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Cloud Computing as a Catalyst for Change in STEM Education

Cloud Computing as a Catalyst for Change in STEM Education
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Author(s): John P. Sahlin (Coleman University, USA) and Kim Lobera (Coleman University, USA)
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 19
Source title: Handbook of Research on Cloud-Based STEM Education for Improved Learning Outcomes
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Lee Chao (University of Houston - Victoria, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9924-3.ch002

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Abstract

Cloud computing drives value to profit-centric businesses by establishing a utility computing model, allowing companies to focus on their core business function rather than concern themselves with the “plumbing” associated with technology infrastructure. How then, can this profit-centric model be applied to improve the delivery of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education? Studies indicate that students perform far better in the workplace if their education in technical fields is relevant, current, and based on real-world scenarios (Pryor, 2014). If businesses are operating in the cloud, STEM education must follow suit. While cloud computing is traditionally associated with profit-centric organizations, this model has demonstrated benefits to non-profit and government organizations as well in terms of reduction of enterprise costs and time to delivery of new products and services. Even when a profit motive is non-existent (or at least not central to the mission of the organization), cloud computing can be a catalyst to transformative improvements in the academic community. As organizations adopt cloud computing, they must face changes in core business practices in order to take advantage of the on-demand service, rapid elasticity, and broad network access associated with cloud computing (Mell & Grance, 2011). Businesses must transform their business architecture in order to adopt this new technology architecture effectively. In the same vein, educators must consider how their business processes (i.e., pedagogy) must change in order to adopt this technology. This chapter considers cloud computing as a technology enabler for STEM education, and how it requires dramatic changes in pedagogy in order to ensure that STEM education is relevant, useful, and effective in the digital world.

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