In his article “Current Trends in Educational Technology,” Thornburg (2009) discusses how a variety of new technologies are shaping and being shaped by society.
The field of education is greatly influenced by emerging technologies in society at large. One new development emerging in technology is cloud computing. Cloud computing is a metaphor for the internet, referring to web-based applications which allow users to utilize any interface to access their information. Cloud computing “increase(s) capacity or add(s) capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities” (Knorr & Gruman, 2008). This technology is in the process of emerging in K-12 school systems. While it is not fully functional in all of its capacities at present, cloud computing has already made its mark in the area of information storage, and has huge potential for the future. The primary benefit of this technology for schools is that the information is not stored locally (Pang, 2009). Therefore, teachers can work on documents: planning, correcting, collaborating either at school or at home, using laptop, computer, or hand-held device. The potential benefits for students with regard to group work, real-time collaboration even from remote geographical locations. Google Docs is one example of online document collaboration tool, Drop Box is an example of storage application, spam filters, and mapping services are all examples of cloud computing technology. Some issues remain so far as security with this technology due to unauthorized use. The technology for document creating and collaborating isn’t always stable and may not allow for formatting in the traditional sense. Web-based storage is more stable, but less secure than collaboration tools. As the world wide web began to break down barriers of distance, and language in communication, cloud computing proves a great potential in collaboration tools among people separated by distance. As the technology improves, greater security will be provided for collaboration, and storage of information, while implementation of new applications remain (Johnson, Levine, Smith & Stone, 2010).
Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010).The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Knorr, E., & Gruman, G. (2008). What cloud computing really means. InfoWorld. Retrieved from http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/07/15FE-cloud-computing-reality_1.html
Pang, L. (2009). Applying cloud computing to the classroom. Retrieved from http://deoracle.org/online-pedagogy/teaching-strategies/applying-cloud-computing.html
Thornburg, D. D. (2009a). Thornburg, D. D. (2009a). Current trends in educational technology. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.
You Tube explanation of Cloud computing: