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14. The Cloud

One element in the transforming landscape of education and work that will continue to grow in overlapping importance is “the cloud,” which is becoming the main metaphor, literally and figuratively, for the future–the collective ability to access data and to gain useful information from it.

The biggest change for both workers and companies, says Giga Om’s Mathew Ingram is a move toward what we call “the human cloud.”

The human cloud is shorthand for how the web has disrupted the way we work…Meanwhile, many people who work in this new cloud have lives that look nothing like they would have even 10 years ago: they may have contracts with a variety of clients, outsource themselves and their skills through a third-party service…or collaborate with coworkers in opposing time zones. The companies they work for, and with, may not even know what they look like, or where they live. This is the reality of the human cloud and it is changing us (and the companies we work for) in ways we may not fully realize yet.

In the 2010 Horizon Report by the visionary New Media Consortium (NMC) several tech trends, including cloud-based technologies, were identified as key drivers in education moving forward:

  1. The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
  2. People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.
  3. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.
  4. The work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature, and there is more cross-campus collaboration between departments.
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