I am back for more Tech Talk Tuesday! Did you miss any in the series? Click here!
I am inviting all my educator friends to link up to discuss something you love pertaining to technology in the classroom! Maybe it is a teacher tip, maybe a student tip, or maybe it is just something amazing you hope to do one day! Either way, check out the links below and join the party!
Today I want to talk about something that changed my life – professionally and personally – cloud storage. I am still SHOCKED at how many people do not use some sort of cloud storage, whether it be Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Box, Amazon Cloud, etc. I use a combination and it has saved me countless hours and many tears. If you have ever left a file at school or home, or had a hard drive crash, then Dropbox will save your life. (I speak of Dropbox because this is my primary form of storage, but you could easily sub any other service of your choice).
Three years ago I saved up for a long time and got a sparkling new Macbook Air. A day later, my 3 year old spilled an entire glass of milk on it. It was TOAST!!! (Luckily I had bought it on American Express so they paid the bill!). Though I was distraught over the loss of the computer, I never even once blinked at the thought of losing a file. All I did was pick up an old laptop, reinstall Dropbox and everything appeared right where it was supposed to be!
So what is Dropbox/Cloud storage?
Basically Dropbox is a Cloud-based folder system that functions just like “My Documents” on your computer. Once Dropbox is installed, use the Dropbox folder as your home folder like you once used the “My Documents” folder. Now, any file you save to your Dropbox will also automatically save to all your computers, phones, and the Dropbox website. Google Drive takes it a step further – if you are working on a file in the cloud, you can simultaneously work on the same document! (I promise, it is very weird to see typing appear on your screen when you have done nothing!).
This means you can start working on your computer at school and finish on your home computer without having to email yourself a file! I can’t tell you how many times I used to just kick myself for forgetting that lesson plan that was 75% done at school. Or what about the time I left my laptop at home and all my lesson material was on it? No worries with cloud computing! I just opened my desktop at work and bam! – they were there! You can also download them from the website if you are on a computer that you don’t own!
A friend of mine posted on facebook that she sat at school for 2 hours waiting on her files to backup to an external drive – WHAT?!?!? Don’t do that!! Get cloud storage! Your files are ALWAYS backed up! If you are still concerned about the safety of your files, feel free to back them up elsewhere as well, but I feel cloud storage is very secure these days. Plus, I once had my external drive stolen from my desk. Bummer.
Sounds great…but I need more storage?
Well to start with, you can sign up with Dropbox with this link and we both get some extra storage! Also, you can either 1) earn more storage by sharing with others or 2) buy more storage. Sometimes the extra money is worth it.
I actually play the system a little bit. I use Dropbox for most of my stuff but lately, I have been collecting more clipart than my little Dropbox can handle! So I added some free Box.com and Google Drive accounts. It really bothered me that they weren’t all together, though! So what I do, is use Dropbox as my main folder and then create an Alias or Shortcut to the folder I want and continue to organize as desired! As long as I have the various services installed on my computers, it works great! See an example:
See? Pictures and Purchases are actually in Google Drive even though they are in my Dropbox! An Alias is just a way to set a location marker for the right file!
So what else is this good for?
Not enough, eh? Well I also use Dropbox to collaborate. My team at school has a shared dropbox folder that we can drop documents in as needed. When I need to put in notes from leadership meetings or other grade level meetings, I just pop them in there. No emailing copies of notes – they just automatically appear in that person’s folder! Just be aware of any edits they make – you can change the settings for the folder so it is read only 🙂
I also use cloud services to easily share files between my iPad, iPhone, etc. Many, many apps now play very nicely with Dropbox – I just upload to Dropbox and go! I also have my iPad and iPhone set to upload photos to Dropbox. I still pull them into my photo applications later, but I know they are always backed up! I do NOT want to lose photos of my precious kids!
So…go now! Get Dropbox! You won’t regret it!
Wrapping Things Up
My final advice? When in doubt, bake cookies! (Pillsbury makes an excellent pull apart cookie dough, I must say). A dozen cookies on someone’s desk can make them feel warm and gooey inside (pun intended). This strategy has been around since the beginning of time and is a tried and true method.
If you are new at school and looking for lessons for the first day, you might also enjoy this post on first day lesson plans!
Who did I miss? Any other key people in school we should add?
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