Author: Dwayne Harapnuik
Next to Evernote, Dropbox is one of my favorite web-based, cross platform tools. Now that they have added an iPhone app this productivity tool has gotten even better. Now in addition to accessing my files from my Windows, Linux, or OSX I can access my files on go on my iPhone.
If you are not familiar with Dropbox Tyler Wall and I have written about it several times before:
Another take on Dropbox: Syncing Apps
My head is in the clouds but so are my files
Top Free Software
Syncing apps and a password database like Keepass or KeepassX has not gotten even more powerful. Thanks Dropbox!
Author: Tyler Wall
About a year ago I was looking for a good solution to share large files that email couldn’t handle (20+mb), I also needed a few other things that I wanted it to do like:
- Sync files automatically across multiple computers.
- Have access to my files regardless of the computer that I am using i.e. read a PDF from an internet cafe computer.
- Collaborate with people via sharing large files.
- Store files online.
Luckily I found a tool to help with all of that and more, Dropbox. Here is a highlight reel of what Dropbox offers:
- 2 GB free storage space online
- File syncing across multiple computers
- OS independent
- Large and small file sharing via public folders
- Photo sharing via photos folder (includes a web interface web gallery)
- Public folder sharing where multiple Dropbox accounts can have access to specified folders and all accounts gain syncing power to constantly be updated with new files in that folder.
- Invisible syncing and through the web interface you can see Dropbox activity.
- Web interface to access your files while away from your computer
- A public folder that allows you to put up files, grab a url from the file, and give the link to whomever and they can download the file without downloading Dropbox. Try it out for yourself by clicking here. http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/17187/Dropbox%20public.pdf and here http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/17187/division%20of%20power.html . as you can see it allows you to link right to html documents and flash files.
To use Dropbox you just download the software install it and it will create a folder in your computer called, you guessed it, Dropbox. It runs in the background and only syncs when you add a file or take one out of the folder. Install Dropbox on any computer you want to sync files across and it will run in the background making sure that the Dropbox folder is synced.Watch this video to better understand what Dropbox has to offer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maQrWC-raFQ and go here for a tour of dropbox http://www.getdropbox.com/tour#1 .
So how could you as an educator use it?
- Well how about posting important files for download into your public Dropbox folder and sending the link to all your students so they can download it?
- What if you are working with another instructor or content expert, you could set up a collaborative folder so you both would be up to date with what the other has done.
- Leave your work computer at work and know that those files will be on your home computer for you to work on later.
- Have your students all get dropbox accounts and you could set up a folder where they can send put up their assignments like an assignment dropbox.
- With an account your students could have group collaboration and you would be able to see their progress (as long as you are invited into their group folders) and who is most active and it keeps track of versions and if a file has been deleted which would reduce the odds of cheating.
- Use it to archive important files (you can undelete deleted items and even restore different versions of the same file)
- Whatever you want!
So how do I (Tyler Wall) use Dropbox? Well I have a fellow comic aficionado back in my home town and we are creating a web comic together so I created a new folder in Dropbox and invited him to it. We now both have access to the folder (and no one else) and if I put up a new drawing it syncs to his computer and it is like sharing a folder on the web. I also use it to backup important files, all in folders that no one else has access to.
It has revolutionized the way I collaborate on a large scale project. I haven’t seen my friend in over a year but I feel like we haven’t missed a beat with thanks to Dropbox.(and a few other online tools). Without Dropbox collaboration would be much more difficult.
So if you have Dropbox and use it regularly or have ideas of how to use it for education by all means post a comment and let me and everyone else know your great idea.
Author: Dwayne Harapnuik
It doesn’t get any easier than this to upload and send a file. Select the file (just click on the File box and a window will open), add their email address and click on “Send it Out”.
Filed under: File Download