Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping you lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.
According to Research and Markets, education-oriented cloud computing, which had an estimated market value of $8 billion in 2016, is projected to hit over $25 billion by 2022. Cloud computing in education helps students, teachers, and administrators alike. In this article, we will address the advantages of cloud computing. In this post, we talk about how cloud computing can benefit education in Nigeria.
School textbooks are generally very expensive, especially with the economic situation in Nigeria. Textbooks have surprisingly outgrown the cost of almost every other element involved in university-level education including tuition fees. This results in students deterring from buying them.
Cloud-based textbooks are an effective solution to this problem. Digital content tends to be a lot less expensive thus, allowing lower-earning students to get access to the same quality of learning material as other students.
To discuss more on the previous point, expensive textbooks compel students to rely on older, second-hand editions that contain outdated material. Studies showed that an average social studies textbook in junior high schools is as much as 11 years old.
In such cases, something as basic as world maps are not accurate. Cloud-based material makes it easy to update content in real-time hence, enabling students to gain constant access to the latest learning resources.
Cloud computing applications run on web browsers and are compatible with most mobile devices. This means schools and students do not need to own specific computers or laptops to access materials.
Even a cheap smartphone can allow you to access related academic applications. Additionally, there is no need to invest in external storage devices since there are several platforms available that offer free cloud-based storage services. This benefits both students and school management.
Students and professors needn’t worry about carrying around devices such as thumb drives and CDs. With no worry of losing important data due to loss of device, breaking of CDs, or not having the information not loaded properly, students can enjoy access to academic information anytime, anywhere.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is the development of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. It is common for software programs to now be available either free or at a low-cost subscription thus, making it easy for you as a student to use high-quality academic applications without breaking the bank. The costs for institutions to provide students with this needed software are also reduced.
The benefits of cloud computing applications in education open new opportunities for students. Especially for those classes of students who are not served well by traditional means. Since education has moved online, it has become more and more possible for adult students to finish their high-school education.
It has especially been helpful for remote students to gain access to the quality education desired. Alternative forms of education are nowadays becoming easily available, making it easy for individuals to receive specific training in areas that may improve their employability.
Cloud scalability in cloud computing refers to the ability to increase or decrease IT resources as needed to meet changing demand. Scalability is one of the hallmarks of the cloud and the primary driver of its exploding popularity with businesses. In education, this can be applied in cases where the student population reaches the point that exceeds the currently available resources.
Cloud computing offers the power to expand these resources to meet demand. To manage resources, scalability also involves reducing capacities to match requirements.
This brings us to the next point. With everything from lesson plans, grades, notes, slides, labs, etc. being made available on cloud computing applications, all the tools that are used in teaching can be easily uploaded and accessed anytime by the students and professors.
This means, as long as there is an internet connection, students have everything they need to be up to speed with their program at their convenience. In turn, teachers can receive and grade and monitor the academic work of their students.
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Cloud computing applications offer strong authentication protocols for making sure that academic materials are made available only to authorized personnel. Additionally, if some modification happens to the IT infrastructure at a university, the content will still be available to professors and the students as well.
Virtual private networks can be used internally to protect information. Data integrity is also at the centre of cloud computing. This is ensuring that data is accurate and reliable.
Cloud computing has tremendous potential to make available a massive amount of education databases across the globe, but the poor state of ICT in the Nigerian education system has really limited its impact on tertiary education.
Cost has been identified as a major barrier to the effective use of ICT in education, which can be leveraged through the adoption of cloud computing. The gradual removal of software license costs, hardware costs, and maintenance costs respectively provide great flexibility to the academic institutions/corporate management. Cloud computing provides the solutions for financial constraints, sustainability challenges, and inadequacy of infrastructure in educational systems.
Cloud computing will bring a lot of development to the educational system which will affect all other systems. Like every other endeavour, cloud computing has both benefits and challenges. One of such major challenges is cloud provider’s ability to protect their data/information by providing adequate security and also installing up-to-date antivirus software in their systems in order to avoid data corruption and damage. Despite all these issues and challenges, cloud computing services have lots of prospects if properly managed and good services are provided to clients.