Cloud Computing

When I mention cloud computing to teachers I almost always get the deer-in-the-headlights look. It is the same look I would get when I started teaching adding fractions with unlike denominators to fourth graders.

So what is cloud computing? My very simple explanation is this. Cloud computing is when you are working on a website or mobile app that stores your information on a website. Basically the information you give the app isn’t on your computer, phone or iPad. It is on a web server somewhere.

So when we discuss using Dropbox or Google Apps, the files are not stored on your computer.

Why would you want to store your information or files on someone else’s server? The answer is access. If I save a file to my Dropbox, I have access to the file on almost any device anywhere I have an Internet connection.

In my district, the (local) desktop computers save our files on a school server. These files are only accessible when logged on to a school computer at one of our schools. If I want to take a file home to work on, I have to get it to another computer by emailing it to myself, saving to a USB drive, etc. Using a cloud drive like Dropbox, I save to the cloud folder and when I get home it is available on my home computer or iPad.

Keep in mind that if you are working on a file in a specific application such as Microsoft Word, you need to have an application that can open and edit the file to make changes. Also keep in mind that if you use a font that isn’t on both computers, the fonts will change.

Save to the cloud or not save to the cloud, that is the question! Only you can answer it.