Showing posts with label drop box. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drop box. Show all posts

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friendly Reminder: Back-up Your Files

Earlier today I saw a look of panic and horror on the face of one of my colleagues when he realized that he couldn't find his 8gb flash drive anywhere. Months ago he went through the same feelings before eventually finding the flash drive in the woodpile at his house. At that time I gave him another flash drive and told him to make copies of his files, he didn't. Nor did he move them to an online storage service like Drop Box. I hope he finds that flash drive soon because in his words, "losing all of those files could be career ending."

If you haven't backed-up your most important files in a while, do yourself a favor this weekend and take some time to do it. Even if you have files saved in the cloud (Google Docs, Zoho, Drop Box) it's still a good idea to have an offline copy you can access. And if you're a blogger, take a few minutes to create an offline file of your blog entries.

Want to learn more about Drop Box? Watch the video below for an introduction.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Uploading It - Online File Storage and Organization

Ever since Drop.io shut down last December, I've been using Drop Box for online storage of files that aren't in one of my Google Docs accounts. Recently I came across another nice service for online storage and organization of my files. Uploading It offers four plans for online storage of your files, the free plan offer 10GB of storage. You can upload multiple files at once to your Uploading It account. Files in your Uploading It account can be quickly sorted using a drag and drop interface. The video below provides a nice overview of all of Uploading It's features.


Applications for Education
If you work in a school in which students have to go to a lab to use a computer, services like Uploading It and Drop Box are great services to get students in the habit of using. By using one of these services students can access their files from any computer that they use.

Friday, December 3, 2010

10+ Alternatives to Drop.io

Last month Drop.io announced that they are shutting down on December 15. I just posted a reminder about that and promised to follow up with some alternatives to the services that Drop.io offered. Here are ten alternatives to the ten things teachers could do with Drop.io in the past.

1. Post documents and PDFs for others to view and download.
This can be done with many blog and website building platforms including Google Sites, Blogger, and Edublogs. But if you don't want to go that route you could use a service such as Issuu, DocStoc, or Scribd to host your PDFs and manage their downloads. All three of those services provide you with a few different formats for embedding your documents into a blog or website.


2. Post documents, links, videos, audio files for others to access and comment on.
Again, this is pretty much the purpose of a blog. I'm partial to Blogger, but WordPress, Edublogs, and Posterous are also excellent platforms. 


3. Create voice recordings in MP3 format.
Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. You don't even have to create an account to use Vocaroo. All you need to provide is a microphone. To create a recording just go to Vocaroo.com, click record, grant Vocaroo access to your mic, and start talking. After completing your recording, Vocaroo gives you the choice to publish it or to scrap it and try again.

MyPodcast.com provides free podcast hosting as well as free podcast recording software. (The software is available for PC only). I tested out the software a while back and found it to be more than adequate for creating vocal podcasts. For schools that do not use Apple computers (Garage Band is standard on Mac) MyPodcast.com is a good, free podcasting tool.

4. Establish a voicemail box at no cost to you.
For readers in the US Google Voice provides you with a phone number that can ring all of your landline and mobile phones simultaneously. You can choose settings in your Google Voice account to send all calls to your Google Voice number directly to voicemail where you can then play them back or have them transcribed for reading. Google Voice also offers a slew of other features that you might find handy.

5. Host online presentations.
There is no shortage of services that allow you to host presentations online. Here are a couple that I like:

Vokle is a free service for hosting and recording live web conferences. Using Vokle you can host a live conference in which participants can chat with text while you broadcast yourself. You can also broadcast a conversation of yourself and another person who has their webcam enabled. The text chat room can be used to organize a line-up of people who would like to broadcast themselves to the other chat participants. 

Join.me is a free service offered by Log Me In. Join.me allows Mac and Windows users to quickly share their screens with each other and work together. To use Join.me you do need to download the Join.me client. Once you've downloaded the client you can start sharing your screen with anyone you like. Just give your nine digit access number to your collaborators to give them access to your screen and to converse with you. 

6. Chat with others accessing your Drop.io page. 
Scribblar is a free, simple service designed for creative, real-time collaboration. Using Scribblar, users can collaborate on the creation and editing of images and drawings. If you have an image you can upload it to your whiteboard where you and others can edit it or comment on it. The commenting can take place directly on the whiteboard or in one of two side bar chat options. Users can chat in text or in voice. In the last few months Scribblar has added a mathematics equations editor and support for PPT files. 


7. Create an anonymous @drop.io email account. 
There is no shortage of services offering "disposable" or "temporary" email addresses. If you're wondering why anyone would need a disposable email address, Wikipedia offers a decent explanation. Here are a couple to look at if you need a disposable or temporary email address: mailexpire and mailinator.

8. Create a "drop box" to collect work from students using the Drop.io upload widget.
This is the feature that I thought I was going to miss the most because I was using Drop.io to collect a lot of assignments from students. I have found a new service that I like even better than Drop.io.

DROPitTOme is a free service that works with Drop Box to allow people to upload files to your Drop Box account without giving them access to the contents of your Drop Box account. For those not familiar with Drop Box it is a service that provides 2GB of free online file storage (by the way, that's way more than the 100mb Drop.io offered). You can access your Drop Box from any computer and most mobile devices. You can also sync it across multiple computers. The best part is you receive a notification every time someone adds a file to your Drop Box (you can disable this if you want).

9. Use Drop.io bookmarklets to bookmark links and add them to your Drop.io page.
Again, this is a function for which there is no shortage of replacements. I put together a list of seven good ones here. I've also been promoting Google Bookmarks for the last few months. Learn how to use Google Bookmarks in my free publication Google for Teachers II. If you're looking for a way to send bookmarks to multiple places, I recommend trying Shareaholic.

10. Offer RSS feed for updates to your Drop.io page.
Any blog or website platform worth its salt will offer this as a standard option. If you want to track the number of people subscribing to your blog or website, give FeedBurner a try. 


Monday, November 29, 2010

A Benefit of Collecting Students' Work Online

One of the tasks of teaching that I've always struggled with is returning graded student work consistently on-time. Evaluating and assigning the grades is not the problem, the problem is actually sacrificing classroom time to pass back students' work. I know I'm not the only teacher who struggles with this. To combat my "problem" I've stopped accepting paper assignments.

My school is in the second year of being 1:1 with netbooks and this year I'm only accepting assignments in electronic form (with a couple of minor exceptions made for extenuating circumstances). What this means for me is that I can evaluate students' assignments and return them to students without having to spend instructional time passing-out papers. For assignments like rough drafts this gives me a few more minutes to conference with each student about his or her work. Online collection and return of work also means that both the student and I have a copy of his or her work. Finally, the services I use for collection timestamp the work so there is no dispute about whether or not an assignment was submitted on time.

I use two tools to collect students' work online. Most of my students are using Google Documents for their written work so "turning-in" their work is a simple matter of sharing their documents. The same is true for Google Maps projects and any slideshows they create.

I also use DropItToMe to collect students' work. Using DropItToMe students can upload files to my Drop Box account without seeing any other files in the Drop Box. Students who don't have internet access at home and use a desktop word processor use DropItToMe when they get to school in the morning to submit their assignments. I'm also using DropItToMe to collect video and audio files from students. You can learn more about using DropItToMe here.

Another Drop Box service that I haven't tried yet, but has potential to be good is Air Dropper.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Try DROPitTOme to Collect Assignments Online

When Drop.io announced that they had sold out to Facebook and would be shutting down effective on December 15th, I immediately shared that news with you. One of the services offered by Drop.io that I'm really going to miss is their hidden upload tool which allowed you to have others submit files to your drop. For the last couple of years I used Drop.io's hidden uploader to collect assignments from students. Since Drop.io's shut down announcement I've looked for a replacement to their hidden uploader and I think I've found a good one. Actually, I didn't find it it was recommended by Bill Ferreirae in a comment he posted.

DROPitTOme is a free service that works with Drop Box to allow people to upload files to your Drop Box account without giving them access to the contents of your Drop Box account. For those not familiar with Drop Box it is a service that provides 2GB of free online file storage (by the way, that's way more than the 100mb Drop.io offered). You can access your Drop Box from any computer and most mobile devices. You can also sync it across multiple computers.  Learn more about Drop Box in the video below.



DROPitTOme works by synchronizing with your Drop Box account. After connecting the two services DROPitTOme provides a url that you can give to others to upload files to your Drop Box account. You must specify a password that has to be entered before an upload can take place. Give the url and password to those people you want to be able to upload files to your Drop Box account.




Applications for Education
I've implemented DROPitToMe on my course blog by placing a link to my DROPitTOme url along with the password for uploading assignments.