This paper gives a descriptive summary
on the use and research of cloud computing and education using a systematic
search method. After a search on related literatures, 112 papers were selected.
Cloud computing is an information
technology (IT) paradigm that enables ubiquitous access to shared pools of
configurable system resources and higher-level services that can be rapidly
provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet. Cloud
computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economy of
scale, similar to a utility(“Cloud
computing – Wikipedia,” n.d.). The use of “the cloud” can
be measured and users can be charged per-use.
The support of groups like
Amazon, Google or Microsoft has made cloud computing to be adopted in different
environments. Tools that provide cloud services such as Dropbox, or Google mail
are used daily by millions. Many companies currently use cloud-based
applications such as Salesforce and small and big businesses are embracing
virtual infrastructures offered, for instance, by Amazon Web Services (AWS) or
Microsoft Azure (Marston, Li, Bandyopadhyay, Zhang, Ghalsasi, 2011).
In technology-Enhanced Learning
(TEL) domain, the use of cloud-based technologies has also been identified as a
key trend (Johnson, Adams, & Cummins, 2012) that enables access to online
services anywhere and promises scalability, enhanced availability and cost
savings (McDonald, Breslin, & macDonald, 2010).
In education, cloud computing
caters for desirable properties to provide e-learning services, especially in
scenarios where these services are computer-intensive (virtual worlds,
simulations, video streaming, etc.), or are offered in a high-scale way, as in
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The cloud can provide students and
teachers with tools to deploy computing resources on-demand for lectures and
labs according to their learning needs. For instance, teachers can create
virtual computers (commonly named Virtual Machines or VMs) on demand with pre-installed
software to deploy computing laboratories rapidly (Chine, 2010). Some
educational institutions are already using cloud computing to outsource email
services, to offer collaboration tools and data storage for students and to
host institutional Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) (Sclater, 2010a).