The recently published 2011 Horizon Report K-12 identifies as one of the two major trends for the years 2011-2012 (in addition to mobile computing) the adoption of cloud computing in schools: “As IT support becomes more and more decentralized, the technologies we use are increasingly based not on school servers, but in the cloud. The continuing acceptance and adoption of cloud-based applications and services is changing not only the ways we configure and use software and file storage, but even how we conceptualize those functions. It does not matter where our work is stored; what matters is that our information is accessible no matter where we are or what device we choose to use. Globally, in huge numbers, we are growing accustomed to a model of browser-based software that is device- independent. While some challenges still remain, specifically with notions of privacy and control, the promise of significant cost savings is an important driver in the search for solutions.”
This is good news for NEXT-TELL, as we are building on cloud computing in several ways. One is their pedagogical use: In NEXT-TELL, we work on providing automatic feedback on writing in English as a Foreign Language using Google Docs, and on supporting learning about data visusalisation in Google Spreadsheet. On the more technical front, work is underway to integrate tools such as the Google Apps automatically into educational workflows. See Deliverable D2.1 for more information.