Education Research Paper on Cloud Application in Learning Institutions

Cloud Application in Learning Institutions

A restatement of the instructional problem

As mentioned in the previous discussions, educational resource shortage in rural schools was highlighted as one of the challenges in academics. Rural high schools, according to Sundeen &Sundeen (2013) lack technological advanced resources. Students living in rural homes are more exposed to higher levels of poverty and this makes it even harder for them to acquire learning materials in class, hence the need for equal distribution of funds by the government officials to foster learning (Sundeen&Sundden, 2013). In addition, there is lower enrolment of students in rural high schools due to diseconomies of scale, resulting to higher fixed costs for the high school rural students. Cloud computing was the solution suggested to eradicate the academic challenge. In this context, cloud computing will be analyzed in details. As per earlier definition, cloud computing is the capability to access a variety of learning materials, software and hardware. Quite often, the term cloud is generally used as a metaphor to insinuate the internet (Ercan, 2010). Through the usage of cloud computing technology, both students and teachers benefit significantly; but just how exactly is this technology used by students?

Usage of suggested solution

Gone are the days when students used to work with pens and notebooks in lecture halls. Advanced technology has yielded several practical innovations making life simpler for everyone, including students. With cloud, students only need to switch on their laptops and are saved from the stressful world in which they used to cram their assignments on pen-drives and transfer document on computers, and  computer systems nowadays don’t require the regular backups. With cloud computing as an instructional resource, every little detail learned in class can now be saved virtually on any given cloud website (Ercan, 2010). Students can also utilize cloud as a photocopier. The photocopier paper can be left to relax on cloud, and connect it to the internet only to be printed later when the student needs a hard copy. Evernote is a cloud solution designed to store class notes, in which data can be restructured and can be effortlessly retrieved from anywhere (Ercan, 2010).

Why the suggested solution?

Based on this research, I personally selected cloud-computing solution to tackle the quench of educational resources deficit since there is urgent need of advanced learning in our evolving world. Most students prefer keying in data in a laptop since it is much easier, tidier and faster than using a pen and paper. Students are also enlightened on the various applicable options in cloud computing at their exposure. Additionally, there is no doubt that higher learning can at times be challenging, but cloud offers countless approaches for learners to be more efficient at schools. Cloud also has line-up services site such as drop box, which renders educational services to college group mates and is also applicable in distance learning (Ercan, 2010).

Teacher and learner interviews

In an attempt to satisfactory, complete this assignment I interviewed Alfred, a 12th grade student in Young Achievers high school. Alfred expressed his views stating that he is very much comfortable with cloud innovation. He adds that learning has not only been made easier and better, but also fun. To him, learning now is like going to a hyper-supermarket and getting everything under the same roof since he can store all subjects he is pursuing in the same laptop. Samantha, who is Alfred’s teacher, was also interviewed for the purpose of this assignment. Upon being asked what she thinks about the advanced technology in schools, she says that the feeling is mutual. A lot of learning time is saved with cloud technology, giving way to new syllabus. Students perceive and internalize information differently and so with the use of cloud, students can turn back to line-up services to fully understand the topic.

 How similar technologies have been used in similar learning environments, and providing a critical analysis on research on similar learning environments

Similar cloud computing technologies have been used to address learning and instructional needs for students in the in low income and resource constrained environment. Rao, Sasidhar, & Kumar (2010) explored the application of cloud computing as an effective instructional tool in their proposed study. The proposed cloud computing technology was designed to provide cloud-computing services through mobile- learning. Their proposed cloud computing instructional technology is developed to support  all kinds of users by providing various tools such as software, hardware , storage and infrastructure in an efficient manner so that the users are neither limited in terms of service delivery and the amount of payments for the particular services

The cloud computing technology proposed by Rao, Sasidhar, & Kumar (2010) was developed to incorporate the cloud model and the client model, which facilitates its implementation. The cloud model makes use of the various tools such as device control, load control and memory control. The system also contains relevant organizing units with the necessary resources such as networks and high bandwidth support. In addition to this, the system makes use of security constraints with filters and firewall to provide better data maintenance with adequate methodologies to ensure data backup. The cloud model process enhances data manipulation with load control. It has high authentication and authorization aimed towards ensuring high data and information security.

According to Rao, Sasidhar, & Kumar (2010) the client model has several applications, which make it possible to distribute resources to the various end-users within the education system. The client model is designed to check for registration and validity of the users by providing login details in order to access and share information stored in the cloud. The client model is implemented through the mobile-learning system. Using this system, information is stored in shared resources where learners can access free of cost. Users are able to register and get login credentials on the web or download the mobile-learning system application using their mobile phones. The various learning resources are in lecture formats, visual and audio. Learners can access these resources, read them and then engage in self-assessment. The results analysis is provided to learners to evaluate their strength and weakness.

Ercan (2010) observes that the proposed cloud computing technology can be a very cost effective instructional design tool in educational environments. This is mainly because it is adoptable, scalable and uses a wide range of virtual resources stored on the internet. The cloud computing technology described above is thus a suitable alternative to rural schools with budget limitations, which cannot afford to invest in large computers and network devices. Both local high school and universities can encourage their students to take advantage of these cloud-computing resources to perform their business and class assignments. Similarly, a study by Nasr & Shimaa (2012) observes that cloud computing can be an effective instructional technology for development of e-learning systems. The findings of this study indicate that cloud computing is a relevant instructional technology in institutions of schools since it provides room for information sharing, research, faculty and learners. The study however notes that there is a need for the designers to improve the infrastructure of such technologies to enhance computation and storage resources to accommodate huge and complex data. However, the various cloud computing instructional designs come with associated difficulties and challenges which may render them as ineffective instructional tools. A study by Vouk (2008) examines some of the challenges and issues associated with the use of cloud computing technology. Firstly, security is likely to be the major concern for the various cloud-computing technologies. End-users to cloud computing technologies face the risks of loosing their data, processes and software incase of security breaches. Secondly, there is the challenge of gathering provenance data and information in a seamless and standardized way in order to minimize costs. Thirdly, it may be difficult to store information on the cloud in order to allow for future access. Fourthly, presenting information to the end-users in a logical way may prove to be another challenge. Fifthly, image optimization, portability and format may be another issue that is likely to affect the efficacy of the cloud computing technology.

A pitch as to why one would invest in the instructional solution

The proposed instructional solution proposed in this study offers the following advantages for education institutions with budgetary constraints:

  • The proposed cloud computing technology will lead to reduced costs since schools will not be forced to use huge capital investments in computers.
  • The proposed technology will improve performance of students since learning takes place seamlessly and anywhere while the students are roaming on the internet.
  • The proposed technology will lead to reduced software costs, as all students will share resources.
  • Cloud computing will allow automatic software updates to ensure that only the latest software is used.
  • With cloud computing, there will be increased document compatibility.
  • Cloud computing allow students and instructors to access information across the various geographical divide.

References

Ercan, T. (2010). Effective use of cloud computing in educational institutions. Procedia-Social `  and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2): 938–942

Nasr, M.M. &Shimaa,O.(2012). A proposed smart E-learning system using cloud computing `       services:PaaS, IaaS and Web 3.0. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in `   Learning, 7(3) (abstract).

Rao, N.M., Sasidhar, C. & Kumar, V.S. (2010). Cloud computing through mobile learning. India

Sundeen, T. H, &Sundeen, D. M. (2013). Instructional technology for rural schools: Access and               acquisition. Rural special education quarterly, 32(2), 8-14.

Vouk, M.A.(2008). Cloud computing –issues, research and implementations. Journal of `  computing and information technology –CIT16 (4):235-246. DOI:10.2498/cit.1001391