School on the Cloud: Connecting Education to the Cloud for Digital Citizenship

School on the Cloud: Connecting Education to the Cloud for Digital Citizenship

Karl Donert (EUROGEO, UK & Innovative Learning Network Ltd., UK) and Panos Papoutsis (Doukas School, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3053-4.ch008
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Abstract

The School on the Cloud: connecting education to the Cloud for digital citizenship (SoC network) meets an obvious need in the current education situation in Europe. The use of Cloud Computing in business, industry and society demonstrates the immense value and savings for individuals and organizations. In education, Cloud Computing is highly relevant but it is also very innovative. Education is traditionally slow to innovate and implement change. Despite this, SoC has identified nationwide initiatives to integrate Cloud services to support core administrative functions. It's integration in learning and teaching is much less established. This chapter describes the objectives and approaches, the working groups, the partnership and the project management of the network.
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Introduction

Although the benefits of Cloud Computing are being recognized in educational institutions across the board, many are not yet implementing it across their organizations. According to Ullman (2014), many school organizations today rely on some form of Cloud technology for registration, information storage, internal and external communication and other functions. Large school districts, like Northern Ireland, and national education systems such as Romania and Italy, have seen the educational, organizational and economic benefits of Cloud Computing in recent years, such as reduced IT operating costs and efficiency savings notes that school administrators expect to save as much as 20 per cent on their IT budget within one year (Ullman, 2015).

The potential benefits of the Cloud to schools are, however, not only financial, but also because of how it can transform teaching and learning. It offers opportunities to improve the quality of education by offering flexibility and accessibility. Cloud Computing expands access to information and interactive tools so that learning can be improved.

There are multiple benefits:

  • Improved management of the school, for example, better school-to-home communication. Through access to certain information stored in the Cloud, teachers can have better communication with parents and students when it comes to student progress and specific projects, tests and assignments.

  • Easy Access: Digital resources can be uploaded, stored and accessed anytime, from lesson plans and lab notes to grades and presentations.

  • Peer-to-Peer Collaboration: Because the Cloud allows multiple users to work on and edit documents at the same time, it provides sharing and collaboration of ideas whether at school, home or in another Internet-accessible location. Student group projects or teacher collaboration on lesson plans can be enhanced for both groups.

  • Time and Resource Efficiency: By storing content online, teachers no longer need to spend time and resources printing or copying long documents or lesson plans. The Cloud allows online access to digital materials: notes, homework assignments, and more.

Cloud Computing is having other effects as well, which have the potential to greatly change how education works, both online and face-to-face. Indeed, Bhatia (2014) identifies five surprising ways is transforming education (Table 1). It not only reduces costs, but it offers the potential to create an environment where all students can have access to high-quality education and the latest resources.

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