Category Archives: Education

Top Tips To Help You Choose The Right Cloud Backup Service Provider

Top Tips To Help You Choose The Right Cloud Backup Service Provider

Businesses both small and large rely on cloud backup for its vast range of benefits with security topping the list. The cloud is a system where all your valuable data can be stored without absolutely any fear of losing it. However, this does not mean you select any cloud backup service provider that you come across. You need to be selective and very careful when making that decision since a wrong one can jeopardize your company. In today’s technologically driven world, cloud backup is a common phenomenon and several cloud backup service providers are offering varied additional services to attract maximum business. From large corporate firms to several medical transcription companies, all rely on this service and it is gaining importance with each passing day. However, you need to follow the guidelines given below to ensure that you do not end up accepting an offer from the wrong cloud backup service provider.

  1. Know exactly what the requirements of your business are:

Not all the cloud backup services are a good choice for your company. A cloud backup service provider offers a plethora of services that cater to each and every type of business. The glut of services may not necessarily be important for your business. Therefore, there is no point in jumping in with both feet for a service that will not be doing much for you. Therefore, the first thing that you need to look for is the requirement of your business before making a decision.

  1. Security plays a massive role:

The major reason for relying on a cloud backup service is for its ability to provide a great amount of security. Therefore, before you entrust your important business files to a cloud backup service, you must ensure that they use the most current version of firewall and other such security measures. Whether you choose public cloud storage or private, security is of prime importance and therefore, you must never compromise on the security aspect. However, different cloud backup providers offer different protocols as per their standards. Thus, you must closely look at the protocol details of every service provider before jumping to a conclusion.

  1. Accessibility:

Medical transcription companies can benefit hugely from cloud backup services as they can store their archived works on a cloud that is safe and secure and which will help you retrieve your work whenever you need it. However, the cloud backup service should provide easy accessibility features so that you do not have to spend hours for a file that you need on an emergency basis. Usually, a good cloud backup service will not only provide easy accessibility, it will also boats of mobilized features wherein you can retrieve data even when on the go by way of mobile app and also provide automatic syncing so that you need not manually upload files to the cloud every single time, making it a more time consuming process.

  1. The various options for storage capacity:

As a rule of thumb, you must always opt for the unlimited package if you are involved in a business that requires you to keep updating your work with new documents while still having access to the older ones. Selecting the unlimited package also allows you certain perks and the price is usually cheaper as compared to a limited package.

  1. Judging according to the cost:

An expensive cloud backup provider is not always the best. The best thing that you can do is compare the prices of the various cloud backup services that are available against the features that they provide to come to a suitable conclusion.

By Eustace Willis

Eustace Willis has worked for several medical transcription companies before starting his own. He has a professional background in medicine and is familiar with the various medical terminologies. He also loves watching medical shows on television and is an ardent sports fan.

Demand For Cloud Skills Increases

Demand For Cloud Skills Increases

Demand for Cloud Skills Increases

job-growth-cloud

Thinking about adding more cloud skills to your repertoire? Stop thinking. The time to do it is now.

For IT professionals, cloud computing skills are becoming an essential resume item. Companies are actively – and increasingly – looking for employees with the knowledge and hands-on experience to build and maintain cloud –based applications.

And despite some fearful chatter, the rise of the cloud does not signal the death of the traditional data center, or the data center staff. The IT staff will not go away; organizations will just be able to get much more productivity out of staff than they previously could. The jobs will still be there – just with slightly different descriptions.

Overall, the picture is quite rosy for an IT pro with cloud skills. The proof is in the news almost daily. A recent Washington Post article: “Analysts Expect Growth in Cloud Jobs,” cited Bureau of Labor & Industry data predicting 671,300 new jobs in computer systems design and related services by 2020.

But that’s the future – jobs are available right now. Earlier this year, IDC released a report stating that 1.7 million cloud-related positions remained unfilled. Why? A lack of training and certification. A survey of UK businesses conducted by V3 found that almost half said their cloud projects had “been hindered by a lack of relevant skills among employees. “

If you’re looking to advance your career, you can’t get much more of a directive.

So you’re convinced: You need cloud skills. How do you get them? Training is available from companies like mine (CBT Nuggets) and from the various cloud vendors. And the beauty of some services (like AWS) is that you can “play” with the technology (for free) to get a hands-on experience.

Just trying out cloud services isn’t enough to impress an employer. A number of vendors now offer certification in cloud skills. AWS, Rackspace, and VMware are a few of the “big guns” with certification tracks. Obviously, it makes the most sense to pursue a certification in the technology you see yourself using the most. But even if you end up using a different technology, the process of training for and passing the certification exams will enhance your understanding of what you can do with cloud computing.

Certification, of course, costs money. It can be time consuming. And ultimately, isn’t it just a piece of paper? The answer is yes… and no.

While certification can’t substitute for real-world skills, it is a quick way to show employers – or potential employers – that your skills have been validated. That could be all you need to get a leg up on other candidates. Achieving a certification also shows that you’re willing to put in the time and effort to learn new technology and keep your skills up to date. In the fast-paced IT world, that’s a crucial characteristic.

Cloud computing is new, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fleeting trend. All signs point to it being a permanent part of the IT landscape – as permanent as anything is in IT, at least. Companies are looking for people who can harness the power of the cloud: You should be one of them.

By Jeremy Cioara

Jeremy Cioara is an IT trainer, consultant, speaker, author, and editor. He is the creator of numerous online training series for CBT Nuggets, including “AWS Certified Solutions Architect: Foundations” and “AWS Certified Solutions Architect: Architecting for AWS.”

Image Location: http://www.cloudtweaks.com/2013/04/cloud-infographic-it-cloud-skills-gap/

Google Earth Journals To Peer Editing: The Cloud In English Class

Google Earth Journals to Peer Editing: The Cloud in English Class

Recently, a Chicago teacher published a lesson on a popular teach networking website that turned a few heads. For a world literature class, the teacher integrated lessons that incorporated students creating and maintain Google Earth journals. As the class progressed through each reading and author covered in the curriculum, students participated in assignments that both integrated and relied on Google Earth and related Google programs to produce assessments. Students interacted with each other via Talk and Hangout, collaborated and helped each plan and design their respective journals, and shared out findings and interesting connections in a group setting. Essentially, the class gave students not only a literary grounding in the world literature community, but also a visual one. The incredibly important job of providing meaningful context in an English class is made incredibly easier for teachers by projects like these. With cloud services like Google bringing in reference points and making it easier and easier for students and teachers to gain useful information immediately at need in the classroom, there is no doubt the cloud has re-shaped the way English teachers approach their instruction.

While this project and curriculum was certainly an effective and innovative idea, perhaps more useful for English teachers has become the growing number of texts available via the cloud for free, as well as through providers like Amazon, Google Books, and Barnes and Noble. Quickly the days when dusty and torn paperbacks were used again and again by classes until they literally fell apart. Instead, teachers can assign readings and homework without worrying about providing student access to the text outside of the classroom. PDFs of English texts are useful for many other reasons as well. Most notably, students deft with programs like Adobe Reader can annotate, navigate, and print from PDFs, giving them constant engagement with the text without needing to be concerned about maintaining the condition of the book itself.

English classes have long been thought of as the musty antique rooms of the modern middle and high school. Whereas subjects like science and math, responding to changes in the economy and the workforce, have leaped ahead in integrating new technologies and cloud services into instruction, English classes continue to rely on hard copy books, written assessments, and traditional instruction. However, this is no longer true for the majority of teachers, and indeed is rapidly becoming ancient history in many school districts. As both teachers and students continue to grasp the excitement and opportunity afforded for both instruction and collaboration through the cloud in secondary classrooms, ideas continue to spring up that may revolutionize the future of English education to the same extent math and science instruction has been changed. While lessons like the Google Earth journal and new resources like digital texts offer numerous potential limitations as well, some of which are still unidentified, the massive crowd of teachers experimenting with these technologies across the country seems to indicate that innovation will continue to respond to the new needs of the 21st century English classroom.

By Adam Hausman

Cloud Computing In Education: The New Start-up Frontier?

Cloud Computing In Education: The New Start-up Frontier?

Ever since the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, the dream (or perhaps more accurately, fantasy) of creating a successful start-up and striking gold on the Internet has continuously drawn in new entrepreneurs seeking both fame and fortune. Constantly looking for a new market to conquer (or create), entrepreneurs tend to be drawn to sectors that are either innovating quicker than anywhere else, or that are lagging sorely behind the times. As cloud computing is incrementally being introduced as a useful technology in classrooms across America, entrepreneurs have begun to flock to education technology start-ups, quickly making it one of the fastest-growing areas of new development in technology as a whole.

The appeal of pursuing a start-up in education software or web services is multifaceted. Aside from the limited amount of existing education technology companies (obviously changing now), many school districts (specifically in urban and suburban areas) are beginning to spend large amounts of money upgrading their classrooms and buildings to make them useful for education in the 21st century. As such, the amount of cash waiting to be spent on new software licenses, hardware, or technology-based learning methods is exponentially larger than it was even a decade ago. This means that there are many more customers and potential buyers for education products, and a much greater chance of succeeding and returning an initial investment by innovating in education.

Another aspect of the appeal of creating a successful start-up in education is the capital to be gained by it, both social and for your business. Assisting in education is a great way for a company or individual to make money while also working toward positive change, a rare opportunity in entrepreneurship given the goals of the venture. The remarkable confluence of factors that have led to education becoming a lucrative arena have also opened up the possibility for companies to improve their image and their outreach by bringing their investments and ideas to the public good. Investments in education can return companies and their investors two-fold, offering an opportunity to make money and to gain valuable customer and public capital by improving their image.

While the course of investor entry and development in education remains very much a murky proposition, the chance to make money and gain good will out of the proposition is very clear. For technology companies looking for a chance to expand their reach and influence outside of the current commercial channels and market segments, education remains an untapped proving ground that can be ripe for expansion if the right company or entrepreneur seizes the opportunity. Already, Google has begun to expand its footprint in educators’ minds significantly, developing new web services and tailoring existing services and products to meet educator and student needs. Products like Google Drive and cheap Chromebooks have vast appeal for teachers and parents of students alike, and as Google sees more success it will become harder and harder for more to resist entering the education spectrum themselves. The expansion we could see in education technology in the coming years could be jaw-dropping.

By Adam Hausman

What Does The Classroom In The Cloud Look Like?

What Does The Classroom In The Cloud Look Like?

Cloud computing has been exciting people with its implications and opportunities especially so over the past several years, as more and more of the public have been exposed to the potential of this technology.  While many people’s first experiences with cloud computing have revolved primarily around the digital sharing of music and video media, these same applications for cloud computing carry significant implications outside of the entertainment field.

The classroom has become a major test lab for cloud computing and its potential to revolutionize educational, social, and economic systems that exist in society today.  As more and more urban school districts continue to search for answers to stagnant test scores and high drop-out rates, cloud computing-powered classrooms have become the Holy Grail of most principals’ wish lists.  While the obvious costs associated with the technological infrastructure needed to accomplish making this technology widely available, cloud computing remains a hypothetical solution in the minds of many teachers.  However, as urban districts pump more and more money into upgrading their infrastructure and bringing cloud computing to every high school class, it is worth taking a look at the potential repercussions to academics as we know it.

Do we really want to give teenagers even more time to be distracted by technology?

It really depends on who you ask.  First, we need to rule out teenagers, who would certainly support the ability to bring their laptop, iPad, or smartphone to class to use.  However, as any teacher working in a tech-heavy school can tell you, no manner of great lessons or interesting subject material can prevent the obvious teenage wandering to Facebook, Twitter, or the rest of the web.  One thing that teachers have been clamoring for from tech manufacturers and software developers alike has been an intuitive education management system, which allows for functions like automatic screenshots and remote desktop controls.  By giving the teacher the ability to monitor, control, and more importantly limit students’ ability to search specific sites or go off-task, cloud computing becomes a much more effective classroom tool, and much less of a potential distraction disaster.

So, what’s the purpose of giving students access to cloud services like Google Drive in class?

For the exact same reason professionals use it! From sharing documents and resources among each other during group projects, to being able to meet with a teacher and go over revisions remotely, to revision tracking and other important elements of teaching the editing process, the potential for cloud computing in the classroom is essentially limitless.  And that’s just an English classroom.  From Google Forms being used for everything from daily homework and class surveys, to Google Earth being used as the framework and platform for opening unit lectures, new educational uses for cloud computing tools are emerging at an incredible rate.

Which tech company is poised to assume the mantle of education technology leader?

Currently, it is Google, Google, Google, and Google.  While tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, and others continue to take swings and challenge the “Don’t Be Evil” giant, Google has made remarkable inroads into education policy and tech-for-the-classroom, far more so than its usual rivals.  Urban districts around the country, which sit on tens of millions of dollars in funding for technology purchases and equipment, are being courted actively by Google for everything from software licenses, to free support for Google cloud services, to Chromebooks that can be bought cheaply and in mass numbers for entire classes and grade levels of students.  While it is a sure bet that once other tech giants get wind of the money at play in this market sector they will make plays themselves, at the moment the standard for cloud computing in education is being set by Google.

By Adam Hausman

Parent-Teacher Communication In The Cloud

Parent-Teacher Communication in the Cloud

As the cloud continues to expand and touch more and more of the practices that make up education in American high school classrooms, a natural place for innovations in cloud computing was always apparent in streamlining communication between teachers and the parents of their students. With communication needed on everything from in-class assignments and homework, to behavioral or grade conferences, to excursions or special class information like assigned readings, getting important info to parents is a constant worry and essential part of any teacher’s normal routine. As such, finding ways to bring that process to the digital realm (and specifically, to the cloud) was an area ripe for new ideas, and those ideas have begun to emerge in districts across the United States.

One of the most prominent examples of cloud computing in teacher-parent relationships is the Parent Portal technology currently in use by many school districts across the country, notably in large urban areas. These districts, which deal with parent populations usually restricted by transportation issues and busy work schedules, were consistently in desperate need of a new way to enable parents to stay in touch with happenings at the school and in specific classrooms. Parent Portal, an innovation similar to the Blackboard education management system widely used in college courses, allows parents to check in on items like grades and classroom assignments in real time. On top of that, Parent Portal also serves as a means for parents to get into direct contact with their child’s teacher.

The benefits and opportunities this can bring to a child’s academic engagement and success are various and important. By giving parents an easier and more accessible way to both monitor their child’s progress in a class and stay in touch with the specific teacher, Parent Portal allows for a more effective support system to remain in place during a child’s time in any classroom. Not only this, but by allowing parents and teachers to communicate professionally and effectively in a digital manner, the inconvenient school meetings and hard-to-reach educators of the past can also become an old reality. There also remain numerous possibilities for the expansion of Parent Portal services, notably the ability to transfer or post PDFs of student work and important documents directly to the platform for parents to view. As both remain critical parts of the classroom experience, despite the continued introduction of digital instructional methods and cloud computing innovations, the ability to work these things into the Parent Portal would serve as a further benefit of the service.

While the jury remains out on some of the potential negative consequences of cloud technologies like Parent Portal, the many benefits of this type of cloud-driven service in the education world can not be underestimated. As more and more of the typical practices of the 20th century classroom are adapted to technologies of the 21st century, it was only a matter of time before communications between teachers and parents became adapted as well. Technologies like Parent Portal, navigating the cloud to enhance the classroom environment, continue to remain a hotly debated topic among the academics.

By Adam Hausman

Grading Students In The Cloud

Grading Students In The Cloud

Grading Students in the Cloud

One of the most common characteristics of new cloud computing-driven innovations in education has been the transmission of traditional academic practices (tutoring, assignment collection, extra help meetings, etc.) into the new platforms and opportunities made available by the cloud. While it is easy to get swept up in the more interesting or flashy education innovations, the best new tools available to teachers by way of cloud computing are mostly 21st century versions of traditional practice in the classroom.

education

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that one of the newest and most popular trends in education-related cloud services has centered on grading and assessment. While no single practice or program has come to dominate the field as of yet, the unveiling and utilization of programs like Blackboard and Impact, which allow teachers to maintain grade books that can be actively updated and viewed by students, parents, and teachers alike, have become to change the way that student assessment is both viewed and enacted.

The implications, benefits, and potential pitfalls of this newest advancement in education technology are as numerous as they are exciting. The most obvious benefit to teachers moving their grading onto the cloud is the ability to access, manage, and update grades from multiple locations. Formerly encumbered, either by paper-based grading systems or network-linked grading systems that could not be accessed outside of school, teachers are now finding that the freedom to work on grading from any location can be a major relief. Aside from the need to make changes and updates with little to no advance warning, especially around deadlines, teachers can also keep parents informed actively on the progress (or lack thereof) that their children are making in the classroom. The old days of sending tests and quizzes home to get signed, or requiring busy parents to make time to come in and meet to discuss grades, are going quickly by the wayside as these new grading systems take hold in more and more school districts.

The issues that have unexpectedly have risen from the introduction of these new technologies are equally varied, and the full weight of taking this traditional academic process and moving it to the cloud is not yet fully understood. Teachers have always frequently lamented that their job never truly ends, and that the worries and concerns and needs of students and parents follow them home from their jobs on a daily basis. Now, with grading systems being updated actively on the cloud, and accessible in real-time to parents at home, teachers are beginning to find the demands on their time sometimes increase because of these technologies. While certainly open communication and dialogue between teachers, their students, and their parents are essential to academic progress and success, removing the barriers between teachers’ personal lives and time and the families they serve can also be a hindrance. Until these technologies have been rolled out in a greater array of school districts, it remains safe to assume that more benefits and issues will continue to emerge as the cloud finds its way further into the 21st century classroom.

By Adam Hausman

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

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