The Effectiveness of Cloud Computing on Teaching and Learning

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THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CLOUD COMPUTING ON TEACHING AND LEARNING

ABSTRACT
According to the learners cloud blog, an article posted on 4th February 2013, Technology has continuously contributed effectively on the way knowledge is impacted to learners. In the 1950s learning theorists concluded that repeated drills and the repetition of content-supported learning and more specifically recall. This led to the introduction of listening stations in the classroom where students were able to use headphones to listen to audiotapes and cassettes. This progressed to the integration of videotapes a year later and the trend has not slowed since. Today, technology is advancing faster than ever and as such, schools and learning institutions are starting to gain pace with new technologies. To better support faculty and students for teaching and learning, institutions need to constantly innovate and optimize their IT infrastructures. The new IT paradigm called “cloud computing” has the potential to transform the way that IT resources are utilized and consumed in education and is expected to have a large impact on educational computing during the next few years. With its focus on helping administrators, faculty and students to understand cloud computing and to make plans for successful cloud adoption, this paper provides insights into the effectiveness of cloud computing on teaching and learning, based on a case study of the College of Art and Social Sciences, Department of Political Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

INTRODUCTION
The use of technology in education is growing exponentially with the increasing number of students in these institutions. The purpose of education and the principals of learning are to inspire, educate and share knowledge. Yet in practice there are barriers that can affect teaching and learning; from oversubscribed classrooms and lack of staffing resources to constraints on annual budgets and the overzealous involvement of local authorities. These barriers continue to occur but as technology advances and becomes more significant in our daily lives, many educationalists begin to appreciate and actively promote the use of cloud computing in the classroom.

According to the annual New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon (2012) report, a research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on higher education, the evolution of cloud computing will have significant impacts on the classroom experience as well as accessibility to education. The report further states that, technology and cloud computing are making it possible for the teaching community to flip the traditional approach to education, taking the lecture content online (hence the term “flipped classroom”) and freeing up classroom time for activities, collaboration and one-on-one interaction between students and lecturers. The flipped classroom concept was first made popular by Salman Khan, of Khan Academy, and is now gaining more traction as more tools become available to facilitate this approach. While faced with some debate about its effectiveness, most participants are embracing the concept. The concept of moving content online will also expand the reach of the traditional classroom, opening the possibilities for innovative approaches in online learning. The NMC Horizon Report states that people now expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to. While forms of online learning have been around for a while, a recent trend is showing established, top-tier schools making their course content available online and for free.

Institutes of higher education are now advancing in offering an increased number of courses and degrees and to embrace this advancement, they are made available through online learning. More and more courses and degrees at institutes of higher education are becoming available through distance-education programs (Howell, Williams &...
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