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03.04.2018

The HPI-Schul-Cloud

Low-threshold access to digital educational content

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and in close collaboration with the nationwide excellence network MINT-EC, the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering is developing a “School Cloud”. It is designed to provide a technical basis for enabling students and teachers to use modern, digital teaching and learning materials in every  class, just as apps can be used on smartphones and tablets.

The Aim

We want to create a modern learning and teaching infrastructure that helps  to optimally prepare children for their life in an increasingly digitized world.

The Challange

The use of digital media and teaching methods pose financial and administrative challenges to many schools. While digital devices are already ubiquitous in everyday life, the situation in schools  is  different―  where often  outdated hard- and software can be found in computer labs. In addition, these rooms are usually not accessible to  everyone at all times. Beyond subjects such as mathematics, computer science and natural sciences, or for the preparation and follow-up of lessons, students rarely make full use of the digital offers at their school. Moreover, there is a lack of staff to maintain the administration of the IT offers. In practice, dedicated teachers try to keep the hard- and software running as best as they can - at the expense of their teaching responsibilities and the technological  quality.

The Idea

The Hasso Plattner Institute launched the Schul-Cloud-Project in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and  MINT-EC, the nationwide network of schools recognized as fostering excellence in the  disciplines of mathematics and science. The cloud infrastructure designed by the Hasso Plattner Institute will  help students, teachers and parents gain easy access to learning and teaching material, which is available to everyone, everywhere, at any time. Since digital media and technologies provide valuable tools for all subjects, they must  be made available to  all students. The setup of a school cloud provides a sustainable solution in giving students the possibility to use the newest and most professionally maintained programs comprehensively.

How does the Schul-Cloud work?

The basic idea of the Schul-Cloud is to free  educational content from  closed systems, textbooks and individual computers. Instead, the educational content is made available web-based via distributed servers in data centers. Thus, the access from every location and the reasonable use in the classroom are facilitated immensely by the School Cloud.

Experts take care of the updates for soft- and hardware, which are obtained from the cloud, and of the secured configuration. All programs and user accounts are located in a computer center and can be provided via the internet on request. For schools this means there is no need to buy PC’s and install, configure and administer networks anymore. Students and teachers merely  need  internet access, web-enabled display and input devices as well as appropriate authorization, to gain access to the digital teaching and learning offers.

Providing a school cloud is a central infrastructure project in the field of general education and a significant and necessary step  in promoting and enabling the use of digital media and offers in daily  school life nationwide.

Advantages of the Schul-Cloud

  • access to teaching and learning materials anywhere and at any time
  • no (more) need for expensive computer labs
  • no expensive soft- and hardware maintenance by teachers
  • allows students and teachers access to state-of-the-art-technology
  • high level of digital media security   due to maintenance by experts
  • revival of the market for high quality digital teaching and learning offers
  • allows direct user evaluation of digital teaching and learning offers
  • encourages autonomous learning
  • enable all participants (also students) to provide learning material
  • gives schools the opportunity to  enhance the quality of lessons  and simultaneously reduce their costs
  • makes the annoying lugging of heavy books history!