Learning and Teaching in the Cloud: Is It for You?
It’s hard to ignore the allure of cloud computing in the education industry. With ease of access and widespread data availability to teachers and administrators, the benefits should not be understated. Yet, there are many naysayers questioning the privacy concerns that this kind of data availability raises. Here are some key points to consider when deciding if this upgrade is right for your school:
Advantages for All
From teachers and administrators to students and parents, everyone can benefit from migrating school data to a cloud-based system. Assignments can be easily accessed from home or school so students have their work with them no matter where they are. Teachers and parents can more easily communicate about grades, attendance and student progress. The adoption of a cloud-based system helps all involved parties stay on the same page and work together more efficiently to accomplish their education goals.
Early Adopters Lack Regulation & Transparency
Because this relatively new advancement has not been used in the educational setting long enough, there are still many privacy challenges that need to be regulated between schools and private companies. It is because of this, that there is also very few government regulations when it comes to protecting students’ privacy. For instance, major lapses in the control of private student data were identified in a recent study conducted by the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham University’s Law School. A lack of transparency was cited as a major issue by the study authors because only a quarter of the 54 school districts notified parents that their children’s information was migrated to a cloud-based storage system.
Making a Successful Transition
There are many ways you can successfully transition your school to a cloud-based system. Consider the following:
- Do your research: Not all cloud-storage systems are created equally. Do your homework before recommending any cloud computing services to the school board. Start by reading professional and customer reviews online.
- Know the contract specifics: Some cloud storage services let you reserve the right to control any data that you store in the cloud while others force you to relinquish control in exhaustive contracts. Pore over the service agreements and contracts line by line to ensure you have a thorough grasp on all of the conditions before signing on the dotted line. Keep an eye out for any language about limiting the marketing, sale or disclosure of stored data. If terms on this subject are not clearly spelled out, push for them to be amended before migrating your school data.
- Look for customizable controls: In order for for the most sensitive information to remain private but still be accessible to the teachers and counselors who need it, the cloud storage solution you choose must have controls that you can customize to your needs. Consider choosing a cloud-based management system that was designed for the education industry so you can have the multi-layered organizational capabilities you need.
- Keep expectations high: If you can’t find a cloud storage system with the features and privacy controls you want, build your own cloud-based storage network instead of compromising your needs with a pre-existing structure. While this may be a more costly option, you can’t put a price on security.
- Make transparency a priority: Keep parents in the loop about this transition and be proactive about informing everyone about how the data is being protected. With clear communication and confidence, you can set parents’, teachers’ and students’ minds at ease.
Categories: Internet issues