning practices, educational needs and expectations.

Efficient School System: Is an educational system that has specified standards or norms, applied to all institution and stakeholders in order to provide equal operational, teaching, learning and methodological opportunities and experiences.

Paradigm: Is a framework containing the truths, the ideas, the assumptions, the rules, the ways of thinking, and the methods that are accepted by members of a scientific community, at a particular point in time.

School on the Cloud: The School on the Cloud is a novice application of Cloud Computing to education that offers to its students a series of very important competences, which allows them to face the developing pedagogical requirements. The School on the Cloud is a new and different school that has been born recently, is partly operating now and is going to stay with us at least in the foreseeable future.

Integrated approach: Is a holistic educational approach, which takes into account simultaneously cultural, pedagogical, technical/technological, administrative, social and political factors. In this system, the combined and simultaneously applied stakeholders' capabilities are an integral part of it and represent different manifestations of “a whole”, the dialectic entity of education.

Cloud Computing: Cloud Computing is a major technological breakthrough of ICT with a huge potential for education. Cloud Computing, by providing high specification, state-of-the-art, powerful software and massive computing resources where and when needed, allows learners to interact productively with their teachers and with each other in both formal and informal education situations, and to become creators and developers of knowledge.

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