Could the cloud be a silver lining for school leadership?by Lisa Dubernard No Comments June 1, 2011
Is your head in the clouds? It should be.
If you are a school administrator or a board member, you may have never heard or thought about “cloud” technology. I mentioned the word the other day in an e-mail and was surprised to hear back that it meant nothing to the recipients. I would respond that it’s just a fancy way to say “via the web.” But cloud technology can mean much more than that and I’d like to share some ideas with you about cloud technology and how it can help us as education leaders be more efficient in how we do our work. In this article, I’m only going to address administrative tasks and not teaching and learning tasks. That’s another blog to write, I think!
In a nutshell, to me cloud technology means:
- 1) No software. You (or your IT staff) don’t have to install software on ANY computer, the users’ computers or any local server. Installing and updating software is time consuming and expensive. Cloud-based software is on “someone else’s” server and you don’t have to worry about maintaining it! The software runs through your computer’s browser (like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome..) Many of these tools also work through apps on tablets like the iPad.
- 2) No local file storage. You (or your IT staff) don’t have to worry about buying file server space, upgrading new hard drives, backing up data, or even giving access to your servers who are behind the “firewall.” The cloud-based software typically also manages the file storage. So you should be able to access what you need from basically any computer wherever you are at an time. That access can be KEY!
- 3) Easier collaboration. Typically cloud-based software is multi-user and allows certain folks to collaborate to develop things, keep it updated and give others access to it. What kind of “things?” Could be basic documents like word processing files or spreadsheets to more elaborate things like updating and monitoring a strategic plan or the development of meetings agendas and policy manuals.
What are some examples of cloud-based software used by school leadership?
One is Google Docs. (It’s free.)
From the Google Website:
Google Docs is an easy-to-use online word processor, spreadsheet and presentation editor that enables you and your students to create, store and share instantly and securely, and collaborate online in real time. You can create new documents from scratch or upload existing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. There’s no software to download, and all your work is stored safely online and can be accessed from any computer.
Drop Box is another “up and coming” tool. (free but some paid options)
From WikiPedia (cloud): Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc. which uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders with others across the Internet using file synchronization. See video explanation of DropBox here on YouTube (also cloud).
Another cloud-based tool is eBOARD (sponsor of this blog). This cloud-based software works as a subscription.
It has several “modules’ like for strategic planning, meeting agenda management, and leadership evaluations, but the neat thing is that these plans, agendas, policies and evaluations are “inter-connected.” So you can easily see on an evaluation how you performed on your plan, or which goal of your organization is being address for a specific topic for a meeting agenda.
This type of collaboration and alignment is next to impossible without the use of this type of technology.
Who cares? YOU should. Given the financial constraints and inefficient infrastructure we are working i, we HAVE to find ways to do more with less and to collaborate more.
Our traditional ways of doing our work MUST change even if that means moving out of our comfort zone.
References and other recommended articles related to this blog:
What cloud-based tools have YOU found useful for YOUR organization? What have you found as advantages (or disadvantages) compared to traditional software and local data? Please share.
Categories: Communications, Cost Savings, Documents, eBOARD, Evaluations, Leadership, Meetings, Meetings Management, Paperless, Planning, Policy, Strategic Plan, TransparencyTags: accountability, administration, agenda, alignment, apps, cloud, computing, education, Edweek, efficiency, governance, green, improvement, ipad, ISTE, leadership, meetings, paperless, paperless meetings, planning, public relations, SaaS, technology