Education Tech and the Cloud
Arguably one of society's most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we've seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation and more recent technological advances, such as use of the cloud, have began to make their way into schools. Teachers and professors are beginning to use cloud technology as a part of their daily routines to do everything from storing files to creating interactive curricula for their students. Here are a few examples of what software is being used for in the education industry.
Group projects using technology in school used to mean that students needed to plan time after school or on the weekends to get together and work. But with platforms like Ziteboard, Limnu and Google Drive that allow for real-time collaboration, teams can work together in a virtual environment, meaning that students don't have to be in the same place in order to communicate and collaborate — they can work from their own devices and even their own homes.
On a larger scale, this technology enablement makes it possible to create “cloud classrooms,” where students in the same class, regardless of geographic region, can communicate via web platforms that integrate webcam, video and chat for an immersive learning experience.
Document Storage & Backup
The versatility of the cloud offers huge benefits for document storage and backup. Teachers don't need to keep track of hundreds of papers and assignments from the school year in physical folders, they can keep everything on the cloud by having students upload homework assignments.
Organization becomes easier when files are electronic, and finding certain documents also becomes easier thanks to search.
Students don't need to worry about assignments getting lost because there's an electronic record, and the movement from physical books to ebooks means that textbooks can be carried on a tablet instead of thousands of pages.
The cloud also automatically saves your data, even if your device crashes, which provides great reassurance for professors and teachers who are recording grades, writing academic papers or recording the results of research. Some online backup tools have military-grade encryption to provide a further layer of security for professors working on groundbreaking research with proprietary results.
Cloud computing has the potential to change how people learn. In the future, students will have more options than just face-to-face learning — they could opt for a virtual classroom with other students or even just learn from online content that includes blogs, videos, quizzes and more. In a more interactive setting, teachers will be able to tap into other resources on the internet easily by embedding them or linking to them in class materials.
The introduction of the cloud also makes it possible for non-traditional students to fulfill their education. For example, students who never finished high school can get their GED through the cloud without ever having to physically attend classes. Other populations this type of education could benefit include overseas workers pursuing a continued education, people with disabilities and people seeking new job skills. Institutions such as Khan Academy and Coursera have already stepped up to try to fill this market.
By Minna Wang
Minna Wang is an analyst at Kickstart and is passionate about building a community amongst Kickstart's portfolio companies. She splits her time between Collective, Kickstart's community platform, and supporting the rest of the team in deal screening and due diligence.
Prior to Kickstart, Minna was the managing partner of Campus Founders Fund, a student-run venture fund powered by Kickstart that invests exclusively in Utah student entrepreneurs. During her two years with CFF, she helped shape the mission and structure of the fund, growing the portfolio to eight companies including SimpleCitizen, Whistic, and AncestorCloud. In addition to Kickstart, she also writes for Beehive Startups and is a co-organizer of 1 Million Cups Salt Lake City.
Minna graduated from the University of Utah in 2016 with a B.S. in biomedical engineering with a computational emphasis.