Alibaba Helps Rural Students in China via Cloud Computers

Alibaba Group donated a batch of cloud computers and cloud computing resources to the China Education Development Foundation. The computers are to be installed in 87 rural primary schools, helping 35,000 rural children to explore advanced technology. This is an innovative move to promote the balanced development of basic education with digital technology.

The cloud computers Alibaba provides can free users from storage limitations by allowing them to run workloads on the cloud without downloading and installing software on local devices.

At the Apsara Conference in November last year, Alibaba proposed making cloud resources available to villages in mountainous areas and remote regions in China. The 87 rural primary schools which lack digital software and hardware resources, are now receiving support from Alibaba and China Education Development Foundation.

On February 28, when staff members from the foundation visited a primary school in Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, the fifth-grade students were taking a computer class, and the teacher was guiding them to read, retrieve and store data online.

“Until now, the computers in this school were getting obsolete, leading to many problems for the teachers. As we started to use the cloud computer system, these problems have been solved. The cloud computer can be updated remotely and always equip the latest configuration. Every teacher and student has personal cloud account, which allows them to use cloud resources anytime and anywhere,” explained one teacher from the school.

The application potential of cloud computers has also been demonstrated in a primary school in Quzhou City, Zhejiang Province, which only has 123 students and 8 teachers. The cloud computer room with 25 cloud computers has been put into use there.

According to the teacher responsible for the music and computer classes, about half of the students are stay-at-hometown children, who don’t know much about information technology and are not interested in it. She downloaded a music arrangement software and distributed it to students through the cloud system which then sparked interest from the students.

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The school integrates digital technology into labor skill classes and leads students to conduct a mini digital agriculture experiment. The hardware in vegetable fields can monitor soil moisture in real time, and automatically remind students when to water. Moreover, the school began to explore how to make good use of cloud computing in art and other courses.

“The future belongs to children, and the future is digital. Children need to understand digitalization from a very early stage,” said Wang Jianguang, secretary-general of China Education Development Foundation.