Over the last few years, we saw educational institutions moving towards digital solutions in most of the critical aspects: learning, teaching, administration, admission, etc. The shift to the emerging web based platforms came as a natural result of accelerated technology growth, as well as people’s increased reliance on online resources and connected devices.
As Jessica Furseth noted earlier, “the internet – a perfect tool for distributing information – is the classroom of the future.”
Indeed, the growth of the Internet transformed almost every aspect of modern education. To meet the needs for stable infrastructure that can support easy collaboration, efficient research and information sharing, educational institutions now commonly use multiple web and cloud-based portals. Thus, the education sector has become one of the key market segments for digital innovation and certainly one that heavily depends on infrastructure scalability.
Web hosting a critical resource for digital engagement
Considering the increased usage of digital resources, it’s unsurprising that web hosting has become a key priority for most decision-makers in the education sector. Namely, as pointed by a recent Schoolwires study, web hosting is seen as a critical resource for a majority of K-12 institutions across the US. The national survey examined more than 400 educational leaders and found out that 98% of them believe websites perform critical educational functions.
The importance of this resource led more than 700 educators and staff members to sign a petition for E-rate funding for web hosting services.
"School websites help support digital learning goals and make it easy for schools to quickly and effectively communicate with parents, students, and community members regarding key initiatives, academic progress, and emergencies," states the petition, adding that the potential cuts in funding could seriously impede the progress of key web and digital learning initiatives.
Cloud services increasingly used in K-12 and Higher Education
Another important trend in modern education is using the cloud technologies that provide powerful computing resources at low prices. For years, the cloud has been at play in educational institutions worldwide in its various forms, and its potential is still a field of exploration.
Research by Crucial assembled some interesting data on the use and adoption of cloud solutions in educational institutions that point to the increased popularity of these services in the sector. As outlined in their white paper (available here), 43% of higher education institutions surveyed by CDW have implemented or are maintaining some cloud computing resources. In K-12 institutions, this number reached 42% in 2013 and is still growing.
Obviously, the primary advantage of using the cloud is its ability to deliver fast services tailored to the needs of researchers, students and academics. However, another significant factor of this transition is the attractive offering major providers such as Microsoft, Google an Amazon have designed specifically for these institutions. Moreover, the current pricing wars in the cloud market have yielded some new opportunities for the sector to reinvent their processes. With Microsoft releasing unlimited free OneDrive storage for all students in June this year and Google following the pace in October, it is clear that some greater changes are about to take place in the educational sector.
The growing potential of web technologies has demonstrated its impact onto different industries and the education sector is no exception. The competition among the leading cloud providers is yet to benefit the sector in terms of computing tools, while the demand for web hosting services will continue to rise. Therefore, the general implication that digital solutions are the future of education is justified and the expansion of online learning environments is quite likely to dominate the years to come.