A conversation with educators who rely on the cloud and those who’ve decided not to use it
The Cloud feels like an infinite solution to all our problems of limited storage, software support, and curriculum delivery but there are cases where it doesn’t fit in education. Is the Cloud our hope or an overrated solution? In this panel, ask questions of educators with different experiences: a classroom teacher who is using the cloud and a school district network engineer who isn’t, We’re also joined by the 30-year edtech veteran and CEO of NetSupport, who has seen it all and is frequently called to discuss this topic in keynotes around the globe. This is an unscripted Q&A session where the media and freelance writers can ask questions -- emailed in advance or during the panel -- and our panelists will share what they’ve learned and how they are implementing Cloud-based solutions (or not).
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. EST
Al Kingsley, CEO of NetSupport, UK school leader and co-host of NetSupport Radio
Erica Smith, 6th grade teacher at Ready Springs School (CA)
Monte McCubbin, systems engineer for Simi Valley Unified School District (CA)
Erica Smith: (15:33)
One thing that we've found as we've made this giant leap into the future here in pandemic world, is that developmentally not all students are ready for that step, whether it's necessary or not in their education. And so having those learning management systems has really been a way to bring them along with us because they might not be ready to manage their own schedule or to look at their email and just kind of know what's going on.
Erica Smith: (23:32)
I would agree with that. I think that one thing that happened with the explosion of technology and its availability and its prevalence is that we really expanded their world without expanding connectivity and transparency.
Al Kingsley, NetSupport: (36:15)
Well, I think the irony of some of these conversations is that back to that idea of one size doesn't fit all, Monte and Erica are both right, because when you're considering about cloud-based services. One of the considerations for most organizations is the driver. One is about the cost differential between having to host things locally versus externally. And the second is capacity. If you're a large enough organization where the infrastructure and the skilled professionals, it makes a lot of sense.
Al Kingsley, NetSupport: (37:06)
And I think that the reality is, I would certainly sign up to the kind of Monte's view that if somebody said to me, well, where do these things best not fit, then certainly when you start thinking about school finance, HR, and certain systems, you think, well, they're intrinsically operational within the entity. And I can't see any reason why I need them externally. So why would I take that extra leap?
Monte McCubbin, Simi Valley USD: (41:35)
They're at their house and they're using our servers on our district campuses. So that to me is an alternative to a cloud-based solution. We've created our own cloud-based solution. We have a cloud solution that we have 100% control over. So it's kind of a hybrid if you want to call it that.
Monte McCubbin, Simi Valley USD: (43:41)
The advantages of not using the cloud is you have complete control of your environment
Al Kingsley, NetSupport: (43:52)
The truth of it is there are there's arguments for either way. So I suppose the benefits of not being cloud-based is the local control and security. You could say also reduces potential dependences in the local school for data flow and data capacity. But I think there's just as many, if not more arguments for the right kinds of solutions for the cloud, the other way, which is flexibility, scalability, redundancy.