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2012: A Look Back into Parallels Between Cloud and Education
2012 has so far seemed like the proverbial year where there is always some gigantic technological breakthrough simmering in the underground. It also appears to be a year where most teaching staff will be telling their pupils to put their cell phones on the desk and get ready for a lesson. This is because high-end handheld devices and laptops are becoming part of classroom learning. The following breakthroughs have particularly come out strong through 2012.
The thirty-dollar data machine
One of the most innovative products to come off the pipeline this year is a server that costs just thirty dollars. It is unbelievably efficient, helping students and their tutors to interact in class productively. It can support a self-hosted community of five dozen computers per session. This means that the learners themselves can become app developers who use the dynamic software that the hosting device comes with, as a platform for improving their program-making skills. This can even auger well with those who are studying to become experts in IT systems. Another advantage of this integrated system is that it has a mode for viewing podcasts and lecture material while offline. Thus, the necessity to have a web connection may become a thing of the past with such an invention.
Another welcome move in the 2012 cloud and education niche is the appearance of NGO-and government-led initiatives in third-world countries to offer laptops at throw-away prices. Most of these initiatives are making it possible for every learner to access a single device of their own. The hundred-dollar electronics are now changing the way remote communities always approached education and are also reducing the energy consumption needs. These laptops come with less energy input demands than their commercial counterparts.
The advent of digital texts
It only requires a tour online, right now, to view a number of texts like essays that are available on the public domain. This is just an instance of the increase in accessibility of various documents of educational importance that have hitherto been limited to physical libraries. If it’s a text book that a student finds hard to access, he or she just needs to click on a reading website to view it or even download. The year thus qualifies as a time when entire manuscripts, not just for referencing, have become available, especially for university researchers.
Though conferences have primarily focused on security issues within the cloud, the education sector has also benefited from the same conventions. Their main aim has been to improve the technological stakes in the sector. This is why one gets tablets for reading books that ease learning and increase accessibility of texts from various databases. They also focus on expanding the outlook of learning opportunities through micro-learning schemes that emphasize on minimalist but high-end installations. The conferences have also tackled the way to make data available to learners as cheaply as possible.
The rest of 2012 has continued to narrow down the divide between education and cloud computing. There is much promise in 2013 as more companies demand academic qualifications from their staff, in the line of cloud learning environment. This might shape the future of education as a whole.
By John Omwamba