There’s no doubt that Big Data and cloud computing have the ability to transform the way we look at our jobs, our social habits, and each other. If recent research is any indication, this trend will continue as the technology begins to weave into the way the next generation is educated. Examples of data-based applications and concepts range from students learning how to read to their college graduation are growing more significant every day and promise to exert an even greater influence in the years to come.
Emerging uses of the cloud in education
According to a recent piece from Wall Street Journal contributor Lisa Fleisher, Big Data doesn’t just track how quickly a student is learning and his or her deficiency patterns, but can also direct teachers and publishers toward more effective systems. One of the shining examples of this increasingly common practice is the “Teach to One” program underway in New York City public schools that uses digital data to track how well students are learning math concepts.
“The amount of data collected is expected to swell as more schools use apps and tablets that can collect information down to individual keystrokes, or even how long a student holds a mouse pointer above a certain answer,” the source explained.
The program is also testing effective learning environments for students. Of the data collected, each user is tested in the typical classroom, after a one-to-one teaching session, and after taking a lesson online to determine which setting is best for cognitive development. With data now available on millions of students across the country, there is more insight than ever into what works (or doesn’t work) for today’s students.
Another productive use of cloud hosting that has emerged recently is the crowd-funded Reading Rainbow application, which garnered over $5 million on the Kickstarter platform this past spring. Based on the long-running PBS television series starring LeVar Burton, the app provides reading and teaching resources aimed at children just beginning to read at a low price for elementary schools that struggle with program budgets. Although the software is still in development, the Reading Rainbow educational platform will be deployed primarily on tablets for students and on larger displays for teachers in lieu of a chalkboard.
Big Data’s role in higher education
Once students graduate from public or private primary schooling, their relationship with Big Data is far from over. A U.S. News and World Report article revealed that the technology is being used to develop viable Web portals that connect those who attend the schools to a simple system that lets them see their grades, easily interact with instructors, pay their college bills, and more. Big Data is also being used to help graduates find work in their field of study following graduation and to develop useful applications for alumni.
“Beyond online learning, administrators understand that Big Data can be used in admissions, budgeting and student services to ensure transparency, better distribution of resources and identification of at-risk students,” contributor Doug Guthrie expanded.
Cloud infrastructure services are changing the way we view the world around us. The increasing use of the technology show no sign of slowing as it ingratiates into the basic learning tactics favored by the next generation of computer users and Big Data synthesizers.
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