Monday, January 21, 2013

Dropbox - AKA The Keeper

I have finally made a full conversion to using Dropbox.  If you aren't familiar with the website, I'll give a brief synopses.  Dropbox is a storage service that allows you to digitally house files.  You can access and sync these files through your PC/Mac, iOS or other portable device, and from an internet browser.  You can share the files with others for easy collaboration, or you can lock everything up tight.  It is a cloud-based service, meaning that the files are stored somewhere...out there.  In the ether, so to speak. 

I have been using the service for a while now, but only for odds and ends.  I wanted an easy way to see my wedding photos despite the disc being at my mom's house and Amanda and I being in Kuwait.  My mom's partner uploaded them to dropbox and shared the link so that we could see the finished products.  It worked very well!

How is it useful for teaching?  I began the year using a USB thumb drive for all of my school files.  I dragged that sucker to and from school everyday, and I had more than my share of "WHERE IS IT?" moments.  Well, I finally lost it a while back.  I erroneously kept it on the half-wall between our kitchen and our living room, and I think it fell into the garbage at some point.  I was never able to find it.  After some swearing and panicking, I was able to find most of what I lost.  Anything that had been created in the previous couple of weeks was gone, but a lot of stuff was still on our home laptop. 

And that's how I quickly became a Dropbox afficiando.  I use it constantly now, and I will never look back.  Dropbox automatically syncs all of my files with all of my devices, and it is a painless process.   Over the holidays I wanted to mark some student presentations, so I threw them into my Dropbox folder.  I was able to open them up on the plane ride, back in Canada, or wherever and start marking away.  It is a must-have product for teachers, or, well, anyone.  Plus, it's free!

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