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Wow, how cool is Dropbox?

by Kelly Walsh on March 30, 2011

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I’ve been hearing about Dropbox for years, and last night I decided it was time to check it out. I’m glad I did.

It took me about 7 or 8 minutes to download the install file, run it, and enter my information so an account could be set up. I copied a file into the Dropbox folder, and then read this “Quick Start” doc, which helped me realize that the files in my Dropbox where now also available to me from any Internet-connected computer if I logged onto Dropbox.com. I was quickly getting a true appreciation of what it means to use cloud computing for online data storage (Dropbox is a leading provider).

Next, I logged onto another computer in my house and logged into Dropbox to see what I could do. I could see and access the document that I had dragged into the Dropbox folder on the first computer, and I could upload a new document there, which I did. I then went back to the original computer and the new file was there too!

The whole idea apparently is that the Dropbox folder is synched across the web. You can actually install Dropbox on other computers and have a local Dropbox folder on them, and all of these can synch up. Even better, you can choose to share files with others, as each file that you drag into the Public folder will get its own unique URL. On top of that, you can create file folders that you share just with other specific Dropbox users. The possibilities for easy, inexpensive file sharing apps like Dropbox seem tremendous.

We are looking for an easy way for our Library staff to distribute docs that they scan for remote users, without having to email them (some or just too big). Dropbox looks like an easy solution for this (users don’t need credentials to access the file, just the URL). Once the file is retrieved, it can be deleted (learn more about the security of the application here).

As for the cost, you get a 2 GB Dropbox account for free! Much larger storage is available for pretty reasonable fees:

  • 2 GB for free
  • 50 GB for $9.99 per month
  • 100 GB for $19.99 per month

If you haven’t tried Dropbox yet, give it a shot. If you have, and you’ve used in the educational setting, we hope you’ll comment and tell us about it. Thanks!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Announcing EmergingEdTech’s 2011 Free Education Technology Resources eBook
Free Productivity Resources for Educators
Tutorial – 5 Fun Free Photo And Image Editing Applications For The Classroom

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Frantz April 3, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Dropbox is an essential tool. For those who are still toting around flashdrives, it’s time to let them go.

I use DropItToMe for student submission of assignments.

I also like the ability to log on to the Dropbox website and retrieve earlier (up to 30 days) versions of my files.

Also check out Dropbox Folder Sync. If you want to keep your current file folder system without moving everything into Dropbox, this little program will let you do that. See this blog post: http://suefrantz.com/2011/03/22/dropbox-folder-sync/

Jonathan Wylie March 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Dropbox is one of my most indispensable tools as a teacher. I love how I can throw files in it on my Mac at school and retrieve them on my PC at home. No more flash drives, emailing myself files, or other such nonsense.

Also, if you refer it to friends, or other teachers in your school, with a referral link, you can quickly increase your 2Gb limit. I am up to around 10 Gb right now, and it is all free.

I wrote an article on using Dropbox at school. You can see it here…
http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/86024.aspx

Maybe it will help give you some more ideas on how to use it. I recently came across JotForm and may look at that for creating Dropbox forms for websites/blogs.

K. Walsh March 30, 2011 at 8:49 am

I should add that Dropbox is accessible from all kinds of devices and Operating Systems, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Andriod, and more! Sweet.

CHalvorsen March 30, 2011 at 8:11 am

I’ve been using Dropbox for a couple of years now and can’t imagine life without it! I have the 50GB plan and use it for work as an instructional technologist, school (graduate student), personal, and sharing photos, videos, and files with friends and family. I just have separate folders for each area of my life and then folders within those folders as needed.

I have it synced across all four of my computers and my Blackberry, which means I always have access to any and all of my files. Love it!

Mrlane March 30, 2011 at 8:04 am

Dropbox rocks!!! Add the dropittome feature to your blog or wiki and students can submit work directly to you – this makes an already impressive tool even much better. And remember to put the app on your phone – now you grade papers while in the waiting for your next meeting, the doctor, or for your students to finish washing your car. ;)

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