Monday, July 27, 2009

Dropbox Offers Dynamic Collaboration (and Storage) for Format Intensive Documents

By Dana Lawit

Whether you're going green or going lean, paperless is the wave of the future. Both teachers and students can benefit from going digital. For learners, digital documents offer a dynamic tool that allows documents to change as rapidly as individuals can collaborate. For this sort of work, I'm a huge fan of GoogleDocs. But if you're finicky about tables, or want greater control over format there are limitations.

Enter Dropbox. Dropbox is an online file hosting service with a couple of neat features:
  1. store your documents online
  2. download Dropbox software to create a synchronized folder on your local hard drive that will connect to your online storage
  3. the first 2gb of storage is free (50gb & 100gb are available for $99 & $199 annually)
  4. you can share folders, that is invite others to share your virtual folder
I had read about Dropbox several months ago on Steve Hargadon's site, but hadn't gotten around to using it until recently when I was designing student materials that needed specific formatting.

Not sure I'll use this with students, but will definitely save any teacher or team time while supporting collaboration on more formatting intensive documents.

How are you using Dropbox?


  1. I love Dropbox! I've been using it for a couple of years to share movies, pictures and other files with my friends.

    Now it's more useful to me than ever since I have to sync personal files between my home laptop and work computer. So all those files that I work on at work, instead of emailing them to myself, I just store them in my Dropbox folder and they get automatically updated to the server and then my home laptop. So seamless!

  2. How is this different than using google docs?

  3. @Sheryl. The main difference is that drop box is just a folder on your computer that gets synced with your internet drop box and folders you can designate on other computers. So when you edit you open it up with an application on your computer. I try to make my student materials really fun and engaging, so I add borders, or clip art, arrows -- I couldn't really do this using GoogleDocs. So to sum up, I think the main difference is that if you're having a limitation with an application in GoogleDocs (or any other online program), DropBox is a nice alternative.