Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 7- Dropbox

Today's challenge is Dropbox. Dropbox is an organizational tool that allows you to store and access your files on multiple computers and Internet-ready devices. You can also share files with others using Dropbox.



If you want to set up a Dropbox account, use this link: http://db.tt/I3w5MJZo

WARNING: You can only have one Dropbox account per computer profile, but you can always access additional accounts via Dropbox.com, so if you share a computer with someone, make sure that you are using profiles, or only one of you will be able to use the desktop feature.

You can download Dropbox for your computer or as an app for your iDevice or Smartphone.

Here are some links to get you started using Dropbox in the classroom:

How to Set Up an Electronic Dropbox for Your Classroom
Dropbox LiveBinder
The Complete Dropbox for Educators
Top Tips for Dropbox in Education
Using Dropbox and DropItToMe
4 Uses of Dropbox for Teachers and Administrators
Send Email Attachments to Your Dropbox
Send YouTube Videos to Your Dropbox
Request and Collect Files Via Dropbox



Your Assignment: Explore the resources above and share your thoughts about how a tool like Dropbox could be beneficial to you as an educator. How might this be useful in the classroom, as a professional development tool, or as a communication/collaboration tool with other stakeholders? If you already use Dropbox in your professional practice, what tricks and or lessons have you learned that could help others?

45 comments:

  1. I remember when Dropbox first started, it was marketed as a way to back up your files at work. It has since transformed into something much more than simply file backup, which has helped it break into the education community.
    In its simplest form, Dropbox can be used to collect electronic homework. Kids simply drag whatever the assignment was to the box and *boom* you have it. It removes the need to have flash drives for large file uploads and again, the ability to connect anywhere is the kicker.
    You can do something similar with Google Apps. A little more setup is required, but kids (nor you) need to sign up for new accounts or download things to your computer. You can see how to do it here: http://tech.district30.org/?p=1016

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  2. I love Dropbox! A friend had me create an account back in college so we could send files and I've kept my account ever since.
    Now as a professional, I share my files with fellow Chemistry teachers. It is so much easier to share PowerPoints or worksheets on Dropbox than through email. I have yet to use it with my students, but that seems like a good idea too!

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  3. One thing to pay attention to though is that if you are sharing the file and you make a change and save it, it changes that file for everyone. To get around this, save the shared file as something else on your computer in case everyone doesn't like your change.

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  4. As all of our reading teachers take on our new format for small group guided reading instruction, Dropbox could be a powerful tool for storing lesson plans. I would think that teachers who share the same students could see one another's plans. It would also allow teachers from various grade levels to learn from each other, since they don't have regular time in their schedules to collaborate. If I am understanding correctly, the one drawback of Dropbox would be that if a file is changed, it must be renamed. If that is the case,for collaborative projects, it seems like Google Docs would be a better fit.

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  5. I use Dropbox for my flipcharts so I have access to them from multiple computers. This also might be a good way to have students submit sound files to me. I haven't found a good way to collect those yet and I think I will try Dropbox. For sharing and collaborating on documents and presentations, I definitely prefer Google Docs.

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  6. Dropbox is awesome! I use it all the time to store the most recent version of the document I'm working on "up in the cloud." It is a great way to be able to work on any document, anywhere, knowing that you have the most recent version and not having to worry about copying it to a flash drive or send it via email. It also serves as a great backup for all of your critical documents. It is definitely one of my top five favorite tech tools.

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  7. Once again, this is something I had no clue existed! I am always clogging up my email or searching for thumb drives to send documents here and there. This is going to save me so much headaches!

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  8. I currently use dropbox so I don't have to carry a flashdrive! I have all my files at my fingertips. Don't have to email something I worked on at home to school. I also use it to share files with others instead of emailing the file I email the link.

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  9. This is great! I used to send emails to dummy accounts to keep my files available, but I will now use this type of "cloud". I keep my personal generated math sheets on these accounts to have access anywhere, but this is much better!

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  10. I am addicted to dropbox.com! I really don't know how I functioned without it! I have installed the folder on the 2 computers I use most often, but I can still get to them on any computer just by logging in.

    With family, I have shared pictures that were too big to email through dropbox. With teachers, we have shared folders for collaboration.

    With students, they could all save to one dropbox and the issue of a group member being absent would be gone!

    I LOVE dropbox.com!

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  11. I can see the use in this, but my problem is that I only need one type of online storage place. Since I am currently working with Google Apps, I hate to add something else.

    Plus I work almost exclusively on my laptop, so a drop box system for me might not be that useful.

    But . . .

    I think this brings on a question that many of us will have to face at some point. There are so many new things out there, many of them with some great features, but we have to consider what our goal is and which product offers us those options. True, we may never find the one thing that does it all and there is constant innovation that needs to be evaluated and considered, but there is a process to use. Start by identifying the problem and seeking the solution that best meets that challenge. For me, drop box might not be that choice for me.

    Does that make me sound too negative???

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  12. I have used dropbox now for almost 2 years. It is a great way to keep my files in an accessible place across devices. I have restricted the files I've uploaded to dropbox to just my school docs because of the space limitations for the free version (you guessed it - I'm cheap!). I find these are the files I need the most when I'm away from my computer.

    Currently I've shared a folder of powerpoint presentations with another colleague and he is editing them from that folder and then they remain up to date with multiple editors!

    Also, with SyncToy (Windows) and MacDropAny (Mac) I can keep certain files and folders in sync with my dropbox folder.

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  13. I have used dropbox along with a group of math teachers. As files, flipcharts, and review lessons are created, when they are put in the dropbox everyone is notified. It is a time saver, for me, when I am looking for an activity that someone across town has already created and shared.

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  14. I love Dropbox. It has really simplified working on a document. I have dropbox on all the computers I use (3) so that no matter where I am I can access a file to work on it. I have several thumb drives I don't really use anymore!

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  15. Dropbox seems much like Google Docs, so I am wondering what the advantage is to DropBox. I have never used a Dropbox account, although I could see where it would be helpful to have a virtual thumbdrive. I think it would be a great tool for students to use if they are in a writing class so they could save their file for use later. No more excuses for losing thumbdrives. Add to that the previous versions it saves, and you could literally see the progress the student has made since the first save to Dropbox. I think it would also be a great way to share files with coworkers who collaborate on projects together.

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  16. I use Dropbox for big projects like presentations. I have it on all my computers and my phone (now!) Though it does seem redundant now that I know about Google Docs. I will need to spend some time exploring both further so I can decide which I would prefer to use. Never even thought about being able to share and collaborate using dropbox, just looked at it as a place to turn in work.

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  17. Dropbox seems like a wonderful program. However, I agree with the above comments that it is similar in concept to GoogleDocs.
    If I had heard of this earlier it would have been a wonderful asset and could still be a great way to connect with ELA teachers throughout the corporation and share materials. I use GoogleDocs daily for student assignemtns, class presenations, notes and self created worksheets for the students.

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  18. I don't currently have a Dropbox account, but it seems that Google has a similar system set up. From what I can tell Dropbox is a little bit more simple to use and is easily integrated with the computer directly instead of having to open GoogleDocs from the web. The idea of a photo stream isn't new for us Android users. Google+ will upload our photos automatically if we set it to. I can see how it could be a useful tool for someone who doesn't use any other uploading program.I'll give Dropbox a 30 day trial. If I use it, I'll keep it. If I don't I'll delete it.

    Students using Dropbox no longer have an excuse for misplacing, losing, or blaming the computer for lost work. This also elimiates the cost of a flash drive.

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  19. @ Kati and Molly, There is a history feature on Dropbox that autosaves different versions of the document for 30 days. So while you can save the document under a different file name, it is redundant and unnecessary.

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  20. John brings up a great point that we knew would surface.... "There are so many new things out there, many of them with some great features, but we have to consider what our goal is and which product offers us those options."

    All of the tools we are spotlighting have pros and cons. You are not expected to take and use all of these past the "Challenge," but hopefully you will explore these new tools as opportunities for your students to become lifelong learners.

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  21. Couple of comments: First, Kati-I have had the problem as well, of being in a group when all of the group members have a file open at the same time, either because they are working on it or because we are all viewing it (i.e., meeting agenda). then when files are closed or changed you see the original as well as 'so and so's conflicted copy'. In that case, GoogleDocs might be a better fit, because it allows multiple people to edit/view at the same time without issue, and you also know who is doing what to the document. To John W.-you are right, not every tool is for everyone. I also work almost exclusively from this one machine, but it is definitely a good way to organize and to share large files with others without getting in trouble from IT (which I DID! LOL). The other thing i wanted to add though, is that GoogleDocs is less intuitive (for me) than Dropbox, and I am a voracious collector of relevant articles, and I have an entire PDF reading library all sorted by theme/content in my Db that I can share with others as needed. I think that is probably my best use of it-that and being able to show up with my smartphone or iPad and still pull up meeting documents, rather than disseminating or collecting hardcopies. Finally, another way I use it for work is to share relevant files (PPT, video, articles) relating to various diversity topics with the consultant who works with me/our district on Cultural Competence and PBIS. She and I share resources that helps each of us with our separate work because we are in the same field. It has been a great use for me in that way, as far as collaborating with other professionals in the field who live elsewhere. I have even bought extra storage, just so I can keep on loading it up without fear of running out of space!

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  22. Dropboxes are a greatr place to store all of my flipchatrs and assignemts that I have created for my students to do and use online. It is also for students submitting assignments. They do not have to remember their homework, they can just turn it in with the click of a few buttons.

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  23. I had thought that using both google docs and Dropbox might be overkill, but I can see uses for Dropbox, as well as being able to send/save large files. I will give it a try and add my lesson plans to it, and see how I like it.

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  24. I love the idea of saving flipcharts in Dropbox. I usually save them to a flash drive, and it is extremely frustrating when I forget to bring it with me to school.
    I have used Dropbox to share pictures. Last year, we had a field day toward the end of school. The students challenged the teachers in several different events. Since we wanted to use those pictures later, I found that the best way to share them with the staff was to put them into Dropbox. Many teachers had never used it, so this gave them a chance to try it out.
    Now that I am becoming familiar with Google Docs, I think it is my preference.

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  25. When first reading about this it did seem a lot like the Google Docs we just talked about. I am also interested in learning more about each of them and their pros and cons and then see which fits me the best. I often can't send my flipcharts because they are too big. I then have to save them to a drive and go and download onto my other team members drives. I can see this being a big help for that. I also get tired of finding my thumb drive and lugging them around and then not losing them. I could see this being a big help when I look at a YouTube video at home and then want to view at school and download to that computer. I also like the fact of backing up computer files in case a drive crashes, even thumbs do that!

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  26. I love Dropbox! I don't know how I survived without it. I was the type of person that had 3-4 different flashdrives, work on my labtop, school computer, netbook...etc. This has allowed me to have easy access to my documents whenever I need it.
    During the first week of school I had a technology lesson for all of my classes and I made sure each of them knew about dropbox. I told them that they could no longer blame the netbooks for their "lost file" because they could save it on dropbox. Several students already knew about the program, but I know many of them created accounts that day.

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  27. I have been using dropbox for almost a year and it has simplified my life considerably. Even if I am not connected to the internet, I can work on a document and save it to the computer's dropbox and when I connect again, the file is updated. Great tool!

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  28. I use dropbox to share my flipcharts. It is so much easier than running around from computer to computer with a flash drive. It is so nice to create flipcharts at home and know that they will be on my computer for easy access in the morning. I have also used the public file and sent links via email to others I don't have a shared file with.

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  29. I use my DropBox daily. We have our lesson plans added to the dropbox and have shared that with all of the other math teachers. This way each of us can see where the other is. We also share resources this way. If I make a test/quiz/flipchart anything, we share it so that others can use it too. Might as well not reinvent the wheel! Anything that I need is easily accessible at home as well as school, so I can never leave my work at school!

    I have shared several folders with other teachers at other schools so that they can also see and use the resources that have been found.

    The downside to DropBox is if someone you have shared the folder with changes a document and saves it, it changes your file in the Dropbox.

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  30. I want to respond to the thought from Cassaundra. Dropbox is very similar to GoogleDocs, yes. But, it is simply storage space that is available in the cloud.
    GoogleDocs is good for documents and the like, but Dropbox (with a 2GB limit) is GREAT for storing or sharing larger media files without the hassle of a flash drive. Videos are almost impossible to e mail, and you might not want it public on YouTube. So, drag the video file to Dropbox and *bam*, it's shared and done.
    Yeah, its similar to GoogleDocs, but not exactly the same. Like John said, it crosses over too much for his use and he'll stick to GoogleDocs. Highlight your need and pick the best tool from there.

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  31. I was introduced to DropBox by Dr. Blue and I use it all the time. Carrie Hillyard set up our state grants in dropboxes last spring and we were able to collaboratively write grants from everywhere as we traveled, etc. We also use DropBox for the District Data Team to keep agendas and notes. I love having the stuff "off" my computer so I am not clogging up memory. This would be a great place to store "team tools" for those working in grade level teams or across schools as we try and align things in the attendance districts.

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  32. Thank you Brian for your clarification on Dropbox/Google Docs! As an added note, it is worthy to mention that the 2GB limit is only a starting amount. For each person in addition that you can get to download and install dropbox, you get 250MB added to your limit up to a total of 10GB.

    The process is simple, on dropbox.com select your account status and then click the referrals tab. You will enter an email address for another person and they are sent an invite to download. If that person then downloads and installs Dropbox, you get additional storage.

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  33. Dropbox would be a good way for students to organize and combine research materials, links, photos, etc for collaborative projects.

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  34. Well, I haven't read through everyone's posts yet. However, I have been a Dropbox user for a little over a year. One of the main reasons I subscribed, was because I had to get all of the files off of my old teacher computer! I had no idea how many flash drives it would take and honestly I have flashdrives sitting everywhere (school, home, purses, briefcase). It's too much of a hassle. I have downloaded dropbox to my home computer, work laptop, ipad, and my phone! Plus, I love when I want to share something and I don't have a computer around, all I have to do is logon.
    Now...for classroom use:
    Those of you with netbooks in your class, especially in high school where we have had them for a couple of years now. When a student says "My computer broke and I don't have my assignment". there is no more excuse! Spend the beginning of the school year creating a dropbox. Have them add a file for your classroom and while you are at it..have them create a file for passwords and usernames!

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  35. I love dropbox. I have installed it on my Android phone and I always have access to somethings that I don't want to have to store in my brain memory :) So it really helps save my own memory. When I first came to look at the Jr. High I had the map on my phone so it was much easier to find my way around.

    I also keep lists like community resources, I may be out and have someone ask me about a possible resources and I can look in my dropbox and find it.

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  36. Dropbox seems like a great way to store and share resources. There will be no more panic when flash drives are lost. I look forward to using this resource as a way to store and share flipcharts, assessments, and other resources.

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  37. I have used a drop box feature on Blackboard and Angel. Since I teach multiple classes of the same course (9A English times 3), this drop box would be an easy way to put information for all of my classes in one place.

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  38. This is great for me because I travel between 4 different classrooms. I don't have to email myself files anymore. I can just pull them up on here!

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  39. I use dropbox almost every day. I like being able to quickly drop things in and then poof...I have them where ever I am. I can access it from home, work, or even my iPad. It makes my life much easier for sure. I don’t have to worry about remembering my flash drive.

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  40. I was introduced to dropbox.com when I was in my Master's program. I had lost many files when my computer died. My computer technician told me about dropbox. I used it for the remaining course work. I have not used it for my flipcharts, but I will begin now. I won't have to worry about having my flashdrive anymore. Thanks for the reminder:)

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  41. I have Dropbox on all my computer (work and home) so I can share documents where ever I am. I have loaded Dropbox on my phone so that purpose also.
    I share a Dropbox with a colleague so as we work independently we share resources.

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  42. I also use Dropbox frequently instead of a thumb drive although now I have been using Google docs more often.

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  43. Dropbox is a wonderful tool that I have used to not depend so much on my jump drives. It would be a great tool to teach students for the same reason, and to use as a way to colloborate with other teachers, share resources, and share lessons with students.

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  44. This would make life much easier. It would create an extra backup for my files just in case I misplace my flash drives. Also, the students could benefit too. They could have extra storage to access their assignments and projects.

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  45. I can see great uses for Dropbox, but am having trouble seeing much of a distinction between Google Docs as well. I would think it could be a great tool for students to create an account and not have to worry about flash drives or paper copies. They could add it to a class Dropbox or email it to my Dropbox for me to check, grade, store, etc. I think professionally I will use it a great deal. I have already added it to my iPhone and put flipcharts, lesson plans, and other documents I want to work on at home this weekend and will not have to remember a flash drive or which one I put it on!

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