Businesses have been reaping the benefits of cloud environments for years now, but other organizations have been slower to follow along. Now, the education sector is also beginning to experience advantages by virtualizing, storing and analyzing their data in the cloud. However, the benefits of cloud adoption by schools are greater than simply being able to automate daily operations.

Students are able to get more individual attentions through use of the cloud, as teachers can track individual progress. This enables teachers to get a more comprehensive view of the classroom's strengths and weaknesses and allow them to identify potential issues before they arise. Sharing and collaboration are also enhanced through use of the cloud, as students can work on a document together from multiple locations or share notes for an upcoming test through a convenient Web portal. Cloud platforms offer students the ability to interact more with their lessons. Presentations and assignments can be shared with the class through the cloud environment and include videos, links to related site and webinars.

Cloud computing beneficial to student learning
Educational cloud environments have been found to help improve student performance. Google performed a case study of NYC Intermediate School 339, tracking performance before and after a cloud platform was implemented. Prior to the use of cloud computing, 22 percent of the school's students completed grade-level math. After introducing cloud technology, 47 percent were able to complete the course. According to the principal, Jason Levy, behavior was also improved and attendance increased after the school started using the cloud.

As well as enhancing learning and improving students' performance, cloud computing also save teachers time by reducing the number of mundane tasks required on a day to day basis. Activities like photocopying, hole punching and making packets for students are no longer necessary because worksheets and homework can be provided electronically, which also reduces paper waste and saves money on materials.

The cost-effectiveness of the cloud can be especially beneficial for budget conscious schools. According to Public School Review, Oregon has adopted cloud computing within all of its public schools and estimates it will save the state's Department of Education $1.5 million annually. Overhead and maintenance costs can be dramatically reduced by implementing an educational cloud environment. Machines such as printers and copiers are no longer needed, saving money on costly materials like ink. Physical storage space within school buildings can also be re-purposed, creating lucrative real estate space at zero cost.