Creativity and Learning Are Now Unlimited With the Help of DigitalOcean
TSI and DO are making a lasting impact in the education space
The Story So Far
Over the past few months we [Tech in Schools Initiative] have been working with DigitalOcean, the cloud for developers, startups and SMBs, to create a path for students and teachers to get their own piece of a server. Through visiting classrooms, teaching seminars, and providing a STEM curriculum for the Department of Education, we were able to pinpoint some of the most neglected factors in the public education sector, resources. Textbooks are often outdated and tools are non-existent. From the start our motto has been,
“You cannot teach the WiFi generation using dial up tools”
First, we rewrote the STEM curriculum, working closely with the UFT and teachers across New York. Then, we got to building applications from the ground up, enabling classrooms to have industry grade tools and privacy necessary to protect the students. Our app directory, My Apps, now contains over 80 first party apps constantly updated by our team. It is now time to empower students and teachers by providing them with their own slice of the server. With support of DigitalOcean, services typically hidden behind a paywall are now free for students in the TSI program. Each student can now manage their own hosting, build infrastructure, and utilize this limitless development resource. Simply by signing up for EDUCloud, students can start creating.
The Launch of EDUCloud
EDUCloud is powered exclusively by DigitalOcean. DO is making a lasting impact among non-profit organizations worldwide through its Hollie’s Hub for Good program, where they provide infrastructure credits to make DigitalOcean products more accessible to changemakers.
Computing resources and insight provided by the DigitalOcean team allowed our development department to design EDUCloud with security and convenience in mind.
DigitalOcean’s scalability will allow hosting to grow throughout the upcoming pilot program at Paier College and The William Lloyd Garrison. Beyond the initial pilot, DO’s resources will allow the platform to support as many students as possible.
Results of Internal Testing
Since the launch of internal testing in September, our students have already built expansive WordPress websites and published professional apps. Some of the examples can be found below.
Currently, the students are provided with enough computing power and storage to create their own web applications that could rival some of the tech giants such as Spotify and Netflix. For now, their work does not have online visibility and marketing support from companies such as The Marketing Heaven, but who knows what the future brings.
For some of the students this platform became a launching pad for their personal businesses. A few students even went as far as to reach out to local establishments and build websites for them, modernizing the business.
By the end of October, over 40 new users are expected to sign up as the pilot program at Paier College will expand to the entire Web Apps department and their incoming cohort of students
Pilot with M.S. 31 The William Lloyd Garrison
The second stage of the pilot program will begin at the end of November, when our experts are expected to onboard staff and about 100 students at M.S. 31 The William Lloyd Garrison. M.S. 31 is one of the first schools to run the TSI DIY program which includes all the TSI software and lessons as well as professional development for teachers.
The DIY curriculum includes lessons of web design, cybersecurity, AR/VR/MR development and entrepreneurship which will require students to have access to a cloud server. With on demand cloud infrastructure, students at M.S. 31 are able to participate in experiential learning lessons, immersing themselves in the world of cybersecurity and working with industry leading tools for defense against hackers. In addition, hosting tools enable students to learn the essentials of running an online business and server management.
Beyond the Pilot Program
Through the end of the school year by June 2023, one more class of approximately 30 students is expected to join. Beyond June 2023, TSI will be facilitating the annual summer program with approximately 20 participants from schools across NYC. Students will utilize cloud resources to create real world solutions. The program ends with students’ pitch presentations and awards for the program graduates.