What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing first appeared on the near-term horizon in the NMC Horizon Report: 2009 Higher Education Edition. Since then, its use for supporting collaboration, file storage, and access to computing cycles, and the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies have grown every year to the point that few schools do not make some use of the cloud, whether as a matter of policy or not. Cloud computing has become the unifying factor among content and applications on the many devices people use in everyday life. 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 their information and applications. The ability to access services and files from any location and on any device offers considerable promise for extending learning beyond the boundaries of the school day.

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

  • Will enable and maximize innovation through the orchestration of multiple applications available on the cloud and can be combined together to have new and enhanced learning experiences with a ecosystem of applications and devices. - Rocael.Rizzardini Rocael.Rizzardini Jul 31, 2012
  • The huge strength of the cloud technology is that learning is revolutionalized and learning has evolved to 'just-in-time' and 'just-for-me' type of activity which fits in well with the characteristics of future generation of learners. The Cloud will allow students to actively engage, interact and collaborate with multitude of peers (known and unknown) in a globalized and localized environment using a range of applications. With smart mobile devices, the use of cloud technology will enable students to access open educational resources (eg MOOC) and combined sociaization with learning without borders. - Vanessa.Chang Vanessa.Chang Aug 14, 2012
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Although cloud computing is important, the term focuses mostly on computing and storage cloud resources, and while infrastructure is important, is important to see it a Cloud Education Environments, where new environments can be created based cloud services that can be compound by cloud applications & cloud content, both enabled in multiple type of devices (mobile, desktop, others). - Rocael.Rizzardini Rocael.Rizzardini Jul 31, 2012
  • Building on the previous point, intertwining usage of multiple technologies and devices to support individuals' daily learning activities is the way to go. This becomes a division-of-labor strategy for individual learners - a suit of tools at their disposal, each offering specific sets of affordances to support learning. Cloud computing may play the central role in this ecology of ICT-based learning resources, as it stores and maintains the learners' personal learning history and profile which are accessible anytime, anywhere and will support their future learning endeavors. - Lung-Hsiang.Wong Lung-Hsiang.Wong Aug 3, 2012
  • Now that the term "cloud computing" has become popularized, I think it would be helpful to carefully define what it really is, perhaps by comparison. In the strictest sense, cloud computing refers to "expandable on demand" services that don't live on your own desktop. These can be either private or public. There are other "remote computing" services that are sometimes referred to as "cloud" that we may or may not want to include in this section. For example, remote access to a fixed CPU (like a blade workstation) has been referred to as "out in the cloud", but the cloud purists would be quick to point out that it's not the same kind of cloud. Likewise, GRID computing is a completely different architecture, linking multiple remote computers together to create a "supercomputer" made of remote but linked CPU's. Again, it's not "on my desktop", but it's not really "cloud computing" according to the purists. Which kind(s) of cloud are we talkling about here? - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 6, 2012
  • There is a lot of hype about 'security', 'privacy', legislation within countries, etc - it would be strategic to provide ICT governance on cloud computing, services, and technologies. - Vanessa.Chang Vanessa.Chang Aug 14, 2012
  • At some point the cloud computing as we know now it will become of a second order of importance (think of it as how important is the CPU speed for building an educational scenario? probably you only care to have the right cpu resources, then you forget about it!), and rather more focusing on cloud services and content that are of course based on cloud computing. Education and technologist will be more interested to know what we can do with the cloud services, what API's, new functionalities, etc. are available? How we are mix services to create new experiences? How we can transport these experiences and settings to multiple scenarios, institutions, etc.? - Rocael.Rizzardini Rocael.Rizzardini Aug 17, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • Yes, the impact is already starting. Not only with cloud computing, but also with cloud services. Cloud services, such as applications and content will be possible to combine to create new learning experiences. Nowadays, most applications and available content is designed to be used with certain limits, while adding the combination of multiple tools will enhance creativity of both teachers & learners. So instead of having a fixed mindset based on the available tools, both will be able to use, combine, and repurpose multiple services for new learning experiences. - Rocael.Rizzardini Rocael.Rizzardini Jul 31, 2012
  • The use of the cloud is only going to extend and expand further therefore the impact on the management of the ever-growing cloud services and the governance of cloud computing must be addressed. - Vanessa.Chang Vanessa.Chang Aug 14, 2012
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Our current research is focused on Cloud Education Environment, we have a workshop in November 2012. - Rocael.Rizzardini Rocael.Rizzardini Jul 31, 2012
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Please share information about related projects via our NMC Horizon Report project submission form.