Are you cowed by cloud computing? Many teachers are afraid to ask that most basic question: ‘What is cloud computing in school?’ and this holds them back from understanding and using the resource properly
Recent research conducted by YouGov has shown that deputies and head teachers want to know the most, because 59% of teachers and 78% of head teachers said they would be motivated by being given training on how to use cloud computing to increase student engagement.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is where you store your own files on someone else’s storage space, rather than on the original computer where the file was created. It can also include working and using a programme which is running on someone else’s computer, which you access via an internet connection. So, for example, you can create a Word document on your computer, but save it on ‘Google drive’ which is storage space on Google’s servers. You can also save and share documents on Dropbox. If you do this you are using “cloud computing”.
Working with existing networks
Almost every school how has a network, which means that there is a central place on a server (which is itself a very powerful computer) holding all the programmes and information a school needs. You access this via an internet connection; in school you will access the folders directly from your computer, and at home you might connect via an office VPN or virtual network. This is not cloud computing.
Cloud computing in schools
The advantage of cloud computing for schools is the work sits ‘outside’ the school and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Students can use services which are available on the internet, giving access to many more resources. Also if a student or member of staff leaves the school, any work they have saved in cloud-based resources is still accessible and safe via the internet, but not stored on the school’s systems.
How do you incorporate cloud computing in schools for learning and admin activities?
There is a new, British system which has been especially designed for schools, so that they can combine their use of the internet, cloud resources and websites together, safely and easily. The system is called Magellan, and it creates a single portal or ‘dashboard’ where you group together the resources you or your class want to use.
This means you can select the cloud resources or services you want to use, and add them to your dashboard, where you can click and use them when you want. Magellan will take care of your login and security from this one place. This easy access and safety will save you time, and help build your confidence in cloud computing quickly.