Cloud Computing is the latest trend in educational technology. It represents a paradigm switch in the way schools deliver software. It shifts the emphasis form locally managed server-client installations and IT-related services to Web-accessible resources on thousands of servers called “clouds.”
Many of the popular tools are free:
- Zoho writer – can share MS Word files
- Google docs – robust MS office suite alternative
- Adobe Buzzword – similar to the above
- Adobe Photoshop Express – 2GB of photo storage
- 37Signals Whiteboard – can copy/paste from Word docs only
- Jing – screen capture
- VoiceThread – create/share multimedia slideshows
How does this impact legal education?
According to LegalWritingProf Blog on May1, 2009: Amazon offers free cloud computing services to educators
To the extent Westlaw’s TWEN and Lexis’ Blackboard (along with GoogleDocs, among others) are already forms of cloud computing, I’m not sure whether Amazon’s service has any advantages that would cause law profs to forego those in favor of this. For the time being, Amazon is offering up cloud computing access for free and some of you may indeed discover advantageous ways to use it in the legal writing classroom. Unlike Twitter, which IMHO still needs to prove itself, cloud computing is for real (at least until that too proves wrong).
From AdjuntlawProf Blog on May 4, 2009:
….Seems like this service functions exactly like Blackboard and TWEN except that there are no links out perform legal research. For colleges, this service might be worth a try. However, for law schools, I would stick with TWEN or LEXIS Blackboard. Personally, I prefer TWEN.