Information technology in the field of education in the modern world is a necessary condition for the progressive development of society. Information and improvement of teaching technologies occupy one of the main places among the many new directions in the development of education.
The relevance of the application of new information technologies in education lies in the fact that they not only perform the functions of tools used to solve individual pedagogical problems. But also provide qualitatively new opportunities for learning and the formation of skills for independent learning activities. Stimulate the development of didactics and methods, contribute to the creation of new forms of training and education.
With the development of computer tools and their introduction into the educational process. Its participants have new opportunities for the sake of new approaches.
The objectives of this study are:
- The study of basic information about “Cloud” technologies, about the varieties and areas of application of these technologies;
- Application of “cloud” technologies in education;
- Consider the possibility of using Microsoft Cloud products for educational institutions.
Technologies based on cloud computing are one of the most demanded and actively developing areas of the modern information world. Cloud computing technology is an innovative technology. That allows you to combine IT resources of various hardware platforms into a single whole and provide the user with access to them via a local network or the global Internet.
Cloud services from various providers offer users access to their resources via the Internet through free or shareware cloud applications. The hardware and software requirements of which do not require the user to have high-performance and resource-consuming computers.
Software as a Service
At the moment, there are three basic models for building a cloud: software (software) as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Let’s analyze these cloud models to identify the possibility of using them in the educational process.
Software as a Service (SaaS) – “Software as a Service”, a model for providing cloud services. In which the user uses the provider’s applications running in the cloud infrastructure, which are available to the client using a web interface or program interface.
Platform as a service
Platform as a Service (PaaS) – “platform as a service”, a model for providing cloud services, in which the user gets access to the use of the software platform: operating systems (OS), DBMS, application software, software development and testing tools. In fact, the user is renting a computer platform with an installed OS and specialized tools for developing, hosting and managing web applications.
Infrastructure as a Service
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – “infrastructure as a service”, a model for providing cloud services, in which the user gets the opportunity to manage processing and storage tools, as well as other fundamental computing resources (virtual servers and network infrastructure), on which he can independently install OS and applications.
Private Cloud in any organization
A private cloud is an infrastructure intended for use by one organization that includes several divisions. A private cloud can be owned, managed, and operated by the organization itself or by a third party.
A public cloud is an infrastructure intended for free use by the general public. A public cloud may be owned, managed, and operated by commercial, scientific, and government organizations (or any combination of these).
A hybrid cloud is a combination of two or more different cloud infrastructures (private, public) that remain unique objects, but are interconnected by standardized or proprietary data and application transfer technologies (for example, short-term use of public cloud resources to balance loads between clouds).
A community cloud is a type of infrastructure intended for use by a specific community of consumers from organizations with a common purpose and may be co-owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the community organizations or a third party (or any combination of them.
Cloud Training all over the globe
Many foreign educational institutions have switched to the use of cloud technologies. In the United States, the active use of cloud technologies is observed in universities. For example, Hofstra University uses cloud services provided by Google Apps.
European universities are not far behind, as in Lithuania Kaunas University of Technology has been using cloud services provided by Microsoft Live@edu for the last five years. Today, cloud technologies are just beginning to be introduced into the educational sphere of the CIS countries, but there are already institutions that are actively using these technologies. For example, Moscow Financial and Law University has switched to using Office 365 technology.
After analyzing all the cloud models and the experience of their application in foreign countries and the CIS countries, we came to the conclusion that educational institutions most often use the software as a service (SaaS) cloud model.
The advantage of using this model can be attributed to the following factors: it does not require an educational institution to create its own data center and its maintenance, it allows to reduce financial and organizational costs and also makes it possible to install their own applications on the provider’s platform.
The analysis made it possible to highlight the following advantages of using cloud technologies in the educational process.
On the basis of the considered services, we will formulate the didactic possibilities of cloud technologies, confirming the expediency of their use in the educational process:
Advantages of using cloud Technologies
- Organization of joint work for a large team of teachers and students;
- The ability for both students and teachers to share and edit documents of various types;
- Quick inclusion of created products in the educational process due to the lack of territorial binding of the user of the service to the place of its provision;
- Organization of interactive classes and collective teaching;
- Performance by students of independent work, including collective projects, in the absence of restrictions on the “size of the audience” and “the time of the classes”;
Benefits of using cloud technologies
- Interaction and joint work with peers, regardless of their location; • creation of web-based laboratories in specific subject areas (mechanisms for adding new resources, interactive access to modeling tools, information resources, user support, etc.);
- Organization of different forms of control;
- Move to the cloud using learning management systems (LMS);
- New opportunities for researchers to organize access, develop and disseminate applied models.
Thus, the main didactic advantage of using cloud technologies in the educational process is the organization of joint work of students and teachers.
Some shortcomings of cloud technologies can be identified, which are mainly of a technical and technological nature and do not affect their didactic capabilities and advantages. Such shortcomings include limitations on the functionality of the property compared to local counterparts, the absence of domestic cloud service providers (Amazon, Google, Salesforce, etc.), the absence of domestic and international standards, as well as the lack of a legislative framework for the use of cloud technologies.
However, today the methodological and technological aspects of the use of cloud technologies in the educational process have not been sufficiently developed. In the educational process, including in the process of teaching computer science, the use of cloud technologies comes with a delay and has not yet found wide application.
Despite a number of obvious advantages, their spread is hindered by a number of objective factors. Traditionally, most domestic educational institutions are skeptical about renting virtual facilities, preferring to work with specific, preferably their own, equipment, software, and data that is stored locally.
How Cloud Technology will affect our Learning
- Efficient use of educational space (there is no need to allocate separate and specially equipped rooms for traditional computer classes);
- A radical reduction in the costs required for the creation and maintenance of computer classes;
- A qualitatively different level of obtaining modern knowledge – students get the opportunity to be in the learning process at any time and in any place where the Internet is available;
- More effective interactive learning process;
- The ability to quickly create, adapt and replicate educational services during the educational process;
- The opportunity for students to provide feedback to the teacher by evaluating and commenting on the educational services offered by him;
- Guarantee of license purity of the software used in the training process;
- Reducing the cost of licensed software by creating functionally equivalent educational services based on open-source software;
- Minimization of the number of required licenses due to their centralized use;
- Centralized administration of software and information resources used in the educational process.
Currently, the most common systems of services based on cloud computing technology used in the educational process are Microsoft Live@edu and Google Apps Education Edition. They are web applications based on cloud technologies that provide students and teachers of educational institutions with tools, the use of which is designed to increase the efficiency of communication and collaboration.
Impact of MS 365
Another option for using cloud services is moving learning management systems to the cloud. Transferring support for such systems to external providers makes sense for educational institutions that cannot afford to purchase and maintain expensive hardware and software.
If we consider cloud technologies from Microsoft for educational institutions, then this is Microsoft Office 365, which combines a set of web services. For distributing on a subscription basis under the “software + services” scheme.
The set provides access to various programs and services based on the Microsoft Office platform, e-mail, functionality for communication, and document management. Microsoft Office 365 Education lets you take full advantage of the cloud, improve student and employee productivity, and save time and money.
The basic functionality of Microsoft Office 365, including cloud versions of Lync Online with the ability to organize video conferencing, SharePoint Online, Office Web Apps, and Exchange Online, will be provided free of charge. Office 365 Education combines the power of familiar Office desktop applications with online versions of the next generation of Microsoft communications and collaboration services. Office 365 is very easy to use and administer and has a strong security system and a level of reliability.
What is Windows Azure
Windows Azure is another cloud service offered by Microsoft that can be used in the educational process. Windows Azure is a cloud equivalent of Windows Server OS. However, if you buy Windows Server and install it on servers in your local data center. Then the Windows Azure platform is hosted in Microsoft data centers and is available remotely as a platform for developing and running applications. With the help of Windows Azure in the education platform, teachers get the opportunity to include one of the most innovative. And rapidly developing technologies in their educational process, both in the theoretical and in its practical part.
There are three main ways to use the Azure platform to solve problems in universities:
- Use of Windows Azure to calculate practical problems that arise in the course of training;
- Use of cloud technologies Windows Azure in thesis and term papers;
- Perform large and complex calculations that require large computing resources;
- Use of virtual machines based on Linux or Windows in the cloud
Research work (R&D)
- Processing of large data arrays for R&D;
- The ability to transfer your own server cluster to the cloud;
- Modeling of scientific experiments;
- Use of innovative technologies for R&D.
Information and training portals
- Joint work on educational projects;
- A personal account of a student/employee/teacher;
- Distance learning;
- Areate new or extend existing applications
- Hold training events and webinars.
Cloud technology is a new way of organizing the educational process and offers an alternative to traditional methods of organizing the educational process. Creating an opportunity for personal learning, collective teaching, and interactive classes. The main advantage of using cloud technologies in education is not only to reduce the cost of acquiring the necessary software. to improve the efficiency and quality of the educational process. But also to prepare pupils and students for life in the modern information society.