Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dropbox it like it's Hot - Organizing my online Life (ED504)

For this week's assignment, we tried to organize our online life using a variety of tools. I was assigned Dropbox. Coming into this project I had heard of Dropbox, but I was only vaguely aware of what it did.

Dropbox is a cloud-based storage service. Once you sign up for your account, you can start storing files at It comes with a application that you can install on your computer (or phone, if your phone is smarter than mine). The Dropbox application greatly simplifies things. You don't have to sign in every time you use the service. Instead, a magical folder appears on your computer. Anything that you put into the folder is mystically synced with your account.

I installed the Dropbox folder on my computer and on my mom's laptop. Because both applications are signed in to my account I can easily share files with my mom. This seems like a great way to share files with the elderly. I remember having unpleasantly long phone conversations guiding people through the process of downloading or sending e-mail attachments. With Dropbox, sending a file across the world is just a matter of copying and pasting into the magic folder.

As a teacher, Dropbox offers an easy way to keep documents accessible while on the go. There was some thought about using Dropbox as a way for students to turn in homework, but there are still some bugs with that idea. When using the free or 'cheap' version, users can't share folders with limited file rights. If you share a folder with students so they can turn in their homework, they can also delete each others homework. For collaborative projects, I still think that GoogleDocs with its building in Document/Spreadsheet editor is a quicker and easier way.

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