Home Free Tools & Resources 4 Free Tools for Sharing Files with Students

4 Free Tools for Sharing Files with Students


Guest author Wes Burns introduces four different tools that provide free file sharing functionality.

Way back when I was still in school, at least half my teachers shared things online. Whether it was syllabuses or lecture notes, teachers posted documents online all the time. The one drawback was that many times, teachers used school-issued software to share these files online. This software was frequently buggy and/or difficult to use.

There’s a better way to share files with students. Well actually, there are several better ways to share files with students. The following online storage tools use the power of the cloud to give you free storage and simple file sharing.

As an added benefit, these tools translate well into real-world experience for students. It is safe to bet that at least several of your students will be exposed to these tools (or similar tools) when they enter the workforce.

The following file sharing tools are free to use up to a certain limit. Each tool offers a couple gigs of free storage space that you can use to post things online and to receive documents from students. If you work primarily with text documents, presentations and spreadsheets, a few free gigs will last a long time.

Without further delay, let’s get to the good stuff:

1. Dropbox


Dropbox is a big player in the online file storage game thanks to its simple setup and powerful features. The file sharing options for Dropbox are flexible and make it easy to share documents with students. Just create a free Dropbox account and specify a folder on your computer. Any file that you store within that folder is saved online.

You can then share any of these files by clicking on that file and creating a download link. From there, you can send that download link to any number of students. All they have to do is click on the link and download the file. Students do not have to create an account to access these files; all they need is the download link.

2. Facebook


We could argue the pros and cons of educators having a Facebook presence for days but that’s a whole different conversation. For now, let’s just leave it at this for simplicity’s sake: some educators actively engage their students via Facebook. If you’re in the pro-Facebook camp, there’s a new file sharing feature that you might like.

Facebook recently announced that it has added file a file sharing feature for all Facebook Groups. This feature allows you to upload and share files with all group members. Every file type except for music and .exe files can be posted to the group for public downloads. The only limit is that files must be 25 MB or smaller.

3. Box.com


Box.com is a major competitor to Dropbox and offers a similar set of features. You can sign up for a Box.com account and get 5 GB free. Any file that you store in your Box.com account can then be shared by generating custom download links. Give those links to your students via e-mail and they can download any file with ease.

If you upgrade to a business account ($15 a month), you’ll get more file sharing features. Paid accounts let you share entire folders with your students. You can then store as many files in there as you want and your students will have access to every file. You can also edit permissions and give students the ability to post their own files in the shared folder.

4. SugarSync


SugarSync is a popular alternative to Dropbox and Box.com. This storage company offers 5 GB of free storage space with full access to all the features. Free accounts never expire and you won’t be bugged to upgrade. If you never go over your 5 GB of storage space, you will never have to pay to use SugarSync. If you do decide to upgrade, you can get 30 GB of storage space for $4.99 a month.

Both file sharing and folder sharing are supported by SugarSync. You can share any file by uploading it to your account, right-clicking on the file and generating a direct download link. Entire folders can also be shared. As the owner of the account, you can customize the permissions so that students are either restricted to downloading files or are able to upload their own files. You can also password-protect folders and files.

Do you use any other free file sharing tools? Drop a comment and tell us about them! Also, if you've tried Facebook's new file sharing for groups, or have any observations about the tools mentioned above, we'd love to hear about them. Thanks!

Wes Burns is a tech writer with a focus on the cloud storage industry. He runs several personal websites and contributes regularly to OnlineFileStorage.com.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
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  1. I think this post deserves an update, as there are way more free file sharing services out there than “just” the 4 that are mentioned. Other than that, great article. Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing these! It’s definitely going to be a big help. I’m still apprehensive about Facebook being one of the choices though, but with the way it’s appealing to young people I’m sure it’s worth a try.

  3. One of the free file sharing site I came across is mypdv.com. It is more reliable and spacious, you just have to register. it is for free yet secure.

  4. Thanks for the comments!

    EduGuru: Zukmo looks pretty nice. That’s the first time I have seen that particular service. It looks like the free option doesn’t include file sharing though. On the other hand, the paid version is definitely reasonable.

    Linda: Zoho is awesome. It’s geared a little more towards businesses with the bug tracking, bookkeeping and CRM tools but still a very cool service.

    Gayla: I’m still undecided on the Google Drive privacy policy, but the service is gaining traction quickly. I just read they got off to an incredible start with 35 million+ new users in the first 15 days.

    K Walsh: Thanks! Yes, Dropbox is one of my all time favorites. Super easy to set up and doesn’t bug you for upgrades.

  5. Guys you should definitely check out Zukmo, even though they just offer a gig of space, it is very useful. We don’t just work with files, we can create and share notes, bookmark any important article and share with other students and lots more, so it is kind of a complete solution for students when working on projects and modules.

  6. Zoho.com, which has awesome, ad-free services, has partnered with Dropbox. The combination allows collaboration on documents saved inDropbox or in the Zoho documents feature of the email.

  7. Google recently entered the file storage market when they re-envisioned Google Docs as Google Drive. As a web-based application, Google Drive safely stores documents online, making them accessible from any computer or mobile device. You are not limited to just storing Google Docs, however, Google Drive will store any type of file, including images and videos. View over 20 file types right in your browser, including videos, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files, even if your device doesn’t run the file’s original software. Save files from Aviary, Animoto, Balsamiq and other web apps directly to Google Drive, and launch those apps by opening these file types from your Drive.

    Google Drive has increased its free online storage capacity from 1 GB to 5GB. In addition, Google Drive offers an app which can be installed on any computer or tablet which allows access to the documents even without Internet access. When connected to the Internet again, Google Drive automatically syncs the files and updates them in your folders.

    Get started with 5GB of storage with your free Google account. For as little as $4 per month for 20GB, you can purchase and manage up to 16TB of additional storage. (Yes, that’s 16,000GB!)

  8. Thanks for the great post Wes!

    Fans of EmergingEdTech know I’m a big fan of Dropbox, it has really become a critical tool, allowing me to access the same critical files, whether I am online or offline, on multiple devices and platforms.

    I look forward to checking out Facebook’s file sharing for groups too – I had not been aware of this new functionality.


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