12 October 2008

Ephemeral Information

Do you use Cloud Computing? The term refers to data storage (documents and other files) that are stored on a server that you don't own. For example, if you use GoogleDocs, you are putting your information in the Cloud. This can be handy---you have access to your information from anywhere and can work from any computer. On the other hand, if a company goes under, changes their policy, or their server has issues, you're in a heap of trouble. (Just ask the people who "bought" music from Wal-Mart's on-line store...only to find out now that Wal-Mart is discontinuing the service and customers will have to repurchase their music from someone else.) Cloud computing can also have some interesting consequences for those groups which have legal records retention requirements. What do you do if you're audited?

However, might the Cloud have some benefits for educational institutions? It's inexpensive and can host many different kinds of educational software.

While the verdict might not be in as to Cloud Computing, I have to say that I enjoy making use of it. At this time, I don't store any critical or personal information there---I'm entirely trusting. But it's a great feature to be able to plan and share with others, or keep a spare copy of some documents. Like the evolution of cell phones in the classroom, I am wondering if students will drive a change in using the Cloud.


Hugh O'Donnell said...

I could see this technology being embraced by education service districts that interface with school districts, but, as a board member, I'd never trust our money (or the student/teacher data) to a commercial company. Even a company that's been around for a long time.

And I really have a bias here. I'm all for keeping things "in-house," even with people yammering for centralized this and that (the latest being some congresspeople in Oregon talking about giving all payroll and other financial responsibilities to ESDs to "save money for the classroom"). Bull.

The "friction" generated from dealing with a super-bureaucracy would produce meltdown. I think the savings are illusory, and bringing ESDs up to banking standards would negate the savings.

But I have digressed...sorry.

Way Down Yonder On The Pasquotank said...

Yes, I have my own little cloud -- I am a technology facilitator for a school district. I use Google docs for "Notebooks," planning documents for planning workshops, etc.

There are ten schools in my district and I can access my documents anytime/anywhere.

Two years ago, I created a Google science notebook for elementary teachers. I was able to update it the other night from home and share the link with teachers.

I have several PBwikis I still use and I now use wikispaces. Great for collaboration, storage and sharing.