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Software and services that can be delivered from the cloud

Figure 3 illustrates the comprehensive nature of integrated software services needed for 21st century learning experiences and that can be delivered from the cloud.

Figure 3: Framework for software services in a technology-empowered learning environment

At the top are the users of the services – students, educators, administrators, and parents – with a variety of Internet access devices. With these devices, users can find a large and diverse set of digital educational resources from both proprietary and open providers.

Education resources and applications could be used directly in a variety of educator- or learner-directed ways. They could also be used as ingredients for derivative products that are authored, built, edited, disseminated, and managed as student projects or educator-author curriculum modules through services indicated in the adjacent cluster. In this model, students and educators are both consumers and producers of educational content, with the role of student and educator sometimes interchanged. The framework of services also includes the administrative services for operating the school and school systems. Below the three types of services are cross-cutting integrated capabilities to support data-driven assessment of individual students, individual educators, and the resources (content) and processes serving teaching and learning. We include here assessments for formative and summative uses at time scales from real-time to decades. We also include rating, ranking, and recommender services for educational resources.

The resources, authoring, and administrative services all can be used by individuals for solo work and also by teams of people working in various configurations of same and different place and time, perhaps internationally, through social networking and collaboration services. All of the above rest critically on networking and middleware, with public and private cloud computing as the underlying platform for computation, data, and digital object management.

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