A. J. Johnson, a 12-year-old baseball slugger from La Jolla, California, takes cloud computing for granted. He logs on to the Internet each evening to do much of his homework, accesses and completes his assignments from the Google website, gets feedback from his teacher on earlier work, and sees what lies ahead. He can do his lessons from wherever he has access to the Internet—Mom's house, Dad's house, or even Grandmother's house. He can do it from anywhere, and the dog can't eat it.
Yet there is the possibility that the cloud may eat it, or at least make it inaccessible for a certain length of time. A boy can always hope. A. J. and his fellow students aren't the only ones working "in the cloud" these days.
The Lila G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Boston takes cloud homework a step further. The school has no textbooks. Students pick up laptops at the start of the school day and hand them back at the end. Both teachers and students maintain blogs, staff and parents chat online about the children's work, and assignments are turned in using an electronic "drop box" on the school's website.
What is cloud computing? "If you can walk into any library or Internet café and sit down at any computer, not caring what operating system or browser you're using and access a service, that service is cloud based," explained author George Reese.
Google has hailed cloud computing as the future of the Internet and an area in which it will excel. Michael Lorenc, a Google ...