While the impact of cloud computing services has been felt primarily in the business industry, its benefits have also extended to another, perhaps unexpected field: education.
“This is a revolution,” Curtis Bonk, an education professor at Indiana University, told CISCO. “Education doesn’t have to take place with the teacher front and center and students sitting in rows. It can take place outside, under a tree branch, on a boat or plane, in a grocery store or while hiking, if you have an internet connection.”
The CISCO piece detailed the journey of high school sophomore Bridey Fennell who, for five months, sailed with her family from Brazil to the United States. Her parents did not want her to fall behind in her studies, so they enrolled her at Indiana University High, the state’s largest online secondary school.
Through the use of various cloud systems, Fennell completed her homework assignments and tests online. She got straight As.
Although Fennell’s experience may have been unique, her use of cloud computing services for educational purposes is becoming more and more common.
The University of Phoenix-Online Campus awarded 5,976 education degrees in 2011, USA Today reported in early August, compared to the 72 the university handed out in 2001.
Walden University, Grand Canyon University and National University all awarded over 4,600 degrees in 2011, according to the news source.
In addition to the number of people receiving their education online, cloud computing has also changed the student-teacher relationship. Some professors now put course materials – and even lectures – on the web, and many libraries store information in their free online databases.