Over a decade ago, Google started targeting the U.S. classroom. Throughout K-12 grades, students began receiving Chromebooks to help facilitate learning. By 2015, Google Chromebooks accounted for half of all classroom device purchases.
It was a huge change from the traditional school environment, which was mostly putting pencil to paper. Since 2015, the evolution has pushed even farther. Today, with Wi-Fi almost everywhere, entire schools are turning to the cloud.
The New Method of Learning
Did you know that Stanford University offers hundreds of free online classes? To date, more than 10 million people around the world have enrolled in the university’s online courses. Students even get graduate certificates for completing full programs.
It’s another example of how far digital-age learning and computing have come, especially since the days of The Oregon Trail, a series of educational computer games in the 1970s, cutting-edge for its time. This learning tool birthed a whole movement in revolutionizing the K-12 classroom:
- Educational Cloud-Based Gaming
From kids building gigantic worlds in Minecraft to 80-year-olds playing Skyrim, console and computer games are dominating the entertainment industry. The reason is simple – games are challenging and fun!
Education has put its own spin on the trend and introduced cloud-based gaming to the classroom. Students are quick to engage in educational gaming that reinforces and builds upon their knowledge base and level.
Like entertainment gaming, educational gaming offers youngsters the thrill of competition, but with the added bonus of good grades. Taking all this into account, it’s no surprise that educational cloud-based gaming is one of the fastest growing online tools for school learning.
- Resources Whenever and Wherever They’re Needed
When a school’s cloud is supported by a high-quality network, virtually every online learning tool, streaming resource, and application is available to all students.
Online availability means that students can access their school’s portal even at home, if they need to retrieve work assignments or contact a teacher. Access to STEM and STEAM resources and interactive and personalized learning tools are also available anytime.
- Leveling the Playing Field
A continual problem in low-income areas is a disparity in resources and funds available to the schools and students. When a school is running on a shoe-string budget or having to dedicate lots of funds to building maintenance, that’s money diverted away from the classroom.
With cloud computing, low-income areas can get the same access to cutting-edge technology for learning materials as wealthy districts.
- Reducing Student and Classroom Costs
Textbooks can get very expensive. As public schools get a certain allocation of dollars per student, the cost of hardback learning materials can quickly rise. In the past, that has led struggling schools to hold on to old textbooks way past their prime.
With a dedicated cloud for a school, the need for physical textbooks can likely be significantly reduced.
- Reducing Internal Costs
With the cloud, schools can say goodbye to expensive hardware. Educational SaaS programs are often available for free or through a low-cost subscription basis.
Cloud computing also makes it vastly easier to communicate, coordinate, and share educational materials and data with sister and partner schools.
- Data Protection
With the amount of digital technology in K-12 institutions, data protection is a must. However, most districts lack the funds to implement a data protection solution on their own.
With the cloud, not only are schools getting top data protection to lock down sensitive information like student records, they’re also getting disaster backup and recovery. By utilizing a DRaaS cloud-based solution, schools also benefit from a secondary backup location.
Explore the Cloud for Your School or Educational Institution
A FirstLight expert is available to discuss the best options available to boost programs and curriculum, and the educational achievements of students.
Download our whitepaper on how FirstLight helped the largest independent high school in the U.S., Pinkerton Academy, enrich its online learning initiatives. Call us today to explore how the cloud can transform your K-12 classrooms.