Community Cloud Learning Platform and BYOD

An exciting development at last week's Digital Learning Forum was the announcement of the OSAPAC cloud pilot. This could potentially affect 2 million students in Ontario. Currently, software delivery is IT intensive, and complex (testing and verification of computer images which need to be updated maybe twice a year).

The cloud would include full virtualization of the software environment using Microsoft (AZURE) - connects to windows back-end server to deliver applications. It could potentially be less expensive because one pays for the time when the server is being utilized and which software is being used.

Students and educators can access the cloud from home or school when they log in to the Forefront unified access gateway to enter their board credentials. Group policy processing is applied and distributes all of the applications which run off the cloud server.
Cloud computing image

Links to websites can also be included and because this model is platform independent (applications run on a remote server) this enables users on iPad and iPhone devices to access digital resources based in Flash (the large majority of activities in the Ontario Educational Resource Bank.

There are several advantages to this model;
  • single sign-on (no need to remember multiple logins for different websites)
  • IT personnel can spend more time on training as opposed to maintenance
  • IT departments get valuable hard-drive space back that would have been needed for software images
  • upgrades to software is immediate - no software shipping costs 
  • reduced network bandwidth requirements
  • a great enabler to Bring Your Own Device (less powerful devices can be used to access software and websites)
I am looking forward to seeing the proof of concept for this model because there are so many exciting possibilities.