Cloud computing is one of the most important computing advancements of the past few decades. It allows the seamless connection of multiple computers and mobile devices to a single cloud network. By doing so, each connected device shares the same computing resources, which can be stored both on physical and virtual servers and hard drives. Users can access various files and applications at the same time, regardless of their physical location. It also eliminates the need of having files stored on each computer individually.
However, despite the fact that cloud computing brings many benefits to the table, the majority of school officials are still reluctant when it comes to implementing a cloud solution for their respective schools. The results of recent studies have shown that more than 75% of school boards believe that implementing cloud computing would be a major financial drawback. Moreover, 80% of the officials who participated in these studies said that their main concern is the cloud's security measures.
Despite the fact that the overall perception of end-users is slightly skewed, implementing cloud-computing has a net positive impact. Understanding this positive impact is paramount to ensure confidence in the system.
Cloud computing can take the place of various school services and necessities. On one hand, once education takes place online, rather than on paper, the school will save thousands of dollars every month on paper and printing. On the other hand, services can also be done through cloud computing, reducing the need for a more numerous staff, hence reducing the school's monthly and yearly expenditures.
Furthermore, textbooks can be completely eliminated once the cloud system is introduced. Textbooks become more expensive as we continue our education, university textbooks being the most expensive. Eliminating the printed versions of textbooks and replacing them with web-based version will reduce both school and student costs significantly.
Large companies such as Microsoft and Google are already offering cloud-based educational systems for schools. Instead of buying individual, expensive licenses, schools and students can now opt for flexible, monthly subscriptions for various software solutions.
The ratio between output and input can be considered a rough definition of productivity. Studies have shown that cloud-computing can more than double the productivity in schools. The increased accessibility offered by cloud-based applications does not only allow access to information from any location, but also reduces the time spent searching for it. Any device that is capable of supporting a web browser will also have access to the software.
Recently, several schools that have already implemented cloud-computing have participated in a study. The results of this study show that more than 70% of school leaders agree that the overall productivity and efficiency of their staff had increased significantly. Additionally, more than 60% have reported that teacher productivity also increased.
Being able to learn and communicate more easily is the key aspect to increased productivity and student engagement. Furthermore, opting for cloud-based software reduces the use of outdated textbooks, keeping teachers and students up-to-date with the latest discoveries.
The introduction of cloud computing in schools creates a digital environment that can be tailored specifically to the needs of each individual student. The traditional education system provides good support for most of its students. However, not all students can adapt to a traditional school environment. Offering class lectures and presentations that can be accessed from anywhere means students can now study for their classes in a comfortable environment.
Overall student engagement is considered to be one of the best predicting factors for both learning and self-development. Highly engaged students are more likely to have better test results. Furthermore, students who feel engaged in the educational process will be more active, will work better in groups, and will work harder and more efficiently.
One of the greatest concerns of school officials is cloud security. More than one study has shown that 75% or more respondents believe that cloud services are less secure than on-premise services. Contrary to popular belief, cloud systems can actually provide more data protection than physical servers. All of the top cloud service providers invest time, money, and effort into security. Whether companies have their own data security staff or they opt for 3rd party data security companies, chances are the data stored on their servers will be more secure that it ever was inside the school.
A lot can go wrong with physical data servers, especially if not enough safety measures are being taken. Losing all of the data from the school servers can spell disaster for any school. Data back-ups can be done by the schools themselves, but investing into a cloud service can remove the problem of back-ups altogether. Cloud service providers usually offer back-up plans for their customers.
Having all the school's data stored and backed-up on cloud storage is not only disaster-proof, but also future proof. There have been numerous cases of schools having to move from one building to another. Instead of having to physically move storage units and servers from one location to another, the school only needs to reconnect it's computers to the cloud service.