Below is an extract from my article “Head in the Clouds” which won the most influential blog post of 2009 in the Edublog Awards. The full article can be seen here.
Over the last couple of years, the term “Cloud Computing” has been buzzing around in the techie world. Inevitably, it buzzes into the education world at some point. And yes, it’s starting to cause a bit of a stir. So what is cloud computing and why should Irish schools care?
Simply put, cloud computing allows you to log on to a computer somewhere in the world and use its applications, often for free. A number of companies offer a cloud computing service, most famously, Google with their Google Apps. Google Apps allows users to use fully functioning word processors, spreadsheets, presentation software, email, calendars, web design software, chat, video sharing and lots more for free! All you need is an Internet connection and a school.
Little did I know, but I had been using cloud computing in two schools before I’d even heard of the term. Right now, my school uses cloud computing through Google apps as a communication tool for all staff and board of management. I thought it might be interesting for other principals to see how we’ve incorporated it in our school in the hope that it might inspire others to do the same.
Here are some of the ways, we’re using Google Apps in our school
- A staffroom noticeboard
- A shared calendar
- Shared Plans and Policies
- Short-term Learning Support
- Collating Accident Report Forms
- Ordering Resources for School
- School Rollbook
- Staff Meetings
Nobody in the school has told me that they don’t know what’s going on because everything is there at their fingertips – no matter where they are in the world!