Students and faculty at Harrisburg Academy have been steadily and successfully implementing cloud computing as an educational tool since MS Live @ EDU was introduced at the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year. I discussed the benefits of the application in a previous Spartan Spirit blog post. Now, I want to elaborate on cloud computing as a more effective means of data storage.
Students currently have five distinct places where they can store their files: the local computer (C: drive), a floppy disk, a local server (e.g. P: drive), personal storage devices like USB flash drives (or “thumb drives or flash drives”) and now the Cloud. Our students can currently use any of these options, but cloud storage has eclipsed the others in terms of accessibility and collaboration.
Even a quick scan will tell you that cloud storage has very few cons and it combines all the pros of the other storage methods. And when set up properly on a computer with Internet access, the cons disappear. If students still like the idea of maintaining a copy of their data in their pocket, then a USB flash drive is handy as a backup – but only as a backup.
Since Google and Microsoft came out with their pioneering cloud storage applications a few years ago, dozens of other companies have also entered the business with their offerings. Some cater to a certain class of users or a certain niche storage need, but most operate much the same way, and most are both OS and browser agnostic – that is, they work on any computer and with any Internet browser.
Cloud storage is the direction technology is moving and all other storage methods are becoming obsolete. The Academy provides Microsoft Skydrive to every student, kindergarten through 12th grade. It meets all the needs of our students, and Microsoft gives it to us for free. Cloud storage is most certainly the best option for our students and their technology needs — and we remain committed to providing the best up-and-coming solutions to ensure learning success.