In the 2011 K-12 Horizon Report, Cloud computing is described and a few resources are shared. Here is one video in English and in Japanese to describe this “new” technology.
With the new technology of Cloud computing available, the possibilities for students and teachers in and outside classroom has become much more open-ended and accessible.
Going back to the standard of Google documents, I was recently working with upper elementary students to work on a Google presentation project. Instead of being tied to one computer or only working on the project in the classroom, students could fairly easily access their work from home. It was now as easy as logging into an e-mail account and then accessing Google documents. Storage and the software are housed on the Internet. This is a big advancement from some of the alternative methods that I have been accustomed to for sharing files.
1) E-mailing the document/file
2) Using a thumb drive, external hard drive
3) Using a floppy diskette,
Cloud computing has eliminated the storage problem and opened up possibilities for extending the classroom beyond the classroom walls.
Now too, it is possible to collaborate on a project without having to be in the same room. With the Google document, I have been able to edit a student’s work and make a comment while still being at school and the student has already returned home.
No longer am I tied to using a specific laptop or desktop computer, but I can use an iPad, iPod touch, and “low” specification hardware to do high or higher performing cloud based software to produce a product.
I remember when I was limited to a single cd rom software title that would only work if I had installed it on the machine with the proper specification. Now with cloud computing technology, a past inefficient computing practice can be replaced with a faster, more reliable method.
With the current Google presentation project, I can access students’ presentation from school or at home, while they have been working on the document at home. The division of the classroom lines becomes a little blurred, but it is a better blending of homework with support and feedback. Next, I will have the students share their presentation with another student to support the peer-editing process.
These are exciting times when the technology now allows for this type of collaboration to easily take place. The technology now is so much better than what I experienced five years ago, I jump at the chance to utilize these new tools. No longer am I focused on how to get the job done, but now I can better concentrate on getting a job done in new and exciting ways.