Businesses have been harnessing the power of advanced analytics to increase yields and reduce costs for almost a decade. But are the very institutions responsible for breeding the next generation of digital leaders overlooking a strategic view of how to maximize the benefits of public cloud in education?
We may have come a long way since the days of chalkboards, but the education sector is arguably behind when it comes to building a connected learning environment suited for today’s digital natives. The sector must modernise and adapt, to provide students with the skills they will need as part of a modern workforce. Encouragingly, many schools and colleges are starting to experiment with intelligent technology in the cloud and in doing so, are discovering they can unlock a wealth of new benefits.
Creating an Immersive Learning Experience
Once defined by four walls, desks, chairs and chalkboards, the classroom has now evolved from a location to an experience. Digital, wireless technology, powered by the Cloud, means that students can now access a rich library of information in more exciting and engaging ways than we ever thought possible just a few years ago. While we may not have buried the text book just yet, new ways of teaching and learning are being applied, from apps that invite children to learn through game play to virtual reality headsets that can visually transport pupils to any location in the world, allowing them to explore remote corners of the globe from the comfort of the classroom. While the cloud can directly benefit pupils by enhancing the learning experience, it can also empower teachers to better support their students.
Saving at-risk students with predictive analytics
Since schools and colleges opened their doors, there has always been a handful of students who fail to complete their course. Traditionally, this has been viewed as an inevitable, and sometimes unavoidable circumstance. But is this really the case? Predictive analytics can provide teachers with real-time access to vast amounts of student-related information to help uncover meaningful patterns and predict future outcomes by providing the power to slice, dice, and analyze data sets in a fraction of the time against manual calculations. With these valuable insights, teachers will be able to gain an indication of whether a pupil is more likely to drop out; meaning educators and administrators would be empowered to reverse the trend and help more students succeed.
Identifying and supporting those with additional needs though Machine Learning
Students learn at different rates which can make it difficult for teachers to identify when a pupil is falling behind or struggling. However, machine learning software, such as Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning, looks for patterns in large amounts of data. These solutions provide a 360-degree view of a student, offering custom data displays to help teachers and students identify and resolve learning gaps faster. It can even predict future behavior to alert faculty, so they can intervene, before learning gaps become classroom performance issues. Knowing the potential of the technology available is half the battle. The other half is deciding how best to apply these technologies in a classroom setting. Public Cloud is the backbone of next generation digital adoption which can facilitate and support machine learning and predictive analytics. But in a time when it’s highly unlikely additional funding will be made available to boost staff IT skills and experience; further education establishments will be expected to look beyond its own IT staff for assistance.
Education establishments should look for a reputable Cloud Services Provider who can deliver ongoing support and assistance, enabling internal IT teams to focus on core business services. Today, service providers that can help school and college IT professionals successfully use virtualisation and cloud computing in education are few and far between, yet the support of these providers will become even more important as schools consider wider impacts such as data protection.
To find out how ANS can help to support your school or college on your cloud journey, click here.