Monday, December 22nd, 2008 | Computer Usage, ICT in Africa
Is cloud computing viable for schools in Africa?
A previous posting explained the concept of cloud computing. The term refers to the ability to use a very simple computing device – it could be a computer at an internet café, a low specification PC, a cell phone, or similar instrument – to draw required application programmes from the internet, and then store all data back on the internet.
In cloud computing everything, except for the device in your hands, lives in the clouds.
Could this be a solution for schools in Africa? Simple devices; no complicated networks required; use of free programmes (even educational software); and free data storage – a real bargain for cash-strapped Africa! In addition, you can compute whatever you like, whenever you like and wherever you are. This sounds like heaven beyond the clouds.
- Internet connectivity is still not available in large parts of the continent.
- Even cheap computing devices would be outside of the grasp of many.
- Cloud computing is a step up from conventional computing in the paradigm hierarchy – most people on the continent can not even perform the most basic functions. It will require considerable training efforts to get them to the point where they can come to grips with the concept of cloud computing.
These comments should not be seen as being negative – they are intended as a reality check for those who may be misguided into thinking that the lack of resources is the foremost technology problem on the continent. Education and training are the greatest challenges.
By all means, reach for the clouds, but keep your feet firmly on the ground.
For updated information on cloud computing, click here.