How Education sector can leverage Cloud Technology to span the wide gaps?
The emergence of cloud computing, a disruptive technology model, has taken IT industry by storm over past few decades. It has undoubtedly transformed the way organizations make use of information and communications technology (ICT), and how they deploy and cater the needs of their shareholders, customers and employees.
Rapidly changing market trends, ebb and flow in consumer demands and competitive landscapes are driving businesses to seek optimal ways to reinforce bottom lines by delivering high quality services.
To endure such disruptive conditions and vie with bigger players, innovation will be requisite. Adoption of evolving technologies such as cloud computing is the only way out to fuel business growth, stimulate innovation and facilitate them with a level playing field.
After IT industry, education sector is even looking forward to leverage cloud technology to improve and add value to the education system.
Through this post, let’s try to gain deeper insight about how cloud technology can help education sector in improving the education system.
I have been reading and writing about cloud technology since past few years. Believe me it has never ceased to amaze me. Recently, I was going through how cloud can help education sector bridge the wide gaps in education system? And realised that day is not far when everything will be on cloud. It has made everything readily available for everyone that it’s near to impossible for anyone to overlook this rapidly evolving technology. Within fraction of second you can build connection irrespective of your geographical location.
Just imagine- If there is a teacher in a geographically discrete location, and have good knowledge about some specific subject say physics, this technology can be used to virtualize him/her to different locations irrespective of the time zone.
Before we delve into aforementioned aspect, let us try to gain more understanding about cloud computing and its basic attributes.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing can be defined as network or cluster of servers deployed together to facilitate centralized storage of data, which can accessed by the user via computer or other handheld devices. Simply put, it provides ubiquitous, expedient and on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (for instance, networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be instantly deployed and scaled up/down with minimal management effort or vendor interaction.
What are the key attributes of cloud computing in general?
- On-demand self-service- The user can individually get computing resources, such as server time and network storage, to meet their varying requirements inevitably without any interaction with service provider.
- Extensive network access: Cloud attributes are readily accessible over a network and can be retrieved through most commonly used mechanisms or multiple platforms like mobile phones, laptops, and other handheld devices.
- Resource pooling: One of the most compelling aspect of cloud computing is that it empowers the vendor to pool computing resources, such as storage, memory, bandwidth, and VMs, to cater unique requirements of multiple users. These resources are dynamically allocated and re-allocated according to the varying user demand.
- On the spot elasticity: IT capabilities can be swiftly and easily provisioned, in some cases automatically, in line with the scale requisite. To the users, these capabilities available usually appear to be boundless and can be procured in any quantity at any point of time.
- Metered service: Cloud is smart enough to automatically regulate and optimize usage of resources simply by filtering the services as per the stipulated requirements. Resource usage is stringently scrutinized, organized, and reported. This ensures 100% transparency between the provider and user of the service.
Spotlight on role of cloud computing in education sector
Over the last decade, a considerable growth has been witnessed in the education industry in India. In line with this, I would say that strategic ways are being adopted nowadays to leverage this emerging technology so as to make quality education available to students residing in remote areas.
For this now the government is even investing more capital on the establishment of virtual classrooms to ensure higher level penetration of education in remote villages. This will undoubtedly improve the quality and learning amid students. It goes without saying that rising competition in the market has escalated demand to have quality education.
Challenges encountered by education sector in remote areas
• The syllabus in most institutes is not updated regularly according to developments happening globally. Deliverance of quality education in remote areas has usually been low. The key reason behind this is that these areas suffer from dearth of internet presence.
• Sky reaching cost of education has further led to dismissals of teaching staff and growing classroom size thus adding on more number of students to a single teacher. This ratio has reached to indescribable levels in some areas. Furthermore, there is lack of experienced and well-trained teachers in the country.
• Last, but not the least many teachers and educational institutions are not tech savvy traditionally, which has further slower down the adoption of new technologies to a great extent.
Cloud can play a great role in rendering higher education simply by making virtual classroom lectures available as well as use of video streaming techniques on the web. The educational institutions can harness the power of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS based offerings without incurring any cost on the procurement and maintenance of infrastructure.
Virtual classrooms enabled by cloud can help teachers in running multiple classrooms. This way institutes can very effectively overcome the problem of lack of qualified teachers. In addition, it will also lead to streamlining of course content and education delivery techniques.
Quick glance at some of the key benefits of cloud adoption
- Seamless calibration of content: Various programs and coursewares can be made available over cloud through a centralized location which will further result into fastest content delivery to multiple remote virtual classrooms.
- Smart collaboration: It enables students and teachers to easily collaborate on studies and various projects using smart collaboration solutions.
- Agility to introduce new courses: Cloud-based technologies always ascertain instant access to infrastructure services, thereby delivering agility during introduction of newer courses.
- Enhanced managerial proficiency of schools and universities: By making coursewares available on cloud, teachers and the administrative staff can focus on other key aspects of the institution rather than making futile efforts on administration of IT infrastructure and setting up of critical applications. In simple words, it frees up manpower resources.
- Ensures delivery of superior quality of education anytime and from anywhere: Courses with updated content can be disseminated unswervingly across different locations.
- Reduces overall cost of education: Most significantly, the adoption of cloud technology abridges overhead cost spent on recruitment of additional staff. Hence by capitalizing on limited staff, universities can expand their horizon by reaching out to millions of students all across the globe.
- Scalability: Scalable systems on cloud helps universities/schools to work concurrently with big data platform, while undertaking various research and analysis projects.
In the end, I would conclude by saying that provided the internet connectivity is made readily available in remote areas as well, cloud can indeed play a major role in transforming educational system in India. Each and every student in rural areas will be able to pursue their dreams, and one day becomes a key source for the upliftment of their area.