What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing refers to expandable, on-demand services and tools that are served to the user via the Internet from specialized data centers and consume almost no local processing or storage resources. Cloud computing resources support collaboration, file storage, virtualization, and access to computing cycles, and the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies has grown to the point that few education institutions do not make some use of the cloud, whether as a matter of policy or not. Over the past few years, cloud computing has been firmly established as an efficient way for businesses to protect data, develop applications, deliver software and online platforms, and to collaborate. Education institutions are deploying similar cloud-based strategies to boost collaboration, productivity, and mobility in teaching and learning.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Over time, we will continue to see a shift to cloud-based services. This shift will occur as school districts realize the business case for cloud services (cost, expertise, scalability, timeliness, and disaster mitigation) and as companies are increasing migrate or are "born" in the cloud. Ultimately, only the largest institutions will be able to justify special use projects in local data centers. This means that the bandwidth must be wide, reliable, and redundant. - KSchwartz KSchwartz May 19, 2015- jmorrison jmorrison May 20, 2015
  • More and more of the applications school districts are using are being hosted in the cloud. Software companies are realizing there is better control over versions and support when being hosted. This reduces the workload on the school district and relieves them of the worries of backing up, providing hardware and support locally. - keith.bockwoldt keith.bockwoldt May 25, 2015
  • Only the cloud can hold truly provide an articulated learning curriculum which links to leveled texts, live feeds, remote instrumentation, media resources, collaborative platforms to be shared by students both locally and globally. The cloud is device neutral thereby providing students with 24/7365 access to their curriculum. (- bapthorpe bapthorpe May 27, 2015)
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Not all cloud computing will drive Internet bandwidth usage. Private, locally-hosted cloud services for the most part will not, but I see those as declining and not the most bandwidth intensive applications. - KSchwartz KSchwartz May 19, 2015
  • Student privacy and security is still evolving. Many companies don't know what a "data services agreement" is. In order for school districts to adopt cloud-based services, companies will need to take student privacy and security seriously. http://www.cosn.org/about/news/cosn-issues-k-12-privacy-toolkit-school-leaders - keith.bockwoldt keith.bockwoldt May 25, 2015
  • Clipped from the discussion here http://k12.wiki.nmc.org/Cloud+Computing
    "Cloud based resources are becoming an expectation. We want our information accessible anytime and anywhere and Cloud based resources are offering this. Continuing to provide ease of access, ease of use, storage, and collaboration are very beneficial and cost effectiveness will play an important role. Security is always a concern for sensitive information. - jmorrison jmorrison May 29, 2015-
    kayj Feb 18, 2015
    Agree. The security feature is pushing us to begin looking more at our own District cloud. I don't invision leaving O365 or GoogleEDU, but I do see us increasing the amount of other data and services accessible via a district cloud. Moving us off the wide variety of services such as Box, DropBox, Sugarsync, et.al. that employees and students are storing data on to a district owned and operated solution is becoming increasingly important. -
    digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015"
    .............. I'd be very curious to hear more from the group on how what they think the role of federated identity and access management will be in helping solve the problems of privacy, security, authentication in the world of cloud services delivery for K12. See this primer for additional context.
    http://www.cosn.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Single%20Sign%20On%20Primer.pdf. - jwerle jwerle May 27, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry?

  • As school districts increase their use of cloud computing regionally, cloud providers are moving services closer to the districts through peering agreements. This creates a cycle that will further drive bandwidth needs as the business case gets clearer for school district. - KSchwartz KSchwartz May 19, 2015
  • More "community networks" will be born. As noted above, this will further drive bandwidth needs and allow school districts to leverage aggregrate bandwidth to support instructional goals. - keith.bockwoldt keith.bockwoldt May 25, 2015
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Several school districts in Greater Houston, including Clear Creek ISD, Houston ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, Klein ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Katy ISD, and Fort Bend ISD, are collaborating to leverage their new Carrier Neutral Data Center-based network designs and Internet 2 connections. These districts collectively represent nearly 700,000 students. - KSchwartz KSchwartz May 19, 2015 Do you have a link you could share with more information? - jwerle jwerle May 27, 2015
  • The IlliniCloud was developed by education for education. They work off of a cost recovery model to provide computing and other services at a very resonable cost. http://www.illinicloud.org - keith.bockwoldt keith.bockwoldt May 25, 2015 Keith, this is very interesting! What have been the benefits of having this IlliniCloud on the state R&E network, Illinois Century Network(which also connects to the national r&E network backbone, Internet2)? Imagining for a moment a sort of "national version" of IlliniCloud, which could, in effect, directly leverage access to the national advanced r&e network (Internet2) in the same ways Illinois is doing with Illinois Century Network and leverage the aggregation the demand of the 90,000+ schools and public libraries currently connected to r&e networks across 44 states to work with vendors to lower costs for commonly needed cloud services. What would it take for such an effort to be successful? - jwerle jwerle May 27, 2015
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