Cloud Computing and SaaS in the Field of Education
In 2008, it was revealed that the University of Washington (UoW) was reducing the number of its IT employees due to a $10 million loss that year. At first glance, the laying off of employees might seem dark and bleak, and it may even be seen as a sign of failure on the part of the university’s central management. But, the truth is, this really is a good thing.
Why is this so? Basically, the major reason why the University of Washington has laid off nearly a hundred of its IT personnel was because, well, it was realized that they are not needed anymore. In the first place, there are a lot of services available online, SaaS-related services, which are inexpensive and equally reliable. Indeed, it costs a lot to maintain mainstay personnel, especially in the face of stiff and tough competition and a looming global financial crisis.
Of course, the decision of the university is not really that pleasant to the personnel concerned, but this is all for the better. And, instead of being regarded as a bad sign, it must be taken as a positive move.
This specific action of UoW is actually a basic example and proof that the trend nowadays is a trend towards the implementation of SaaS, and of cloud computing in general. According to IT expert and educator, Jeffrey Kaplan (2010), it is universally accepted that all educational institutions must move away from traditional tools and systems and move towards a more global and more digital system.
Most experts believe that the move from the old to the new is a gamble. According to them, leaving the old and trusted systems behind in order to take advantage of a technological boom might lead to an absolute tragedy. After all, this system is new and relatively untrustworthy.
But, Kaplan insists that there is not really much of a gamble. In other words, this is simply a natural move, an evolution towards something that is inevitable.
This point is actually supported by other experts and educators who say that SaaS, and Cloud computing itself is the future of education (Katz, et al., 2009). They believe that the advantages and the potential of cloud computing in the field of education is something that cannot be denied and ignored. For instance, cloud computing and SaaS are actually able to minimize the financial spending of the school institution concerned. Basically, like what UoW did, SaaS will effectively reduce the number of personnel, and it may even cut off financial requirements for costly hardware.
But, the most important advantage of SaaS in the field of education is the fact that it can provide an infinite world of learning opportunities for the teachers and learners alike. Because of the fact that cloud computing generally connects the schools to the resources all over the world, learners will be able to learn at a much faster rate, and, more importantly, at a surer rate. Basically, one of the most important features of this system as a learning tool is the fact that learners can learn at their own pace and at their whim.
By Cenon Gaytos