As education becomes ever more digital, being able to virtually store, organize and share stuff is critical for everyone involved in it: educators with their teaching material, students with their work, and administrators with their files.
Microsoft OneDrive is one solution that’s increasingly popular.
We’ve taken a look at how it can help in the modern school, and answered some of the typical questions you might have.
What is OneDrive?
Described simply, OneDrive is a huge password protected hard drive in the cloud that a school can own.
They can use it to store thousands and thousands of files, and then give secure and easy access to everyone involved in the educational loop: teachers, administrators, students, and even parents.
What are the key benefits for my school?
All these users can access files whenever and wherever they’re online, whether that’s in the school itself, at home, or elsewhere.
This means students, for example, can access the material they need to get their assignments done, and submitted on time, at a time and place that suits their learning style. This complements methods such as the flipped classroom.
It also means a teacher can gather, manage and share everything they need in one place – from video to presentations and other classwork – making it quick and easy to direct their students to the right learning materials.
Do I need a particular device to access it?
No. OneDrive works across most common platforms. No-one will need a specific or unusual device to access it, whether that’s a PC, tablet or smartphone.
Any additional bonuses?
OneDrive can include free access to web-based versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft OneNote, and Excel Survey.
So students won’t need their own versions of these software programs to create classwork in them.
Will my school and students still own their files?
Teachers spend time crafting their own teaching material, and similarly students invest time and effort into their personal coursework. So, yes, ‘intellectual property’ matters, just as much as it would in a commercial context.
The good news is that, in OneDrive, “you own your data and retain all rights, title, and interest.” Microsoft does not assert any legal ownership over your intellectual property stored in your OneDrive.
Is it reliable?
OneDrive is licensed, reliable, and fully supported by Microsoft engineers and account representatives. Your school will receive a service level agreement, so you can call on these engineers and agents if you have any questions or problems.
Also, it’s worth noting that Microsoft’s financially-backed customer service level agreement sets 99.9% as the uptime threshold. In other words, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll encounter any difficulties with availability and downtime.
Is this the same as SkyDrive?
Almost. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft announced that SkyDrive would be rebranded as OneDrive. So it’s the same product, just a different name.
Is it competitively-priced?
Yes. This June, Microsoft announced it was dramatically increasing capacity and lowering prices for OneDrive, making it an attractive deal for schools with a budget to spend wisely.