Change How You Use Technology in Your Classroom
Cloud computing is changing the way people everywhere use technology. Rather than rely on systems installed on individual machines, cloud computing relies on the internet to use, create, and store data. Individuals and businesses around the world have begun using the cloud, but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this technology. Educators have an incredible opportunity to reach students in new and meaningful ways if they can successfully implement cloud based technologies.
Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants
Students today are “digital natives,” a term coined by author Marc Prensky. Much like cultural natives have an innate understanding that an outsider will never fully appreciate, students use and interact with technology in ways that many adults, or “digital immigrants,” will never be able to replicate. Teachers who can use technology such as cloud computing for instruction can immediately connect with their learners in a meaningful way. Children are accustomed to, and frequently enjoy, using digital content. Lessons in school that can utilize this connection are likely to be very successful.
Technology in Education Needed for Student Success
In order to succeed in life after school, students today need a different type of education than students a generation ago needed. Gone are the days when school was a place to memorize facts. Now that the internet provides people with instant access to any information they could possibly want to know, skills such as creativity and the ability to collaborate are more valuable than the ability to recall information. Being born in a digital age certainly gives today’s students an advantage, and it is up to teachers to use technology to foster these skills.
For example, a teacher could turn any typical group project into a much richer educational experience with the use of cloud technology. With the use of Google Drive or any similar platform, students can collaboratively create and edit several different types of documents. Students working on a data-based project could all access and edit one central spreadsheet, while a group working on research could all contribute to a single word document. Since cloud computing relies on the internet, group members do not need to be in the same place or even all use the same machine. Students could access their project at any time from any computer. For a group presentation, students could all add different digital media such as video, music, and images. In addition to sharing their project with their class, they could easily share it through the cloud with students in other sections of their class. Teachers could also save exemplary presentations or projects to share with students in future classes.
Effectively Communicate With Your Students
Cloud computing also provides an excellent way for teachers to effectively communicate with their students. Thanks to cloud technology, they can easily share important announcements and assignments with students and their families. Never again would a student have to worry about losing an important piece of paper at the bottom of an overcrowded backpack, and parents could easily find out what their kids are working on in class. Not only could teachers share information with their students, but students could communicate with their teachers about their schoolwork. Teachers and students could collaborate and share ideas about a work in progress, and students could turn in their work electronically. Rather than having to keep track of and grade hundreds of papers, teachers could store, grade, and return assignments electronically through cloud computing.
Teachers can benefit from the organization aspect of using the cloud. Keeping track of lesson plans, assignments, and other important documents is much easier and safer than saving them to a computer’s hard drive or trying to keep track of physical copies.
Embrace Technology in Education
In order for schools to fully benefit from cloud computing, both students and teachers need to have access to the appropriate technology. Schools without adequate technological resources would have a tough time teaching the necessary skills to use the cloud to their students and would not be able to use it in classrooms. Students without access to the internet at home would not be able to participate fully in cloud-supported assignments at home. Even with these potential challenges, education needs to embrace cloud computing in order to fully engage and prepare students for life in our digital age.