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Cloud Computing

Cloud computingClouds in school

The concept has been around ages! 6 years ago I tried very hard to convince a school that this was the future, to no avail, thankfully my current school (and very supportive Network Manager) see the potential and we’re exploring this to support departments outside the obvious ICT & Computing dept.

Seeing the future

Tardis6We’re increasingly more mobile in our use of technology. Phones, Tablets, Laptops all much more powerful, more affordable and more mobile than ever before. Schools are able to invest wisely in technology (hopefully) having learned from past experiments in ICT spending. So where are we going to store our data? In the interests of remaining as mobile as possible and somewhat more secure than saving work on unencrypted memory sticks that get left on buses and trains & fall out of pockets in car parks.

The future is remote, data stored and accessed from a ‘cloud’ service, someone else looks after the cost of storing your data on a physical space, you just worry about accessing it from whichever device you’re using.

The potential for schools is obvious even when looking at increased mobility of a teacher as reason alone.

Chromebooks in Science

ChromebookOur Science department teaches a huge amount of BTEC Science, almost all coursework! In classrooms that have no ICT provision. Staff were marking masses and masses of paper work.

After taking part in some Google Apps based training I provided for the school our Science department hit upon an idea to help them improve their workloads, better track pupil progress & to support effective AFL strategies across all their BTEC classes.

Access is the issue

We have lovely science labs, some have some benched computers along the back (I’m not a fan of benching of computers in any room) but what we wanted was flexibility.

What we wanted:

  • Increased access to ICT tools
  • System that could support AFL
  • Support BTEC commitment in department

The ideal situation was a new ICT suite (not something we could fund) and so the perfect situation arose for me to suggest we try out chrome books with learners to enable some real mobile learning.

With the chrome books lessons needn’t have any specific classroom, if the teacher needs learners to be in a lab and work they can be, if they want more space, indoors or outside then thanks to the Chromebooks and our robust wifi network in school all those options are open to the teacher and learner.

Reviewing the process

reviewI’m not at a stage where I want to review the impact of the Chromebooks (with a view to replicating the model if its been a success). I’m putting together the Google Form that will be used to review the process. Both teachers and students will have input into the review process.

At the moment I’m looking at a majority of review questions that can give me quantitative data rather than qualitative, although I will be collecting some anecdotal evidence from staff and students.

  • AFL
  • Access to ICT
    • Without access to the Chromebooks what would have been used to access IT?
    • How would you rate the impact on access to IT to support teaching and learning?
    • How many lessons a week are the Chromebooks in use?
    • How many lessons a week were students able to access IT resources last year?
  • Progress
  • Engagement
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Content of work

The review is still in development, I’d appreciate anyone’s input, do comment or tweet me your thoughts! (I’ll update the post on Friday when we’ve completed the review questions and are ready to run the full review).

Implications for ICT across the curriculum

Well, prior to review I’d say there is huge potential here with access to resources that can really make learning using technology mobile. Collaboration isn’t second nature to the chrome – books it’s their very foundation! And we want learners to who collaborate and learn on the go….so Chromebooks look like they could be the answer across many departments!

More to follow,

Do comment!

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1 Comment »

  1. Great article! I’m sure within the next few years cloud computing will be implemented into several different businesses, such as schools, libraries, etc. This is the way of the future and businesses are slowly starting to catch on. Thanks for sharing!

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