I know Dropbox has been around for ages, but many people like myself are only just discovering it, so I hope this post will help some other readers out there.
Dropbox is great for people like me who work in multiple locations, collaborate with others who work in multiple locations and use multiple computers and other devices like iPad and iPhone. It enables you to access your files easily from each location and keeps them in sync.
Basically, it syncs your files off site in some realm that is apparently known as “The Cloud”.
Here is how I’m using it:
As of this year, when working from home, I’m saving all my work related documents into dropbox, which appears as just another folder on my computer. Its easy – instead of going to My Documents, then my Work folder, I just go to Dropbox then to a folder I have created called Work.
When I get to work and need to access those files, I just go to my dropbox folder and open them up. It looks just the same at work as it does at home. Any changes I make to them at work automatically sync, so when I get back to my computer at home the changes are there.
Its so much better than emailing files back and forth, or carrying them on a data stick. That was an extra step that would take some time and sometimes the size of the file was too big for email. Other times our work email system would do weird things – like mail disappearing into the ether for a few days before appearing again in the account.
I’ve also found data sticks problematic – I forget to take them with me, I’ll lose them, and one of them became corrupted which meant all the data on it was useless. I often end up with multiple copies of files saved under the same name, and it becomes difficult to keep track of what is the most relevant and up to date version.
As well as enabling me to sync files smoothly between home, work and my ipad and iphone, Dropbox enables me to collaborate with colleagues more easily.
As teachers, we all work in separate locations – from our various homes and when at school, from our various classrooms. I’ve created some folders in my dropbox which I share with colleagues. They can accesss the documents I’ve created, add their own documents and make modifications to anything in the folder.
Right now from our separate homes my colleagues and I are collaborating on a book for our parent information evening this Thursday. I am writing the section for literacy, and my colleagues are writing about numeracy and sport. Instead of having to bring our separate parts in to work and merge them together, we can create it all at the same time.
The other great thing about it is that it is free – well the first 2 gigabites are anyway, and as you invite more people to join dropbox, your free storage space increases to a maximum of 8 gigabites.
I might not be able to use that free storage space to back up everything on my computer, but its more than enough for my work based needs.
If you want more information about Dropbox you can visit their website here.