Archive for the ‘Cloud Computing’ Category

00571 Refocus with Cloud Computing

October 8, 2010

In the early 1990’s I first heard of the “cloud.” Being an aeronautical engineer, I was taught to avoid clouds, since the bad ones can give aircraft safety factors a run for their money. But last month our Arizona eLearning Task Force addressed a different kind of “cloud” – cloud computing, and the Arizona Tech Council hosted a daylong expo on cloud computing at the Phoenix Convention Center.

I decided to see what “cloud computing” might mean to our quest for K-12 eLearning. Don Rodriguez, editor of TechConnect Magazine defines cloud computing (translated to education).  “It’s letting the Web be the gateway to your learning support, assessment and administration tools. No software, no IT technical person, and no down time. Except for your computer interface everything is in the ‘cloud’.”

talked to the 18 vendors serving Arizona at the ATC Expo to find what they could offer to support K-12 education. About half had major contracts from large school districts to charter schools, along with many higher education engagements. Several provided consultant, business requirements, design and system architecture services. Some provide specific aspects such as data centers, voice over IP, data, virtualization, document storage and telecommunications. Others provide IT, online IT education for high schools or expert course modules. A few offered complete virtualized cloud computing service or were VAR’s (value added resellers).

There have been significant changes since our original 2004 eSATS K-12 system design, and our 2007 update. Our task team has embarked on a month long challenge for a systematic update of the design. With cloud computing becoming available to K-12 education, the potential reduction in investment in district servers, data systems, software and technician staff needs to be reexamined. eSATS is all about the teacher-student interrelationship with a large increase in both academic performance and graduation rate. Our focus has not been on educational technology; it has always been on eLearning. Going forward, we must depend on cloud computing to do its job. We need to keep our focus on teacher education and professional development, the redesigned of curricula using all the strengths of emerging digital content and its effect on pedagogy, the 21st century schools and Internet interface devices.

Only then can we complete the long awaited transformation from legacy education to eLearning.

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