Monday, September 5, 2011

Access your files anywhere with Dropbox

Have you ever gotten to school, only to find your flash drive is sitting at home, or the file you thought you saved on your school system was saved somewhere else?  With this tool, that will never happen again...

Dropbox is a file sync and storage system that allows you to keep files in sync across multiple computers and backed up on their servers.  When you register for a free account and install the program, it creates a folder on your computer. This folder is like any other folder on your system - you can store files in it, open them, save them, etc. The difference is that the items you save in that folder are being saved remotely - on the Dropbox site, not your computer. 

With this program installed, you can access files on multiple devices at any time. (There are Dropbox apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry.) Once a file is updated on one device, it automatically gets synced on all other devices.

You can also share specific files or entire folders in your Dropbox with other users -- allowing you to get files to those who need them, without worrying about an email attachment being too large. The site gives 2 gigabytes free, and another 250 MB for each person who references you when they sign up - they also get an additional 250 for using the referral. The short video below explains the basics of this tool.

Benefits to Using Dropbox:
  • Back up all of your important documents. They used to say "Back up everything to the server", but this was time consuming and only accessible from within school. Dropbox automatically backs up everything without you having to worry about it. It also keeps track of deleted files. These can be restored later on.
  • Undo mistakes.  Dropbox saves not just your file, but each earlier version that you saved.  So, if you accidentally deleted a paragraph or slide, etc., you can go back to a previous version.
  • Keep your files organized on different computers. Many teachers use their school laptops in addition to another home computer, tablet, or smart phone so it can be tough keeping everything organized. Since Dropbox keeps all of your devices in sync with each other, you are more organized.
  • Collaborate using shared folders. We have a shared "8 Gold" folder that includes student schedules, calendars, and "beginning of year" forms. If someone edits a document, the changes are updated for all of us. Derek and I have another shared folder for the school yearbook.

Additional Resources:

Dropbox Features

Dropbox Blog
OMS New Literacies Wiki
Send to Dropbox - Allows you to send email attachments directly to your Dropbox folder
Dropbox loves schools! - All users with an ".edu" email address gets double the space (500 mb) for referrals! Updated (9/6)

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