Unit 4: Week 2: Cloud-Computing Concepts

Unit 4: Week 2: Cloud-Computing Concepts

Essential Questions

  • Just what is this “cloud” everyone is talking about and why should I know about it?
  • What are the best cloud-based uses or applications for me? For the people I support? What should I know about different cloud-based options to provide the best advice to others?

Big Ideas

What do you think of when you hear the term, “cloud computing?” While it may bring up images of data bouncing freely back and forth up in the air somewhere, ultimately all of the data that is sent to a “cloud” has to physically be stored somewhere. Storage requires servers, and companies that provide access to cloud storage have to set up servers to manage that data–lots and lots of servers, often thousands upon thousands of servers.

The good news for end users, like you or your school system, is that you don’t have to go through the expense and effort of setting up the infrastructure you need that is supported by cloud computing. Often, individuals or organizations just pay for the services they need, like for storing documents or data, but there are other uses for cloud computing.

Many school systems have come to rely on cloud computing, especially for services like a learning management system and then creating and sharing documents on cloud-based services like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. There are pros and cons to different cloud-based services, and you should be able to determine which ones are right for you and the people you work with and how to use them safely so your data, and the data for your organization, is kept secure.

Connection to Student Lives

You’ve probably been using cloud computing for a while whether you realize it or not. If you store your photos or music from your phone in an online service like Apple’s iCloud or Google Photos, you’re using the cloud. If you stream music or games from Netflix or other streaming services, you’re using the cloud. And if you use services like Google Drive or Microsoft’s OneDrive at school or at home, you’re using the cloud.

Framing Problem

What’s the right cloud computing solution for me? For my school system?

Cornerstone Assessment

Research and review different cloud computing options for either (or both) personal and school system use. Prepare a presentation or report to share with other members of the Help Desk as well as your school system’s IT Department on cloud-computing options. Information can be placed in the Help Desk Knowledge Base.

DPI Standards

  • NCCTE.2020.II21.02.02 - Compare common networking hardware devices.
  • NCCTE.2020.II21.04.01 - Compare cloud computing concepts.

A+ Standards

TOPIC 11B: Cloud-Computing Concepts

1001-2.2 Compare and contrast common networking hardware devices.
1001-4.1 Compare and contrast cloud computing concepts.


  • What referring to “the cloud” means, such as the NIST definition of cloud computing and its five characteristics
  • Benefits of cloud computing
  • Data risks of cloud computing
  • Common cloud models
  • Something as a Service options
  • How a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) operates and the benefits and disadvantages of a VDI
  • Types of cloud-based applications


  • Identify common types of cloud-computing services they or their school district might use


The “cloud” or cloud computing

Benefits of cloud computing

  • Rapid elasticity
    • On-demand
    • Pay-per-use
  • Measured service
  • Resource pooling

Common cloud models

  • Public or multi-tenant
  • Hosted private
  • Private
  • Community
  • Hybrid

Cloud Service Options or Something as a Service (*aaS)

  • Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)
  • Software as a Service (Saas)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

  • Thin client
  • Virtual Desktop Environment (VDE)
  • Virtual NIC

Cloud-based Applications or Application Virtualization

  • Virtual application streaming

Container Virtualization

Cloud-based network controller

  • Software Defined Networking (SDN)

Weekly Map


Introduction to problem

Online Pre-assessment  (available for student practice, as well)

Team meetings to develop project plan and goals


Review content resources with whole group

Small group and independent exploration of resources

Contribute to team project


Hands-on exploration

Team progress check with supervisor (using project plan)


Hands-on exploration

Small group and independent exploration of resources

Contribute to team project


Team progress check with supervisor or sharing of progress with whole group

Online post-assessment

Monitor progress and adjust project plan as necessary

Lesson Ideas

It’s probably not feasible for students to try to replicate or create a cloud-based system, so this module focuses more on learning about cloud computing and determining the difference between different cloud-based solutions. Students can explore this both through their personal use of cloud-computing assets, like apps on their phone, or school-provided devices. District IT staff may be able to share decisions around the types of cloud-based solutions they provide to staff and students.

Potential Resources

The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 & Core 2 Instructor Guide for Exams 220-1001 and 220-1002

  • Topic 11B: Cloud Computing Concepts (713-720)
    • Activity 11-1: Discussing Cloud Computing Concepts (712)

CompTIA also offers videos for purchase through their website or on ITPro.TV.

Professor Messer at and YouTube offers numerous free videos of various lengths for many of the topics for the CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Exam. They are easy to understand, narrated videos with visuals. If you are teaching a CompTIA course, the site notes “You’re welcome to use them as much as you’d like, provided you embed the videos with the associated YouTube link or link directly to my site. Please click the “Contact Us” link at the top of our web page and let me know how you’re using them.”

Entry Level I.T. Training from Technology Gee

Tutorials from Cisco:

ITProTV (may include promotions for ITProTV courses)

Articles and Other Resources

Benefits of cloud computing: The pros and cons by Chris Preimesberger for ZDNet (September 20, 2021)

Cloud Computing in Education and the Impact on K-12 Classrooms by Doug Bonderud for EdTechMagazine

Head in the Clouds: Why Public Schools are Embracing Cloud Computing. Article by Grace Chen with some embedded videos from International perspectives for Public School Review.

Understanding the Cloud: Education Experts Discuss the Pros and Cons of Cloud Solutions and Classroom Management Software by Wayne D’Orio for Education IT Reporter

VDI: Server-side vs. Client-side Virtualization a short video (3:13) about the pros and cons of server-side versus client-side virtualization by CTO and founder of MokaFive, John Whaley. (Note: Includes a callout to visit MokaFive’s website.)

What is Cloud Computing? Everything you need to know about the cloud explained by Steve Ragner for ZDNet (December 13, 2018)

Why Schools are Using Cloud Computing Tools in the Classroom from Fresno Pacific University