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Implications Of The Cloud In The Classroom

Implications Of The Cloud In The Classroom

Implications Of The Cloud In The Classroom

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. Three big questions that remain currently:

Aren’t teenagers already too distracted by technology?distraction-cloud

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.

Why would students need Google Drive and other cloud-based workplace collaboration software?

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.

What tech company will become the preferred choice for educational cloud computing enthusiasts?

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

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Move Over Brick And Mortar, Education-As-A-Service Is Taking Over

Move Over Brick And Mortar, Education-As-A-Service Is Taking Over

Education-As-A-Service Is Taking Over

As Bob Dylan once said, “the times they are a-changin’.” Its a verse that sticks like glue in the back of my mind when I reflect on the technology landscape today. Just a few years ago, data analytics services were few and far between and cloud computing unheard of. For example, cloud-related spending was only 4 percent of the total IT market in 2009, but according to IDC this is expected to increase by 12 percent — equaling $55 billion — by 2014.

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. What is innovative today will become old news before you can bat an eye. Systems like the cloud will continue to evolve and adapt as technology advances. As businesses strive to remain competitive, it is the IT specialists supporting the transition from old to new technology that are the hamsters caught spinning the wheel. How do you as an IT professional stay up-to-date with the newest technology while retaining a firm understanding of past software?

cloud-IT-jobs

If you’re working in IT, one thing you can be sure of is your job will never get boring. With a career devoted to keeping networks and systems humming, you’ve dedicated yourself to a lifetime of continuous learning to stay on top of the latest trends and technology.

Fine-tuning skills and brushing up on certifications has always been part of the IT job description, but in recent years this is becoming less of an option and more of a requirement. To give some perspective: imagine getting your B.A. degree to find out three months later you have to go back to earn another degree and yet another six months after that. IT jobs demand the ability to grasp new technology quickly, and hiring managers are clamoring for people that can master this challenge.

According to the Department of Labor Information, technology employment is expected to grow between 18 to 26 percent for all occupations through 2014. There is a massive growth opportunity in IT that shows no sign of slowing down. Yet, hiring managers struggle to find skilled candidates that are versed both in legacy systems and new technologies like the cloud.

Until recently, the options for IT professionals to hone their skills were limited and often expensive. It’s a challenge that has plagued professionals in the industry for years: how to keep up with a constantly evolving field while juggling a full-time job. In the past, the only answer was time-consuming seminars and costly brick-and-mortar courses. Fitting a career, family and other obligations into the mix make these options less than desirable.

Lately, we’ve seen several companies break down traditional education barriers to provide a viable solution. Lynda.com, Treehouse and my own company TrainSignal are transforming the very foundation on which technology education is built — after all, shouldn’t education be just as innovative as the technology it supports? The flexibility and affordability makes online options appealing, but it’s the real-time capabilities that make it ideal for those working in technology.

Skills that might take months to grasp in classroom curriculums, can now be mastered in a matter of weeks or even days with online platforms. These courses are up-to-date and can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. That means a cloud engineer can brush up on the latest VMWare or Microsoft fundamentals during a moment of free time at work or during a long commute.

If you are a technology professional, the cloud is not just where you work, it’s where you can learn everything you need to know to have a successful career. Whether you are looking to learn how to build an app, spruce up your design skills or take a refresher course in virtualization, online resources are becoming widely available in all areas of technology. It won’t be long before we see that “the times they are a-changin” towards a more skilled, self-educated workforce across all industries.

By Scott Skinger, CEO & Founder, TrainSignalScott Skinger_TrainSignal (1)

Scott’s passion for IT education began when he passed his first certification to become a Novell CNA. Scott went on to teach at several technical schools where he realized traditional IT education was not providing students with the skills they needed to succeed. In 2002 Scott founded TrainSignal, a leader in IT education providing training courses to professionals worldwide. Scott earned a degree from Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL and serves on the advisory board of Salute Inc.

Does Cloud Computing Mean The End Of Traditional Storage Networks?

Does Cloud Computing mean the End of Traditional Storage Networks?

Technically Yes! With cloud’s scalability options attracting SMBs and large businesses towards it and cloud becoming secure with each passing day; we are near to say goodbye to the traditional ways we used to store our data over the network. Though networking is quite difficult to understand especially when one has expertise in building business, let’s check out how things were traditionally and how the cloud is slowing replacing it.

What comprised a traditional storage network?

Storage network or storage networking as the word says is the high speed networking of shared storage devices. This storage network connects to data servers so the data is accessible from anywhere across the network. As your requirements grow, you can connect hundreds of server machines to hundreds or even thousands of storage devices locally (LAN) or over the WAN (Wide Area Network).

How cloud storage works:

As for the cloud storage, you upload your data via a secure internet connection on a 3rd party data center. This 3rd party which is the cloud provider maintains your data and allows you to retrieve it any time by connecting to the server. While these servers require maintenance or repair occasionally or might even fail in an extreme case, the cloud provider stores your files on multiple servers, which is called redundancy so you can access them anytime.

Why companies love to join the cloud?

The reason is simple. The cloud allows you to access your data from anywhere around the world using the internet. Also not just your own enterprise can access but you can easily share with who you want and even work in collaboration with anyone around the world connected through internet. And the best thing is companies especially that of small and medium size now don’t have to worry about developing an in-house IT structure. No worry about buying servers and storage and deploying them making sure that it can cater the business needs nor have to pay for specialized IT experts who look after your network. They can launch their cloud from anywhere within minutes and transfer all their data there while its security is taken care by the vendor.

Where will it go further:

At least we know that this isn’t the end to the tussle between the traditional computing and the cloud. With the internet connection getting better and better and the coming of SSDs in cloud storage it is thought that the cloud will completely make the traditional storage obsolete.

By Pere Hospital,

Pere Hospital (CISSP & OSCP) is the CTO and co-founder of Cloudways Ltd. He has over two decades of experience in IT Security, Risk Analysis and Virtualization Technologies. You can follow Pere on Twitter at @phospital, or learn more about Cloudways at www.Cloudways.com

Two Mega Cloud Conferences: What Google I/O And GigaOM Pro Each Had To Offer

Two Mega Cloud Conferences: What Google I/O and GigaOM Pro each had to Offer

The cloud has finally settled after the weekend’s dual momentous occasions. Google I/O, the yearly gathering of tech heads on the West Coast of the US is finally over, with lauding and misgivings, alike. On the fringes was also a cloud computing platform that seeks similar, albeit more academic, answers than those of the former conference: GigaOM Pro’s conference. Here is an analysis of what the two disparate approaches to the fundamental world of the Internet, applications and the cloud, in general, had to offer the 2013 infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) enthusiast.

Google I/O: The Event

From the hailing of Larry Page, as a speech maker par excellence, to getting down to business with the newest update to the emailing wing of the company’s cannon of services, Google I/O was equally a success and a failure. Analysts now discuss, with fervor, how Gmail has a quicker interface after its godfather improved on its storage dispensation. Right now, the unofficial storage interplay between the more cloud-oriented Drive and the web-mail is an official fact, according to the briefing over this conference. Users of the mailing service will now utilize more real-time reply technology, courtesy of a fresh button that will automatically launch for a fast answer to a query, next to the inbox, meaning that users will utilize it to affirm or deny a request in straightforward and handy epithets like, yes or no.

The shortcoming of the conference, however, was its lack of giving sufficient attention to the business side of things. The company’s collaboration technology, for the business cloud, did not receive mention overnight, although there have been related improvements on the social dispensation. For instance, Google Hangout has welcomed a remote application from one’s desktop, meaning working from the PC, and not necessarily online, to talk one-on-one with worldly pals. This real-time technology will see its success tag mostly to the user-friendly interface that it will bring when it focuses its drive on the ‘home’ screen, or rather desktop.

Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Larry Page, was instrumental on making all the company’s provisions meet the unified cloud dispensation. For this to happen, the service must strive to be integral, and consequently, some now-popular enterprise tools, like G+ must join the cloud side of Google. That is, users of the social networking offering will now turn more business out of it, following its upgrading at this yearly conference, where it has moved a step up into becoming part of the Apps. Indeed, this social network has never counted among the engine’s official applications. If it joins the apps dispensation, then it will enhance the cloud needs of users, including storage, improved real-time correspondence with member business outfits, and enhanced placement of remote pals on the Big Spider that is the web.

GigaOM Pro’s Answer

While Google I/O was busily upgrading its cloud, popular services’ and apps’ departments, GigaOM Pro was digging deep into matters cloud as it relates to social networking at business. According to Stowe Boyd, there is an analogy between Margaret Mead and the current spate of social media that can or cannot help business process. In lieu of destroying entrepreneurial process when trying hard to make them more scalable, social media, should, instead, be a relegation, or part of a diverse cultural plan, that every enterprise should study, in its own niche, to suit its social work. In other words, it will be no longer, ‘this store provides’ or ‘this vendor has the best option,’ but a concrete report of the enterprise culture, around, and integrating it as a formula, into the social scene of the industry. Thus, apps, social media tools and other offerings that suit the company, or its larger industry, will be the only things that will matter, other than select vendors, when using Twitter or Facebook at work. To do this, companies will have to comb diverse cloud apps and social widgets to come up with an optimal one for their business models.

Rivaling Google I/O’s three-and-a-half speech-making tech crusade, GigaOM Pro was on the sidelines, with as much time, to let its team explain why implementing the cloud at work is not a straightforward but hobnobbed plan. Indeed, one has to study architecture of various resources, because no one road suits all cloud infrastructures for all entities. This means giving time, patience and resources, to analyze what various cloud services are providing, and inherently, cutting out the leading vendors in the given niche. The only remaining parts, before implementing, are the possible advantages, for the business, on the select cloud model.

Thus, two conferences came up on the fringes of the third week of May 2013, with diverse and constructive results. When a similar time next year one will be speaking about the Google I/O, may be it will not be on an upgrade of services or apps, but the mushrooming further of its integral cloud engine with all services therein. The Pro, on the other hand, perhaps will be seeking answers in uncharted seas of the big data boom of 2014.

By John Omwamba

Cloud Infographic: Startup Toolkit

Cloud Infographic: Startup Toolkit

Cloud infographic: Startup Toolkit

There are numerous startups of all varieties of purpose and goals. We have seen great successes and great failures. We have seen a lot of money being made on fabulous exits, but also seen a lot of money lost as well.

Things are changing for startups, and in turn, they are changing for investors as well. What affects how startups must work affects how investors must forecast chances of success, and which ponies they want to back. Of course, with progress, change is inevitable and ubiquitous, but the past couple of years have seen the steepest change in this industry’s history.

What is this culprit? Cloud computing.  Read more...

We have included an insightful infographic provided by BestVendor called the “The Startup’s Toolkit” which illustrates some of the most utilized cloud based tools on the planet.

startup-cloud

 

Infographic Source:  BestVendor

Mobile Cloud: Why SMB’s Have No Time To Spare On Their Conversion To Mobile

Mobile Cloud: Why SMB’s Have No Time To Spare On Their Conversion To Mobile

Why SMB’s Have No Time To Spare On Their Conversion To Mobile

4, 64 and 689 billion. Small business owners should take these numbers into careful consideration when determining where to focus their web presence and marketing efforts.

4 is the statistic that four out of five consumers are now using their smart phones for shopping.

64 is the percentage of app users who prefer brands with mobile apps.

689 billion is the estimated increase that shopping via smart phone will add to retail sales by 2016.

In fact, mobile is already the next huge wave in national and international marketing, and companies are scrambling to keep up. Just as cloud computing allows us to take our data with us wherever we go, people are now shopping from anywhere (and some prefer the simplicity of using their phone or device to make purchases, even when a computer is available).

The good news is that even one-person small business owners can take advantage of this new mobile cloud economy and stand out from larger competitors with some simple solutions.

Building your mobile presenceMobile Cloud

According to Google’s published research, “75% of people prefer a mobile-friendly site, and 61% will turn to another site if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly.

Whether or not you have a website, if that site isn’t easily navigable from a smart phone, chances are you’re losing customers without even knowing it.

What makes a mobile-friendly site stand out from a standard website?

  • The ease with which people can read it without zooming in
  • How quickly they can find what they’re looking for

If you’re curious how your website appears on smart phones, Google offers a free viewer called GoMo (www.howtogomo.com) that comes with a report and personalized recommendations. And if your site seems awkward and hard to navigate, there are several platforms online that can help you convert your website to mobile cloud for little to no cost:
gomo-test

Mofuse: Starting at about $8 a month, Mofuse offers the option of building a mobile site yourself or having one custom built. Options range from social sharing to store locators, mobile optimization and analytics, Google and design tools and custom integration. The platform has been used by such companies as HarperCollins and the United States Department of State.

Mippin: Along with making your website mobile-ready, you can take your business one step further by creating your own business app with sites such as Mippin. For approximately $100 a year, Mippin can help you set up your mobile website as well as apps for iPhone and Android. And according to their website, they can help you create an app in about five minutes.

Mobify: If you’re looking for a higher-end mobile conversion experience, Mobify has been the go-to for companies such as the New Yorker, Starbucks and Men’s Health. Starting around $250 a month, Mobify can handle the creation and maintenance of your mobile site with testing, integration and launching all taken care of.

bMobilized: Though this site offers a free trial, the do-it-yourself version of bMobilized runs about $9 a month and comes with the option of installing more than 30 plug-ins along with homepage and mobile synching, content analytics, and content customization. If you don’t have the time to build a site, bMobilized also offers a we-do-it-for-you service for a $199 one-time fee.

DudaMobile: For a quick, down and dirty conversion for free, DudaMobile offers conversion tools, analytics and desktop to mobile sync. If you’re thinking about expanding, the premium plan runs around $9 a month.

Once your site is up and ready, there are several viewers available that allow you to check out how your mobile site appears on different devices. Apart from Google’s GoMo, sites such as iPad Peek allow you to see how the site looks to iPad users. MobiReady will check your site for common errors and rate different aspects on a scale of one to five. A more in-depth analysis is available with a subscription.

As more and more customers move toward making their purchasing decisions via mobile devices, creating a mobile version of your company website should be near the top of your marketing priorities.

Have you created a mobile version of your website or do you think your standard website is sufficient? Why? What conversion services would you recommend or advice against?

By Allison Rice

Allison Rice is the Marketing Director for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of custom promotional pens and other promotional products to grow your business and thank customers. Allison regularly contributes to the Promo & Marketing Wall blog, where she provides actionable business tips.

BYOD And Mobile Device Management

BYOD And Mobile Device Management

As businesses grow so too does the need for constant connection to the technology that will make your business a success. Ever since smartphones, tablets, and laptops have become the business norm in our world, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been implemented into business, as many companies do not feel the need to provide their own communication devices. Yet, security and reliability have become extremely important while conducting business on a third party device.

For businesses moving to a mobile management strategy with BYODs, the Mobile Enterprise 360 community is built around four important content pillars:

  1. Mobile Workforce: Focuses on providing a reliable network at anytime, with any device, on any location, and with any device experience that users demand, in a secure and scalable fashion. The community content on this topic will review the best BYOD policies for each organization’s needs.
  1. Mobile Collaboration: Looks at virtual meetings, workspaces, secure file sharing, and data and files transfers on a growing number of mobile devices.
  1. Cloud Services: Concentrates on best practices for integrating applications, data, security, working with third parties, and other strategies for cloud-enabling the mobile infrastructure. The relationship between the cloud and mobility strategies will be significant and the orchestration of mobile cloud services will dominate the discussions within this topic as data storage and sharing will become essential to the growth of your mobile management business philosophy.
  1. Mobile Management: While understanding mobility, moving it away from the pure device management realm and incorporating it into the broader and more strategic realm of mobile data management to emphasize both device and platform independence is the next step in business technology. This is a very key item for IT managers moving forward as they seek out all the necessary pieces to manage and secure mobile applications, content and devices.

It is obvious that mobile technology will dominate the means of communications completely in the next few years as it becomes more affordable to use, with faster communication speeds and easy access. With so many wanting to use the technology that they already possess it would only make sense to invest with a BYOD technology network to better facilitate your employees and your customers. To understand more of the BYOD mobile management process and networking visit Mobile Enterprise 360 to see what is the best option for your business.

By James Farrington

Sponsored post with expert opinions from the Mobile Enterprise 360 community

5 Misconceptions Your Parents Make About Cloud Computing

5 Misconceptions Your Parents Make About Cloud Computing

5 Misconceptions your Parents make about Cloud Computing

  1. Al Gore Invented the Cloud.

The collective sigh heard around the world when they read this section may signal that this joke has run its course, but you must have forgotten already, this article is about what your parent’s think. In addition, the day your dad stops telling the same bad joke over and over again is the day he is no longer a father. So let me explain an inconvenient truth (see what I did there?) about this misconception. Sure the joke, “Al Gore invented the internet,” is a little old but your parents had seven years to work on this environmental Cloud twist to the joke to shock it back to life. Now our parents will confuse their joke with reality and we have to hear them complain about Al Gore for a few more years. Just let the man be!

  1. Auntie Em, Auntie Em It’s a Twister!”

One day I hope you are graced with, “So if everyone uses this Cloud, how does it keep everyone’s stuff separate?” You may laugh at the absurdity of this, but sadly I was not fortunate enough of coming up with such a wonderful question. It seems that with some parents the Cloud produces thoughts of the mighty tornado, nature’s fiercest re-arranger of stuff. So it only makes sense that when the Cloud’s network processor becomes too hot and then mixes with the cooling system it produces a twister of biblical proportions from your Cloud and out pops apps, pictures, music, and movies that aren’t even yours. Because nothing can stop the mighty tornado Cloud as it throws all your information to other random Cloud users and you will lose everything!

  1. The Cloud is an Identity Thieves’ Buffet.

Once you sit your parents down and explain, “The Cloud is a storage program on a network that allows you to move your data to multiple devices without actually having to transfer the information manually,” just buckle up and get ready. Look you can explain it perfectly and be as reasonable as you want that the feared identity thief cannot access your information on your Cloud, but major news networks are screaming much louder in your parents’ ear of all the potential problems. Really, just set it up for them and don’t tell them what you did. Now you can act like you’re a computer genius to your parents and they can go on believing how special you are, and you won’t have a three hour fight that ruins your mom’s birthday.

  1. They don’t know if the Cloud is a Cirrus, Cumulus, or Stratus cloud.

To be fair that is a low blow for those who just aren’t into technology but let’s be honest with ourselves if you heard of iTunes then you have heard of their Cloud. Regardless, I bet you know at least one parent when asked what the best Cloud is they will give you a blank stare and then say the white fluffy ones on a nice spring day. Of course this answer is compared to the average twenty year old who won’t even answer your questions because they are just too cool for school (But I am not bitter). So here is a guide to know if your parent understands cloud computing from clouds in the sky:

  1. Does he or she use Cloud computing and is aware of using Cloud computing?

  2. ….

That is it, because chances are the only clouds they know are the ones raining on them.

  1. The Cloud is Secretly Skynet

Let’s be honest with this one, our parents may not be that far off base. The Cloud is a network storage program that is linked throughout the world that stores your vital information and can be accessed anywhere, while Skynet, from the Terminator movies, was a interlinking network that stored vital information that eventually became self aware from all the information it stored. So let’s look at the facts. First, it is called the Cloud and that just sounds like something your right-wing parents would think was created by Obama to sound like a hip attempt to disguise the true nature of Skynet to destroy American values. In addition, Cloud computing has so much memory storage that it is really only one cat picture a way from knowing everyone’s daily schedule and a list of their fears and weaknesses to better destroy us when we become a threat to the almighty Cloud. Come to think of it, when the great and powerful Cloud becomes self aware I just hope John Connor never got into social media. Because I am pretty sure the all powerful Cloud’s Terminator wouldn’t be able to find a phonebook anymore.

By Chris Kenealy

CloudTweaks Comics
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The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups Cloud platforms have become a necessary part of modern business with the benefits far outweighing the risks. However, the risks are real and account for billions of dollars in losses across the globe per year. If you’ve been hacked, you’re not alone. Here are some other companies in the past…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…