What does cloud-based technology mean for schools? 

Posted by Ewa Jozefkowicz on Jun 12, 2019 1:19:57 PM

cloud

As Damien Hinds stated in last year’s Strategy for Education Providers and the Technology Industry, ICT can play a fundamental part in helping tackle some of the challenges that we face in education. But, as he points out, it can be difficult for education leaders to separate evidence-based practice and products from technological gimmicks. There is one recommendation, however, that has been generally accepted as highly beneficial to the sector - the adoption of the Cloud.

“We recommend that all education providers actively consider and evaluate the benefits of moving to a cloud-based approach for their IT system.”

DfE’s Strategy for Education Providers and the Technology Industry, 2018

What are the major benefits of Cloud-based tech in schools?

  • Cloud-based systems are on the whole more secure than ‘on-site’ servers
  • They are usually cheaper to run. e.g. there are cost-savings to be made in terms of buying, leasing and maintaining photocopiers, printers, ink cartridges, paper, as well as operator time. There is also a reduction in the number of servers required for hosting, which in turn leads to a reduction in capital expenditure.
  • They enable more flexible working and the introduction of new ways of collaboration and teaching. Staff time spent on administrative tasks such as printing, filing and distributing, can instead be focused on teaching.
How can success be achieved with Cloud-based tech?

In order to make use of the full benefits of Cloud-based tech, schools must be prepared to implement the required changes, which are likely to include:

  • The need for a clear demonstration of the expected benefits and the reason for change
  • A strategic vision of school leadership willing to look beyond existing ICT practices and resources
  • A flexible approach to the way that services and teaching resources are delivered
  • A knowledgeable and experienced service provider that shares the school vision and can provide both initial and ongoing assistance
  • Understanding of how to maximise value during the movement to cloud by making the best use of existing infrastructure
  • Careful planning of the need for training and support in new ways of working

Data management and storage in the Cloud

With Cloud-based technology, schools can adopt a comprehensive approach to data storage, and take advantage of solutions which take care of not just the range of data available on pupil and staff, but also the fact that much of it is highly sensitive.

Recommended approach. The use of cloud-based storage for student and teacher data can provide a relatively straightforward introduction to the benefits of cloud computing whilst at the same time relieving schools from the cost and management burdens of allowing “anytime, anywhere, any device” secure access to user data.  

Schools should however ensure their supplier has completed the Self Certification checklist covering Data Protection in the cloud and that they are satisfied with the responses to the issues raised in that checklist.

DfE’s Strategy for Education Providers and the Technology Industry, 2018

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Topics: school, cloud, technology