6 Best Cloud-Based Technologies Uses in the Classroom
- Group ProjectsGroup projects used to require you to do all of your work in school, or take a trip to the group leader's house. Not so anymore. Cloud-based programs, many of which are available for free, allow multiple users to work on the same projects simultaneously, each from the comfort of their own homes. For projects that can be completed in a digital format, like reports and power point presentations, these tools can be invaluable.
- ClassroomsImagine being able to learn a foreign language directly from a native speaker, without ever having to leave the country. Cloud-based classroom environments can do this and more. Say you're taking a class in French. What better way to learn than to set up a webcam in your classroom and another one in a classroom in Paris. The English-speaking students can learn French from native speakers, and the French-speakers can learn English the same way. This could also be used to bring teachers into environments where they could otherwise not go, via webcams and microphones. Furthermore, some eLearning websites are social media friendly. For example, at Ratatype young typists can compete in typing speed and accuracy with their Facebook friends.
- Mobile AccessNever worry about missing an email or an assignment again. Cloud-based classroom tools have the added bonus of mobile access, keeping people connected wherever they may go. Teachers can create assignments and projects, and students can access and work on them from a smart phone or other compatible mobile device. People are constantly connected thanks to the popularity of mobile devices.
- LecturesPrograms like SideVibe allow instructors to build interactive lectures and lesson plans on top of already existing websites. Students can visit a customized URL to view the lesson, and teachers and students can interact from home without ever having to visit the classroom at all.
- Educational Technology in the ClassroomEducational Technology has advanced to a point where it has become very common in the classroom. Many schools have installed touch-sensitive smart boards in place of the traditional white board. These boards allow the teacher to create customized lessons complete with animations and videos, and play them from an iPad or other mobile device all without the need for a computer or a bulky overhead projector. Specialized stylus style pens allow the students and teachers to draw directly on the board. Students can complete a math or science problem and be rewarded with an animation or a cheering sound effect. All of this is only possible because of the adoption of cloud-based technologies at the classroom level.
- Classroom and Student ManagementLong gone are the days of paper referrals and hand written requests for class changes. Cloud based programs like LiveSchool easily replace all of this, allowing the information for all the currently enrolled students to be kept in a single digital cloud. Instead of digging through a dusty overfilled filing cabinet for information on a student, a teacher or administrator merely needs to search his or her last name in the data base, and all of that information is available at their fingertips. This makes things like assigning classes, managing problem students, and keeping track of attendance and other variables much easier.
Cloud-Based Technologies in the Classroom and Privacy Concerns?
There are a number of people who are worried about the swift adaptation of cloud-based technologies at the classroom level, simply because of its inherent vulnerability. The programs are online, and this makes them less secure than the standard paper and pencil teaching systems. Parents, teachers, and students can take every precaution imaginable but there are still a few back doors that unscrupulous hackers could exploit to steal student information. Many of these programs do employ the highest level of encryption currently available to the civilian market, though, so there are not as many hacking incidents as people would lead you to believe.Educational technology is constantly a part of our lives, and as such it only makes sense that cloud based technologies have moved into the classroom. These new tools provide a great new way to teach a generation that was raised on computers, iPads and smart phones. This new generation can learn things and learn in ways that those of us who are now adults could never have dreamed of. In 10 or 20 years, when that new generation starts school, it may have changed again, but currently, cloud-based technologies at the classroom level are quickly becoming some of the best and most versatile tools on the market.