Financial Benefits of Cloud Computing in K-12 Schools
What are the financial benefits of cloud computing in K-12 schools? Here are four key areas I think K-12 schools have to benefit from by integrating cloud computing:
This is part two of my series, “Cloud Computing in K-12 Schools.”
Developing Relationships Instead of Managing Technology
This may not be aligned with a purist’s definition of what constitutes a financial benefit, but it has definite financial implications. Many curriculum technologists would agree that they’d like to focus more on implementing technology in the classroom and developing innovative ideas, but they’re forced to spend much of their time ensuring that teachers’ technology is properly functioning and up-and-running. Rather than trialing new software and hardware, school technologists are playing trial-and-error with the removal of viruses, spyware, and error messages.
One critical element of technology integration in our classrooms is the development of successful relationships between teachers and the technology department. Innovative technology will stick at just being a novel idea and never find its way into the classroom if a healthy relationship between the teacher and technologist is nonexistent.
Most of us would agree that it’s necessary to take the time to develop healthy relationships; unfortunately, that time often comes at the expense of the time needed to manage our schools’ technology. We all-to-often believe that forcing more production will yield better results; however, this mentality often results in the decay of relationships, and remember – relationships are a prerequisite for infusing technology in any classroom. Is this additional production worth the expense of innovation? I don’t think so – a dedicated provider offering cloud computing solutions will help alleviate many of those issues. This provider tackles the responsibility of making sure everything is functioning properly, leaving curriculum technologists with the time they want to infuse technology in the classroom.
Decreased personnel costs
This is really a shift in costs, but schools’ balance sheets retain more money after the shift. Rather than having salaried employees take care of the IT’s infrastructure, this support can be provided by the cloud service provider at a fraction of the price. Don’t get me wrong – schools will always need their own personnel to take care of on-site issues, but it just seems logical that some funds will be salvaged if similar support is being provided elsewhere for marginal costs.
Opportunities for grant money
Grant money finds the innovators, and the sooner you jump on the cloud bandwagon, the more grant money opportunities you’ll be providing for your district. One such example is the new E-Rate Deployed Ubiquitously pilot program. This program is distributing $10,000,000 to help schools fund technology that promotes mobile learning. I can’t say that I’m a specialist on their program’s guidelines, but by all definitions and interpretations I’ve seen, cloud computing falls under the umbrella of mobile learning.
Reduced computer maintenance and server costs
Cloud computing provides cost-efficient centralization of schools’ IT infrastructure. Here’s how it works: using the server intelligence it was programmed with, cloud computing adjusts resources based on need at that exact given moment. Google’s Gmail works the same way – users are advertised to have over 7 gigabytes of storage, and while this is true, we really only have however much we need at that given moment. Storage we’re not using at that time is allocated to other users. So, along with reduced personnel costs, centralizing the computing resources of a school district provides an energy-efficient way to reduce overall server costs.
The ability to centrally manage resources also allows school IT departments to locally deploy new software, which eliminates the time and costs associated with the current model of deploying software on a computer-by-computer basis.
For further reading on the benefits, risks, and costs of cloud computing in K-12 schools, check out the rest of my posts in this series, Cloud Computing in K-12 Schools.
I invite you to check out the following links to other articles related to the financial benefits of cloud computing. Although the focus of these articles is not developed around education, they do provide further insight:
- The Financial Benefits of Cloud Computing
- How to Explain Cloud Computing to Your CFO
- What Does Cloud Computing Actually Cost