Cloud learning - learning across devices

People are increasingly starting to work on different devices rather than expecting from one electronic device that it can do everything. My preferred device at school, for example is a chromebook, which is more than sufficient for the vast majority of tasks I need to do at school. Depending on the task I can pick up work on a tablet or my PC at home.


Likewise (digital) learning is starting to shift from being centered on one device (traditionally a PC or laptop computer) to many devices like tablet, smartphones and even TVs. Google really makes it easy, both with it’s hardware tools as well as software tools to achieve a seamless learning experience using the cloud. Here are some examples.

Watching videos on the large screen
You come across an interesting TED video reading an article on your smartphone or tablet. Rather than watching a rather lengthy video on a smartphone you simply add the video to your YouTube “watch later” playlist by clicking on the “watch later” (clock symbol) button. Later you pick up your smartphone in your living room and simply chromacast the video to your TV (this is also possible without chromecast if you have a smart TV with a YouTube app or any set-top box supporting YouTube).

Learning vocabulary on the small screen
Smartphones provide a screen that is big enough to study vocabulary (whereas a 20’’ PC screen would be definitely overkill here). However, typing the vocab into a smartphone is quite cumbersome. Solution: type of copy the vocab into a Google spreadsheet on a Chromebook and import them into an appropriate app (e.g. gFlash+) on your phone and you are good to go.

Reading a book across different devices
Google Play Books lets you upload epub and pdf files and sync them across devices. ( offers tons of free epub files) 
What are the advantages of doing so?
  • read the book on a tablet in your living room
  • use a laptop if you want to annotate the book (annotations are synced as well)
  • read the book for a couple of minutes waiting at the bus stop - pick up reading where you left off later on your tablet once again in the living room

Giving a presentation
Create a presentation as usually on a PC or Chromebook. While commuting on a train you can revise your presentation on your smartphone or tablet. Use your smartphone or tablet during the presentation with your speaker notes.

Listen to podcasts on your smartphone
There are are plenty of good podcasts on the web, which often are underused as people don’t want to listen to podcasts when sitting in front of their laptops. The simple solution, when you come across an mp3 file on the web you would like to listen to I save it to my Google Drive (via Save to Drive extension)  and listen to it when commuting or exercising. I do pretty much the same thing when I find an interesting (pdf) file on the web which I want to read on my tablet.

Swapping devices when working with websites and web services

You are reading a page on the on your tablet which you would like to work on (prepare a handout, reply on a social media website, etc.) on your laptop. There are various ways of achieving that.If you work on two Chrome browsers and you are logged in, there is nothing you have to do - your tabs sync automatically. Just open “recently opened tabs” and you can choose from your other devices. In case you also want to be reminded you could do one of the following with the URL:

  • send yourself an email reminder
  • add the link to your task manager
  • add the link to your notetaking app (e.g. Evernote or Google Keep)

These are just some ideas to get you started in cloud learning. Other ideas might include creative work, such as capturing photos or videos and editing them in the cloud (Google+ and YouTube, respectively). With the cloud the sky is the limit :)  

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