What is Cloud Computing?


Cloud computing refers to expandable, on-demand services and tools that are served to the user via the Internet from a specialized data center and do not live on a user’s device. Cloud computing resources support collaboration, file storage, virtualization, and access to computing cycles, and the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies have grown to the point that few institutions do not make some use of the cloud, whether as a matter of policy or not. Cloud computing is often used as a synonym for grid computing, in which unused processing cycles of all computers in a single network are leveraged to troubleshoot issues that cannot be resolved by a single machine. The primary distinction is how the host computers are accessed. Clouds, especially those supported by dedicated data centers, can be public, private, secure, or a hybrid of any or all of these. Many businesses, organizations, and institutions use storage, software (SAAS), and API services to reduce IT overhead costs. Google Apps, a SAAS provider, for example, has become a popular choice for education institutions and many have moved their email infrastructure to Gmail and adopted Google Docs for document sharing and collaboration, but such services do not meet the high security needs of many corporations or government agencies. Private cloud computing solves these issues by providing common cloud solutions in secure environments. Hybrid clouds provide the benefits of both types. Whether connecting at home, work, school, on the road, or in social spaces, nearly everyone who uses the network relies on cloud computing to access or share their information and applications.

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

  • I think most muncipalities of a certain size want to build their own cloud so that they have rights over what is published and shared there. In my school we use Google, in lack of alternatives, and the only problem is that we don't really have control over the data. Since literaly all businesses uses clouds , there is no way ordinary servers can compete with this technology. When it comes to education in Norway there are two things I think is important; the possibility to move away from expensive and slow images given by a centralized IT division within the muncipality and the way that makes the schools free to use certain tools provided in the clouds (and the possibility for the school owners to see what is being used). - nina.fjeldheim2 nina.fjeldheim2 Sep 11, 2013
  • Cloud computing enables the teachers and the students to collaborate using technology and social media. Introducing ways to save data in a safe environment in the clouds will give students and teachers access to everything regardless of location and computers in a less restrictive way than the Learning Management systems can. Schools should be able to collaborate with other schools in other districts and not be limited to their own county. Students should be able to write textbooks together to be used later at the exams. - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Sep 12, 2013 - ingvill.rasmussen ingvill.rasmussen Sep 17, 2013
  • As an sourcing option for the IT-departments cloud computing is a good fit for many basic services used by schools (if they have sufficient internet capacity). Tradition, privacy concerns and geopolitical concerns are holding them back from using public clouds more. For teachers cloud services gives them instant access to services their IT-department doesn't supply, without involving the IT-dep. For better and worse. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013
  • Consuming the public cloud makes it easy to deploy services in the hands of teachers and students. Cloud services tend to have better usability, which also lowers the barriers. - ingrid.melve ingrid.melve Sep 16, 2013 - ingvill.rasmussen ingvill.rasmussen Sep 17, 2013 - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Sep 19, 2013
  • One important aspect is that tools and services in the cloud are almost intrinsically well suited for supporting collaboration, well aligned with our Norwegian pedagogical tradition. - ola.berge ola.berge Sep 17, 2013 - ingvill.rasmussen ingvill.rasmussen Sep 17, 2013 - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Sep 19, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • As for us, useing the Google cloud, both the teachers and the pupils have become addicted to the possibility of co-writing a document. We used to have a wiki-site, but now we only use Google Apps for education. The pupils share and work together on scholl tasks, the teachers write thir projict plans simultaniously and the latest version is always the one you see. This could be done within other frameworks, such as Microsofts Office 365, but Google is more easy to use and intuitively understandable.- nina.fjeldheim2 nina.fjeldheim2 Sep 11, 2013
  • The judicial challenges using services outside EU (privacy, ownership of data etc.). The schools responsibilities safeguarding pupils work, backups, if a cloud services disappears/shuts down, etc. Data portability from one service to another. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013 - ingvill.rasmussen ingvill.rasmussen Sep 17, 2013
  • The rules and regulations when an institution makes a procurement are long and strong. Whereas people may use cloud easily, the ball game changes radically when a whole school or school district wants to do the same. EU procurement regulations, privacy regulations, data ownership, audit-ability, transparency etc etc - ingrid.melve ingrid.melve Sep 16, 2013
  • Cloud cumputing are also connected to BYOD, because you then need access to your files anywhere, by any device. - stefan.reppe stefan.reppe Sep 17, 2013
  • I think the description could be more explicit on the advantages of accessing (collaborative) documents from various contexts, cloud computing helps creating a more seamless learning experience (home, school, field trip, etc). - ola.berge ola.berge Sep 17, 2013 - ingvill.rasmussen ingvill.rasmussen Sep 17, 2013 - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Sep 19, 2013
  • Personal Cloud. [Editor's note: Added here from RQ 2, as submitted by Heidi]

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on Norwegian K-12 education?

  • The impact could be great. It can give the schools more autonomy, but also allow schools not to use the tools within the cloud. At the same time, making your "own" cloud or share it with other small communities will make login and support more easy.- nina.fjeldheim2 nina.fjeldheim2 Sep 11, 2013
  • I think the potential impact of this technology in Norwegian education could be that students and teachers start collaborating on a different level. Norwegian schools need to collaborate more on all levels, from writing together in class, between classes and levels and outside schooldistricts. Again the LMS restricts collaboration and using cloud services would accelerate the work on getting more collaboration between schools! - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Sep 12, 2013
  • For the IT-dep: Cloud services is a cheap, efficient way to supply basic services that they shouldn't use time on themselves. For teachers and pupils: quick access to a wast array of services with a diversity the IT-department never will be able to supply. They can pick the service which suits them best at the moment. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013
  • Anything that is easy and cheap is good. As the saying goes: easy, cheap, secure - pick any two - ingrid.melve ingrid.melve Sep 16, 2013
  • Several ICT companies may loose a lot of their income. - stefan.reppe stefan.reppe Sep 17, 2013
  • The impact could be significant, cloud computing could be the preferred solution for a majority of school owners. - ola.berge ola.berge Sep 17, 2013 - ingvill.rasmussen ingvill.rasmussen Sep 17, 2013 But we must know what we are buying into, cloud services will not in themselves automagically be suited to collaboration - morten.dahl morten.dahl Sep 23, 2013
  • Cloud computing can reorganize the way we set up provision and acquisition of IT infrastructures and services in primary and secondary education. - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Sep 19, 2013 - morten.dahl morten.dahl Sep 23, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Many IT-deps are currently migrating Office-suites out of the school districts servers into the cloud. Typically Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013
  • IKTsenteret has a cloud buyers guide. - ingrid.melve ingrid.melve Sep 16, 2013
  • Akershus county has already provided 25GB each in the cloud for teachers and students alike on SkyDrive via Office365, with ample opportunities to share and collaborate. - ingunn.kjol.wiig ingunn.kjol.wiig Sep 22, 2013

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