K-12 Edtech Cloud Service Inventory


Meister, I. & Solow-Niederman, A. (2014). K-12 Edtech Cloud Service Inventory. Research Publication No. 2014-2. Cambridge: Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Retrieved June 20, 2014 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2378570

Work data:

Type of work: Working Paper


Education | Policy & Regulation | Social Media & Social Software


cloud computing, privacy


A wide range of cloud technologies are now available to K-12 educators, ranging from replacements for school- and district-maintained servers (infrastructure as a service, in which servers traditionally maintained by a school or district are “outsourced” to a cloud vendor), to a variety of software tools that users access from web browsers or mobile applications, which are in turn supported and powered by third-party companies. In such a crowded landscape, it can be challenging to understand the different kinds of available services.

This inventory aims to provide a more concrete survey of the kinds of cloud computing technologies adopted in the K-12 context. It groups services according to the rough functionality they afford, from those common to any organization (collaboration and identity management), through the administrative office (student information systems), to the classroom (learning management and classroom management), and outside it (parent-teacher communication). The examples provided are meant to illustrate the kinds of cloud technology being developed in each class, and are not exhaustive. In addition, it is important to recognize that the growing ubiquity of Internet access generally and of mobile devices specifically among students, parents, and teachers makes it increasingly easy and desirable for cloud application developers to create services that transcend these boundaries. In each case, we document: The level of adoption: who can sign up for the service? The audience: who will be expected to use it? The pricing model: is there a fee associated with the service, and under what conditions? The extensibility: how, and under what circumstances, can this service be connected to or included in other services? Mobile integration: does the service require or suggest the use of a mobile app? is the service’s web interface designed for use with mobile browsers?