The Cloud Comes To Research Papers
Advances in cloud computing have been grabbing headlines and exciting tech lovers more and more frequently over the past few years. But much of the focus on advances in cloud computing has centered in the corporate sector (data sharing and storage capabilities, information processing systems) or in the entertainment sector (streaming music and video services et al.). While these areas do command the majority of the attention when it comes to what’s innovative in cloud computing these days, one area that is seeing a rapid influx of cloud computing is the high school classroom.
While many schools are still limited, through funding gaps or other factors, in the technologies they can offer to most students, a rapidly growing number of schools are jumping on board with various cloud computing services as new solution to a number of timeless problems in the classroom. For both teacher and student, cloud computing is rapidly becoming a new method of communication, assessment, and assignment completion, on a daily basis.
The 21st Century English Classroom
Perhaps nowhere are the effects of cloud computing felt more thoroughly than in the high school English classroom. Long a place that has resisted technological innovation and adaptation (it is the place of Shakespeare, after all), intuitive English teachers around the country are only beginning to tap into the potential for introducing cloud computing programs like Google Drive into their own instruction and projects. From daily reading checks (fill out this Google Form with your answers, kids!) to the bane of many English students’ lives, the research project, many of the common practices of the traditional literature or composition classroom are being transferred into the cloud.
What problems does this solve? For starters, student organization and accountability. With revision histories that track edits, teachers can actually visualize a student’s writing process, sometimes as it is happening live. This allows for active “coaching” of writing and grammar, a process that would otherwise not be possible in a traditional lecture setting. Aside from the ability to communicate and collaborate during the drafting of a paper, students can also store everything from sources, to works cited or bibliographies, to drafts of their paper together in their Drive folder. This allows them to work on any of those elements either at school or at home, removing the possibility of materials being left at one place or another.
Repercussions Outside the Classroom
The advances in the classroom are just one part of the story, however. Perhaps the bigger implication in the explosion of cloud computing in American education is the massive new market it would open to heavyweights like Google (who has been taking significant steps to monopolize the market already) and Apple. This has further added to the rumbles surrounding Apple’s recent struggles, as CNBC recently noted. From the portable music player, to the smartphone, to the tablet, these companies have battered each other senseless and knocked out countless also-rans along the way (Blackberry, anyone?) and seem geared toward a collision in bringing cloud computing services to schools across America. It is an interesting situation to watch develop, and the surprises should rival the rapidly growing instructional uses and organizational systems enabled by cloud computing being put in place in classrooms across the country.
By Adam Hausman
(Image Source: Shutterstock)