How Cloud Computing is Changing Education

  • 3 Min Read

The cloud offers valuable benefits for small liberal arts colleges and large enterprise learning organizations alike.

Cloud computing is becoming a powerful agent of transformative change when it comes to education.

Cloud computing is kind of like flipping on a light switch—the switch is flipped and the power company sends electricity, except instead of the power company it’s a cloud computing service provider, and instead of electrical power they’re sending IT resources via the Internet on an as-needed basis. Adoption of cloud computing technology is skyrocketing. According to global market intelligence firm IDC, global spending on public cloud computing will hit $162 billion USD in 2020, an increase from $67 billion in 2015 USD.

“Instead of buying, owning and maintaining their own data centers and servers, organizations like colleges,  universities, and schools can acquire technology such as compute power, storage, databases, and other services securely and on an as-needed basis,” says Andrew Ko, Director of Amazon Web Services, Public Sector. “The cloud really offers amazing benefits whether you are a large enterprise or a small liberal arts college.”

Educational institutions  have been enthusiastically adopting cloud tech, often investing in cloud-based SaaS providers, or directly moving their infrastructure to the cloud.

A recent study by MeriTalk, a publishing company focused on government IT, cited 81% of higher education IT leaders or professionals as saying that their institutions would be upping their cloud computing spend in 2017. And a recent survey by technology solutions provider CDW-G revealed that K-12 IT pros expect the number of K-12 IT solutions that will be delivered fully or partially by the cloud will reach 74% by 2020 (it currently sits at 67%).

Here are five ways that learning institutions and organizations are using cloud computing to change learning:

Accessibility: The cloud is always on. Cloud computing allows users to access learning and course content, data, and applications, and take actions like enrolling in courses and participating in group activities anywhere and at any time. The cloud lets learning take place at all times, which is increasingly important in a world of learning that’s more and more mobile.

Cost savings: Cloud computing lets learning providers pay for IT as they consume it. It also helps to lower management costs, streamline learning delivery by maintaining learning applications and courseware and make processes like class enrollment and assignment tracking much more efficient. By allowing education institutions to focus less on administrative and managerial tasks, cloud computing frees up resources so they can focus more on the needs of the learner.

Scalability: With the capacity the cloud can provide, schools, colleges, and universities can easily and instantly scale up applications and experiences to accommodate increasing student populations, usage peaks resulting from large volumes of database queries, or massive spikes in traffic due to things like an event, course or training registration. They can also instantly scale down to accommodate periods of low activity and avoid having to maintain idle systems.

Agility: Cloud computing gives learning providers the ability to experiment and innovate faster and more frequently to create more engaging experiences for learners. That includes using vast cloud-based infrastructures to quickly develop, test and deliver new application features and educational tools to transform learning experiences that meet ever-changing student needs.

Data storage, analysis, and security: Cloud-based platforms offer an infrastructure that includes a consistent data security experience anywhere they’re deployed, effectively maintaining the integrity of learner data privacy. They also often offer tools, best practices, and recommendations that can cover all a learning provider’s security needs.

Check out Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) Fusion 2017 sessions, Demystify the Cloud, Migration, and Hosting with AWS and Security on the D2L Cloud on Thursday, July 19 at 9 am PST and 3:10 pm PST respectively. You can also stop by and visit them at booth 101. It’s not too late to punch your ticket to Fusion! Click here to register.

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