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8th Grade LA Teacher, Instructor for Teaching with Primary Sources for GSU

Illini Cloud

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Recently,in my UofI graduate course, we had a guest speaker from Illini Cloud. For those of you who aren't familiar with Illini Cloud it is cloud computing resource for school districts in Illnois (starting to filter into neighboring states). The Cloud has three data centers set up throughout Illinois that allows districts to share hardware, application, and tech support. Illini Cloud is a great opportunity for school districts who have limited resources and want to expand the resources that they currently have in place. There are over 150 schools that have joined the initiative that was started over three years ago. Schools are saving up to 60% during these hard budget times! illinicloud.net

8th Grade Language Arts Teacher

Moving Slowly into the Clouds

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Nick,
I enjoyed reading your post about cloud technology. It seems that even though I have used this technology since a year or two ago, that I am still anxious about knowing where the best area to store is, etc. I guess I am still relatively new to cloud storage, and was wondering if there are any particular ones that you recommend. Sending files back and forth can sometimes be a pain, and sometimes I just need them for myself.

Additionally, have your students used cloud storage with great success?

Great Ideas

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Nick,
Great post. I have been using cloud computing for several types of assignments lately. Using something like Google Docs, as opposed to Dropbox, does allow the teacher to "check in" on group work, not so much to ensure that it is being done as a group(that is what peer review is for), but to understand how students collaborate and break up assignments. Check out a post I have on the subject here if you are interested:http://jeffeverhart.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/using-cloud-computing-for-collaborative-research-projects/
-J

Life Skills Support Teacher

This represents another

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This represents another assault on personal autonomy. I could not relinquish so much control over my data to some gigantic faceless entity. Just the title alone "Cloud" doesn't inspire confidence. A cloud is just a big puff of gas. It's just another trendy development from the Silicon Valley bunch that makes the nerdy hearts go a-flutter.

I'll rely on storing my data on my own in my own home or office where I know it's safe and under my own control.

High School English Teacher/The Nerdy Teacher

@Claudia

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You raise some good questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

You ask about a "safe area" for students to post work. I'm not sure what you mean by safe. Do you mean a place where others can't access it? I have shared folders with individual students that allows us to share work without others seeing it.

As for group collaboration, how does any teacher really know the whole group is working. The cloud doesn't ensure the whole groups works, just that working in groups can be easier. Getting kids to work is not a cloud issue, but a teaching/engagement issue.

Dropbox, for one, allows for easy download of information. If I want to switch providers, I can download anything I want to move and upload it to the other service.

As for lesson plan access, what do you do if you forget your lesson plan at home? The same thing all good teachers do, wing it. If you created the lesson, you should know what you were going to do that day. I understand the concern, but I don't know of many teachers that need to follow the script word for word to teach that day. Most are rough outlines of objectives and the students are guided to pointe along the way. I think that is a different post topic though.

Concerns Iocer Cloud storage are valid and the entire system is still in its infancy, but from my experience it had been helpful in my classroom.

I hope I answered some your questions and thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

- NP

Cloud Computing Dangers

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I am a fan of Dropbox and even subscribe to Carbonite for automated backup of selected personal files on my computer. Convenience outweighs my serious concern about confidentiality and mistrust of service providers that I cannot see.

Non-proprietary information, such as your own lesson plans and reference lists, stored in the cloud for public access surely offers convenience. How do you ensure that students have a safe area for posting work? How confident are you that group collaboration is really done as a group? How do you retrieve everything if you move to another provider? What happens if your lesson plan in the Cloud is not available? I'm not a naysayer, but I'm a very cautious adopter of Cloud services.

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