It was announced Monday, April 29th, that educational institutions spread throughout the region of Central and Eastern Europe are being transformed by Microsoft’s cloud computing program, Office 365.
The University of Maribor, Faculty of Economic and Business, and School Center Skofjia Loka (Slovenia), Educativa (Romania), TEI Kalamata (Greece), Kozminski University (Poland), and Vaikystes Sodas (Lithuania) have all reported on the success cloud computing has had on their academic programs and students.
By implementing online service software, like Microsoft Office 365, these schools were able to meet the following goals:
Improved Communication Cloud computing enables students and faculty to instantly communicate across time zones, national borders, and vast oceans with the click of a button. This effectively opened up a rural and secluded part of Europe to high-grade education from the other side of the world. As technology that keeps users constantly connected to the world finds its way into the hands of more and more Central and Eastern European students, these previously slow-developing countries are likely to see rapid growth due to an increasing number of young citizens receiving a better education.
Increased Productivity Microsoft Office 365 is also improving the productivity of these schools by using email management systems to streamline web communication and reducing messaging errors. The system makes file-sharing, internal collaboration, and document management much easier—all things that establish a smooth and efficient work flow.
Cost Benefits Instead of spending more money performing expensive repairs, replacements, and IT services, these school in Central and Eastern Europe are finding that they can reduce their technology costs without compromising student learning. Computer services departments are able to spend valuable resources focusing on projects that are more aligned with the school’s mission, as opposed to costly, time-consuming software maintenance.
The exciting thing about Microsoft’s new project is that the benefits of cloud computing are having a direct impact on the education of thousands of European students in these schools.
“Technology is a powerful engine of economic growth and competitiveness, enabling innovation that creates new companies, industries, opportunities and jobs around the world,” said Don Grantham, president for the CEE region at Microsoft. “We are honored to work with so many educational institutions, helping them to use technology to improve student outcomes as well as address their staff and faculty IT needs through enhanced collaboration, communications and productivity.”
With such benefits that come from implementing cloud computing in education, people in the U.S. are asking why these technology solutions aren’t being used in here as well.
“Our personal and professional worlds are moving towards the Cloud,” says blog writer for Education Week, Patrick Ledesma. “It’s tempting to imagine an education system with all the applications and resources teachers and students need readily available online.”
Ledesma goes on to say that for American schools the challenge will not be technological, but cultural, organizational, and economical.
Until then, “the Cloud,” as it’s called, is already meeting those challenges in European classrooms.