How Cloud-Based Learning is Changing Education

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Technology cannot replace teachers, but teachers who use technology and cloud-based learning will replace those who do not.

The entire education system has changed immensely in the past decade, moving from spiral bound notebooks and pencils to touchscreens and math apps; school has become a place that is driven by cloud-based learning. Gone are the days of the traditional blackboard, countless handouts and hard copy attendance rosters. Technological advancements have blazed a trail of progress through nearly every aspect of modern life. Education is no exception. There is no going back.

Cloud storage is one advancement that offers many uses and benefits to educators.

But what are these advantages? What are the risks? How can teachers, students and administration use cloud-based learning to enhance the in-class experience?

For teachers, cloud storage means moving lessons, materials and student activities to a cloud-based learning management system. No more piles of messy papers. Or excuses of the dog eating students’ homework. Cloud-based learning is not just neater, it is more secure.

Much of the information submitted by students to teachers qualifies as private and confidential. Storing these documents on a personal computer is risky in the event of theft or breech. A cloud-based learning system securely locks these documents, making sure the students’ privacy is safe and that you don’t unwittingly violate FERPA law. Also, maybe best of all, cloud technology allows teachers provide ongoing narrative feedback.

For students, using a cloud storage service like Dropbox and Google Drive will allow them to access school materials off-site and at any time. Cloud storage also simplifies communication between students and their teachers, and makes class collaboration a possibility. Students can access any files or assignments that the instructor uploads. The teacher can then provide instant feedback on submitted work, make corrections and add notes, all within the same document. Additionally, students can work peer-to-peer through cloud storage files, which nearly eliminates the need to meet face-to-face for group projects.

The online storage aspect of cloud-based learning has numerous built-in benefits for students. No more lost homework or forgetting to write down the assignment. All of the educator’s notes, lectures, models, videos, and assignment descriptions can be stored and are ready for student download with the click of a mouse. And, with cloud storage submissions, students no longer have to print assignments themselves. Cloud-based learning can completely eliminate the need for pencil and paper.

It’s too late to go back to the chalk and chalkboard method of teaching. Technology will only continue to advance, and educators need to get on board.

The only way forward in education may be up, into the cloud.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books and other series that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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