Kids in Clouds – introducing children with cloud-computing!

Cloud-based services are growing rapidly in the global and European economy and with the rise of 5G technology, not only storage but also all data processing and applicative services will move to the cloud environment. This change is anticipated to come in the next 10 years. The move towards a cloud-based environment will tremendously impact our work environments more and more, as well as in general the way we use ICT solutions daily. This is the reason why DIHUB project partners are trying to help SMEs with their particular business problems linking them with young innovators – students. Since cloud-based solutions will be implemented more and more in the upcoming years, the assumption that skills for using cloud-based services should be developed and improved as early as the first grade of primary school is reasonable.

Encouraged by the described circumstances, the Algebra team from Croatia designed a project, which aims to introduce children to cloud computing. Project named Kids in Clouds strives to introduce a cloud-based environment to children at the beginning of their school learning path. At that point, children do not differentiate on-premise from cloud-based content and services – for them, these are simply the tools to get things done. The idea is that the sooner children encounter cloud-based services, the easier it is for them to learn how to interact with them.

Croatian Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes recognized the value of the described idea and financially supported Algebra’s project application and gathered partnership. Algebra’s partners in this project are interdisciplinary teams of College Jules Reydellet (Saint-Denise, France), SU “St. Cyril and Methodius” (Smolyan, Bulgaria), Elementary School Horvat (Zagreb, Croatia) and Elementary School Ludina (Velika Ludina, Croatia).

During the Erasmus+ Kids in Clouds project, research on the usage of cloud-based services in schools today was conducted. Based on the research results, project partners will create an online repository of educational materials for teachers to empower teachers for using cloud-based tools in teaching. These are the first phases of the project because it is very important to empower teachers, especially non-ICT teachers, for using cloud services for them to be able to introduce their students to cloud computing. Together with educational materials for teachers, a newly developed online repository of educational materials for children using particular cloud services will be included in the pilot process. Materials that will be developed in one country will be piloted in another, to ensure transnational applicability of educational materials. Finally, project partners will create guidelines and recommendations on how to implement cloud-computing content as a horizontal element in curricula.

Kids in Clouds project was launched in November 2020. Afterward, partners conducted online research for teachers on using digital technology and cloud-based tools in schools. This was the way to investigate the gap between the current usage of cloud-based services in schools and the possibilities of technology in general. The online questionnaire was filled in by 373 teachers from 5 European countries. It was concluded that more than 60 % of the teachers who participated in the questionnaire use digital technology in teaching very often, but many of them struggle with preparing lessons during which they will be using digital technology. More than half of the respondents pointed out that they are very inclined to explore digital tools that they could use in teaching and almost 42 % of the teachers who participated in the research find educational courses about using digital technology in teaching very useful. These were very important insights for project partners who are now dedicated to creating educational materials for teachers.

In conclusion, project partners will create sustainable educational materials to help teachers and students easily adopt cloud computing. The benefits of this approach will reflect not only in the educational system but also in business, entrepreneurship, and the environment.

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