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K-12 Education’s Future Lies in the Cloud

Though high school was more than a decade ago, I still maintain contact with many of my teachers through Facebook. Around this time of the year, many of them begin ramping up for the school year, commenting on the assigning of homework, the personalities of their classes, and the hopes the term will bring.

A few days ago, I noticed something different from one of my former English teachers, who now uses Google Docs as a tool for essay writing. He noted that it was much easier than asking for students to email their essays and that he could track productivity from the comfort of his own laptop. Though I didn’t comment on the matter, I found it very interesting, contrary to my days as a student where I would write everything on my parents’ home computer, then submit to an online cloud plagiarism checking tool.

In the interest of seeing what my former teacher wrote and knowing that cloud is at the center of my career, I took it upon myself to research how exactly the industry is changing. Turns out, there’s quite a bit – according to market research firm Technavio, the global cloud computing market in the education sector is expected to grow more than 26% CAGR through 2021 in the K-12 market. The trend is led by several key factors:

  • Lower TCO: Public schools such as the one my former teacher works at are cash-strapped and always looking for ways to maximize infrastructure spending. Cloud reduces staff expenses while providing up-to-date information, available easily over the Internet.
  • Growing Interest in Learning Analytics: It used to be that struggling in the classroom was a discussion saved for parent-teacher meetings once a quarter. With the application of big data and business intelligence in the classroom, student progress is now a real-time measurement, enabling the personalization of learning and greater parent-teacher satisfaction.
  • Mobile Learning: Mobile learning is increasingly being adopted by various educational institutes across the globe, owing to the rising penetration of mobile devices such as iPods, smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, Kindle, and others in modern classrooms. Cloud computing plays a key role in sharing information and fostering learning in the classroom.

In addition to Technavio’s report, we believe there will be other technology elements driving learning in the classroom. These include:

  • DevOps: As learning becomes more real-time, education providers will be pressured to offer their curriculum real-time. Unlike the education of several decades ago where using older textbooks was approved, both parents and students will spearhead this effort in order to add value to the learning process.
  • Low Code Development: In recent months, Low Code development has gained steam in organizations looking to optimize on development and innovation. For educators, the proliferation of low-code tools offers the opportunity to develop curriculum easily without the pain of waiting for new technology to arrive.
  • Online Collaboration: Another interesting development for the K-12 space is the use of communities including Facebook and IBM WebSphere portal. As education becomes more real-time, educators will look to share more content and lessons outside of the classroom. Tied in with mobile, this presents an opportunity for meaningful learning beyond the everyday classroom desk.

With education seeing the greatest shift in several generations, the future promises to be exciting. What possibilities can you imagine future students experiencing? Let us know in the comments below.

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Albert Qian

Albert Qian is a Marketing Manager at Perficient for our IBM PCS, DevOps, and Enterprise Solutions Partners focused on cloud computing technologies.

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