What is cloud computing?
In the iphone-era, you have probably heard about the cloud on a number of occasions. The cloud, or cloud computing, allows for users to store and access data over the internet instead of from a hard drive (Griffith, 2016). One might ask, ‘what does this technology mean for me?’ Well, in short, it’s what allows you to access a service through Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox with an internet connection and store work or personal projects online. With the invention of cloud computing, online collaboration on presentations, dissertations, and so much more is now possible in real time (Cha, 2015). Examples of cloud-based services include: Microsoft 365, Google Drive, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Apple iCloud, and Amazon Cloud Drive, among others.
In addition to advancing day-to-day productivity in the office, cloud computing has also brought major profits to the American economy. In fact, the International Data Corporation projects that cloud revenues will generate $554 billion by the year 2021 (as cited in Fatola, 2017). These growing profits reflect the growing reliance on cloud-based technologies in business, social, and educational spheres.
How does cloud computing benefit education?
1) Creates strong virtual classroom environments
With cloud-based softwares, K-12 schools, universities, and companies are able to invest in strong virtual classrooms which eliminate expensive hardware and IT staff costs (Dickson, 2017). These cloud-powered software programs are referred to as a software as a service (SaaS). CertCentral, one example of a SaaS, allows teachers or training administrators to create and deliver high-end, multimedia online courses and exams to students or employees. CertCentral online courses & trainings software allows for learning anytime and anywhere—saving your institution time and resources.
2) Reaches a larger network of learners
For students or employees who cannot afford a traditional college experience or who struggle to attend in-person classes due to scheduling conflicts, a SaaS offers a solution. It gives hope to adult students to earn a GED and/or a Bachelor’s degree (Bhatia, 2014). A SaaS offers a flexible learning environment that bends with demanding, full-time work schedules. In sum, SaaS increase access to high-quality education and allow a larger network of users to reach their learning goals.
3) Significantly reduces the cost of updating learning resources
One large benefit to a SaaS is that textbooks, videos, charts, and other course information can be updated seamlessly. No longer do curriculum creators need to invest in expensive, new versions of hard-copy textbooks and learning materials. Instead, all materials that need updating can be altered simply by changing a link or replacing text, videos, or charts within a course or exam to reflect newly established standards (Bhatia, 2014). With an SaaS, updating courses or exams is more efficient, and much less costly for administrators and students.
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