Picture this: You have a deadline, it is today. All the work you have done for the last few months is depending on this very moment. You reach in your bag and go to pull out your flashdrive…and it’s not there. You search everywhere then remember- it’s in your laptop at home. ARGH!!! Sound familiar? It’s happened to us all.
Or what about the document you worked on at home, emailed to school, worked on at school, but forget to email back home, and all of the changes now have to be redone so you can submit your work? Been there, done that, have the bald spots on my scalp to prove it.
So what do you do? So glad you asked! You save your documents in “the cloud”. I don’t know how it works, so this post will not be about that. Instead it will tell you how this amazing cloud works to help you remain sane.
I personally use a product called Dropbox. You can download it on every computer that you use and work on any project no matter where you are. I even have it on my phone! Dropbox has a free service with limited storage files, you can pay and have a bigger file space. With all the documents I have on there I am not even close to the limit. The larger the files you save, like pictures, the less room you will have. You can always delete unneeded files once they are no longer of use to you. Personally, I am keeping my dissertation in Dropbox and on a flashdrive. This provides me with peace of mind that it will be there no matter what.There are other similar programs that include Dropittome, Box, and Live Binders.
If you have google email system, then you also have access to google docs. Within google docs you can create word files, spreadsheets, presentations, and other file types. Your documents are stored online and anytime you log in to your email you can access the documents. At the top of your screen when you log in to your email you will see: Mail, Calendar, Documents, Sites, Video, Groups, More. Clicking on documents will take you to the google docs area and from there you choose the file type you want to create. What I love about google docs is that you can share the document with others and you can work collaboratively at the same time on the same document.
I recently sat in on a brainstorming session for technology at my school. There were six people in the room, all with laptops or Ipads, and all of us were typing in a table on google docs, sharing ideas for competencies for middle school technology courses. Everyone shared their ideas, brainstormed, built off others work, and never had to take individual notes to compile later, it was right there at your fingertips immediately. I also used google docs in one of my online classes. We had group assignments where 6 people worked together on a semester long project. Each week we would update google docs with our learning, work, and reflections. Six people from all over the United States got multiple papers completed and made an A+ simply through the use of a file sharing program that allowed us to add our own information at our own pace.
Try it, use it, let me know what you think about it! How can you use these tools in your classroom? Leave a comment with your ideas!
In researching this post I found an excellent resource that I will make a complete post on later, but why wait to share the wealth? This site will help you find more storage options. They also have great ideas for technology enhanced classrooms!