What’s a Community-Wide Cloud Computing Academy?

Originally posted here - http://bit.ly/jRThzG.

Learning new things everyday is one of the fun things about being involved withEnterthegroup.com. I had never heard of a cloud-computing academy until I met Conor (an ETG user). He has some interesting and ambitious goals that I think everyone involved in education would be interested to discover and add their thoughts.

I’ll let Conor Cusack describe what a CCA is and share his vision for it. Without further adieu…

“A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends.”
(http://www.communityschools.org/aboutschools/what_is_a_community_school.aspx).

I worked in public education for ten years.  I was introduced to many strategies, theories, consultants, and engaged in debates over many issues including standardized testing, available funding and resources (or lack thereof), students and teacher performance and evaluation, parental involvement, and what constituted educational “best practice” .

I finally arrived at the conclusion that the single, most effective and efficient means to engaging students and improving overall student performance is via sustained community mobilization and partnership.  Said partnership can come in many forms, but the premise behind community schools remains unchanged- there is strength in numbers.  Numbers, whether we’re talking dollars, volunteers, or opportunities that wouldn’t exist without community involvement, make the biggest impact.   And yes, you can create data from these numbers.

Effectively harnessing the aforementioned numbers results in a heightened sense of community pride, key stakeholder buy-in, increased resources and opportunities available to and for students.

Fast forward to 2011.  Schools are akin to neighborhoods, and the Internet has become ubiquitous.  There is distance learning, e-learning, m-learning,
and virtual classrooms.  However, there is something missing with all of this wonderful technology.  Community.  My concern with these fantastic state-of-the-art systems and platforms, we are neglecting the reality that they could be significantly enhanced via community involvement.
That is where Community-wide Cloud Computing Academies come in.

What exactly is a Community-wide Cloud Computing Academy and what would it look like?

A Community-wide Cloud Computing Academy is a group of key stakeholders who collaborate and communicate to bridge the digital divide. Key CCA stakeholders and participants would include leaders from higher education, business, government, K12 School Districts, Health Care, Law, and non-profit agencies. The aforementioned coalition would agree to utilizing a single, universal portal (Enterthegroup.com ) whereby information, knowledge, media, and expertise could be accessed on a 24-7, mobile-access platform. K-12 students could log onto the portal and virtually interact with with leaders and professionals committed to the CCA concept. The CCA community leaders would lend time and resources, industry best practice, ongoing technical assistance, and access to company/industry conferences and events.

Intended outcomes for students would be increased student access to cutting-edge innovation, learning and volunteer opportunities, mobile access to the cloud portal, and ongoing monitoring and oversight to ensure implementation fidelity.

Thanks Conor! So if anyone wants to find out more or help out in any way please leave your comments at Entertheblog.com and Conor will connect with you.

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