Cloud Initiation


Introduction to the Cloud

Cloud computing is a term that refers to an online resource for posting, sharing, or storing your digital content. There are many different types of cloud services.

An advantage of these cloud resources is that you can access and share your files and bookmarks without having to use a flash drive, CD, or your own computing hard drive.

Cloud Computing


To use cloud computing you must have an Internet connection, computing device (cell phone, tablet, computer, etc.), and create an account on the service site. The benefits of cloud computing include anytime and anywhere access, less storage or demands on individual machines, and the potential transfer of technical support and maintenance to a third party. The computing resources are often owned by a third-party company (e.g. Diigo, Dropbox, Google, Microsoft OneDrive, Symbaloo). Some cloud resources may require a download.  

Some of the benefits of having access to a cloud resource on the Internet include:

  • Storing your important files, pictures, and documents online where you can access them from different locations and computing devices.

  • Sharing your files with others by providing permissions for access.      

  • Cost efficient way to store a lot of information.

  • A way to backup your important documents.

  • Saving and organizing your favorite bookmarked sites

Throughout the 21Things4Teachers site, you are going to learn about and use many different cloud resources.

What is the Cloud? Cloud Button (1)

Please watch this video (3:28 minute Computer Basics: What is the Cloud? on YouTube). We hope you will be fascinated by this historical view following computing through history to cloud computing. 

This next video is Stephen Fry's animated explanation of cloud computing (5:38 minute video commissioned by Databarracks Bank). Throughout the 21 Things, you will be learning how to use many resources in the cloud.

Online Bookmarking of Favorite Bookmarks

Online bookmarking uses the cloud to save bookmarks. One of the easiest ways for teachers to improve productivity is to organize their web bookmarks, and to have them available on any computer at home, work, and around the globe. To do this we recommend Diigo or Symbaloo

 Resource Name

 Age Level





Diigo is a cloud resource that allows users to save favorite web sites to an online account. With this free application you can bookmark any web-based resource and retrieve your bookmark list from anywhere you have Internet access. You can tag (categorize) and manage and share your bookmarks with others. Watch the video for an overview of Diigo. Here is a handout with instructions you can download on how to create teacher and student accounts.





Diigolet is a super bookmarklet that allows you to highlight and add sticky-notes, in addition to simple bookmarking.
You can get started by watching the tutorial video on the site.





Do you want to save your bookmarks in a visually appealing way? Symbaloo is a personal start page that allows you to easily navigate the web and compile your favorite sites all into one visual interface. To learn how to create your own webmix watch the video and/or use this screenshot tutorial.




Cloud Resources for Sharing and Storing Digital Content

The following resources require you to create an account (free) to upload, share, and store your digital content. We are showcasing four of the most commonly used ones in education.

Resource Name









  2 GB free

Dropbox is a free service in the cloud that allows you to upload your documents, photos, or videos and access them from anywhere you have an Internet connection. Teachers are using this as a location for students to turn in assignments, collaborate on documents, and get assignments online.

These tutorials are a good way to get started.




 15 GB* for drive, gmail, google+photos * 30 GB for Google Apps at work or school

With a Google Account you can upload your files (docs, video, audio, pdf) to Google Drive for storage and access. Google Drive only includes the storage space for items that you've synched or uploaded in the storage count.

Google Drive Help Center
Google Drive Apps Learning Center
Google Drive Tutorial (2018) 

One Drive for consumers



  15 GB

Microsoft has a free consumer service where anybody can sign up to get free 15GB for saving files, pictures and other documents. Teachers and students can sync files on to the desktop, share files and collaborate seamlessly.

Tutorials for consumer OneDrive


OneDrive for Education




Microsoft has a secure, compliant service called OneDrive for Business (what is it?) , where teachers and students get Unlimited Storage. Schools would need to sign up for Free Office 365 for Education to avail unlimited Storage. Teachers and students can sync files on to the desktop, share files and collaborate seamlessly.

OneDrive collaboration training courses and tutorials for business and education.

Check out additional resources for Cloud Initiation

Learning Objectives

After completing this Thing, the educator will:

  • Know how to create, organize, use and share online bookmarks

  • Know how to upload, store and retrieve documents in the cloud

  • Understand cloud computing

  • Make connections with technology standards and best practice

  • Transfer the learning to professional practice to begin storing and sharing resources in the cloud



21 Things Assignment:

1. Create your own Diigo or Symbaloo page and add at least 5 bookmarks that will support your teaching. Copy and paste the URL for your Diigo or Symbaloo page to your Digital Portfolio. As you learn about new resources from this point forward make sure to bookmark them in the bookmarking tool of your choice.

2. Create a Free account at, Google Drive, or Microsoft365. Create at least three folders in your cloud space for content you may want to upload. Upload at least one document into a folder. Take a screenshop of your folders and the document inside one of them. Post the screenshot to your Digital Portfolio with a brief description. Optional: download the Dropbox application to your computer, tablet, or mobile device.

3. Consider what these new practices might look like in your environment. Create a thoughtful response conveying your reflection of learning for this thing and how it has changed your own practice. Post this reflection to your Digital Portfolio.

4. Take the very short survey giving feedback on this Thing. 


Addressing the ISTE Standards For Educators

1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness. 
1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, 
evaluation, curation and adoption of 
new digital resources and tools for learning.

4c. Use collaborative tools to expand students' authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.

6b. Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.


1. Cooperative Learning;
2. Cues/Questions/Advance Organizers;
3. Summarizing & Notetaking;
4. Assigning Homework & Practice

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