The ongoing global pandemic has turned the life of general public upside down. Businesses, governments, and educational institutions all have had to align themselves according to the situation and they found a solution in cloud services. While every sector had its own challenge, education sector faced a unique challenge wherein its long-proven operations were suddenly just inadequate.
While it is true that even before the pandemic, the education industry had come a long way from traditional classes and books to using video conferencing, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. However, the ongoing pandemic made this progressive move a necessity. Cloud services allowed the sector to benefit from a myriad of education-related resources.
Cloud Services Pave The Way
Cloud services have allowed students and educators to benefit from improved accessibility at reduced costs. Innovations in cloud computing have ensured that students have the latest facilities at their disposal, that too without any significant upfront cost. With the aid of cloud services, students can now easily access their data, including notes, grades, and documents from any internet-enabled device.
It also helps the students forego the traditional methods of sharing data, as students can now share their data over the cloud using a single link. This has increased the scope for collaboration between students as well as teacher and student collaboration. Many institutions have created dedicated portals where they maintain resource catalogues for their students. This presence of educational resources on a unified platform has also ensured that students no longer have to waste time gathering resources needed for their learning or even research.
Cloud Helps Tackle Pandemic’s Challenges
Coming back to the pandemic’s impact, institutions quickly moved to the cloud in search of methods to continue imparting education to students. Worldwide, more than 1.2 billion children were not able to go to schools. Institutions started to prefer remote and digital platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to teach the students. Global expenditure on education technology is expected to reach $350 billion by 2025 from a mere $18.66 billion in 2019. The pandemic boosted the usage of video conferencing tools, web-based learning platforms, and virtual tutoring.
With such a significant number of students learning through online platforms, it became essential to manage all the data in an accessible and understandable format. With cloud services, institutions don’t have to maintain complex and cost-intensive on-premise hardware. Cloud services, including computing and storage, leased from cloud providers without making significant investments have paved the way. Cloud services do not face geographical restrictions, making it easier to reach even remote areas.
This remote reach has proved especially helpful during the pandemic as students can receive quality education right from the safety of their homes. Cloud services have allowed the institutions to reduce their physical footprint and increase their virtual reach, thus bringing out a way of spreading the light of knowledge in the most challenging circumstances.
Perhaps one of the major challenges for cloud services in the education sector has been regarding the security of an institution’s Intellectual Property (IP). An institution’s IP is one of its most valuable resources and ensuring its security is of paramount importance for these cathedrals of knowledge. Protecting and ensuring the security of students’ personal data is another major challenge that public cloud providers face.
While cloud providers have been trying to resolve these challenges in their own way, regulations and compliances have also played an important role in the same. Lastly, the inherent democratic nature of cloud services has also seeped into the education sector as the wider adoption of virtual learning has created new opportunities for the EdTech sector. The solutions provided by EdTech players have for the first time challenged the prominence of conventional institutions in the education sector. This competition, as always, will end up favoring the service consumers, which in this case happen to be students!