Leveraging Cloud to Transform Education in Remote Areas of the World
Parents want a quality education for their children, regardless of location. But when you’re raising a child in remote areas like the jungle, desert or mountains, it’s not so easy. Due to the extreme distance between a village and the nearest city, for example, a community faces a variety of challenges, including a lack of trained local teachers, up-to-date instructional materials, and money to support a school and staff.
Fortunately, the 21st century can have a profound effect on a child’s education, regardless of where they live. Instead of bringing the children to the centers of learning, cloud computing can be used to bring centers of learning to the children. After all, the cloud offers many benefits for remote learning for students, teachers and parents. Consider accessibility: students can access information, classes and experienced teachers remotely from almost any device, including phones and tablets. They also can send information such as assignments and get feedback quickly.
The cloud allows for online collaboration between students and teachers to facilitate sharing and the transmission of ideas. It can also be used to store learning materials, including documents, videos, photos and music. This eliminates the need for parents and community to purchase multiple physical copies of materials, protecting those materials from being lost or damaged by the elements, and providing easy access to a centralized, rich, varied and up-to-date collection of learning materials when needed.
Instead of bringing the children to the centers of learning, cloud computing can be used to bring centers of learning to the children.
Naturally, this method of education comes with a fair number of challenges. Getting the technology to the students and covering the costs of the installation and distribution of devices are the most critical barriers to solve. Fortunately, many governments and companies around the world are taking on both challenges, funding cloud-computing programs in even the most remote areas.
And that leaves getting the technology to the students. This is not always an easy task as members of VMware and Teradici discovered. The government of Malaysia brought the companies in to deliver desktop virtualization technology to one of the most remote villages in the country’s Sabah area.
Loaded with 25 Samsung NC241 PCoIP zero clients, an HP DL360 server, networking gear and racks, and other essentials for the task, a team from the two companies journeyed five hours on a paved road, three more hours on a dirt and mud road, and finished their adventurous trek with an hour-long boat trip up a crocodile-infested river before finally reaching the village.
With the help of solar and diesel power and a VSAT satellite Internet link, the team was able to quickly bring the technology online. A short time later, students who had never seen a computer before were clicking their way to class, benefiting from what cloud computing can now offer children — no matter where they live.