Nowadays, all sectors of computing are, without a doubt, moving towards the cloud. Cloud technology is a system whereby computing services are hosted over the internet and are offered to end-users as a service. These might include software as a service (SaaS), Hardware as a service (HaaS), e.g., for storage and computational purposes, Platform as a service (PaaS) for programmers and web developers, and even gaming as a service (GaaS). The education industry has not been left behind, either. It has made huge leaps and bounds towards adopting this technology and has tremendously enriched the sharing of knowledge and made it a lot simpler. This article, therefore, presents the benefits of using cloud-based technologies in learning institutions.
Below are some of the key gains of adopting cloud technologies in the learning environment:
· Savings on costly textbooks
We all know that university or college level books are quite costly and can significantly stretch a student’s budget. Textbooks seem to be one of the most expensive items that students are required to purchase apart from paying tuition fees. This deters students from buying such books and prefer to borrow. Cloud-based books, therefore, act as an ideal solution to this issue. Digital content is significantly less costly and allows financially challenged students to access a similar quality of content just like the rest. A student can also hire an essay writing service to assist in completing difficult assignments.
· Updated learning content
As an addition to the first point, costly books normally compel students to seek older, or even second-hand editions that usually have outdated material. Some studies have even indicated that the average social studies textbook used by a junior high school student is on average, 11 years old. In such instances, some content, e.g., world maps, might not be accurate. However, with cloud technology in place, content can be updated in real-time, enabling the student to access the latest information constantly.
· No expensive hardware & software involved
Due to the operation of cloud-based applications within web browsers, which are usually compatible with the majority of devices, students and schools will not need to purchase certain laptops or computers to access learning material. Access to content becomes ubiquitous, and students can now obtain material from the convenience of their smartphones and tablets. Moreover, there is no need to purchase storage devices as well as servers since there are numerous companies that offer free cloud storage services.
When it comes to the software bit of computing, savings on software is considered the greatest advantage of cloud computing. The software as a service model allows programs to be run in remote servers and users access them either freely or by paying a minimal fee. A good example is the various Google online services that have all the basic office essentials. Therefore, students can easily access quality academic resources without heavy spending.
· A wider student outreach
Cloud-based applications open a wide array of opportunities for students. Especially the category of students who are not well served by the traditional methodologies and approaches to education. Since education has now shifted online, there are virtually endless possibilities even for adult students to complete their high school and even college diplomas without having to sit within a classroom physically. Alternative educational avenues are also becoming increasingly available, thus enabling individuals to attain specialized training in aspects that might improve their career competence.
· No need to carry devices
Professors, as well as students, will no longer have to worry about carrying computing devices such as optical drives and flash disks or external hard drives. For this reason, they will no longer worry about losing crucial data due to theft or loss of the device, damages within the devices of
having data not loaded properly. Information will now be able to be accessed any day anytime. Therefore, everything from grades, slides, lesson plans, labs, slides, etc., can be availed through cloud applications. Teaching tools will also be uploaded and shall be accessible 24/7 by professors and students.
· Security of data
Even within the education sector, your images, data, content, and information needs to be securely stored. Most cloud-based mobile systems have effective authentication systems that make sure academic material is easily availed only to the right people. Moreover, if any modifications are done on the institution’s infrastructure, all the content will still be accessible to students and professors alike.
Finally, students can also easily share their assignments with teachers in a manner that is easy to track. This also facilitates easy group work sessions that allow students to collaborate more effectively. Therefore, cloud-based learning tremendously enhances education quality in many ways.