Monday, 24 February 2014

Collaboration Tools (2) Dropbox

This is my second blog about collaboration tools. This time I want to tell you about Dropbox. Like Google Drive, Dropbox is a cloud storage service that lets you share files with your group members.

I have to say from the beginning that Dropbox is my favourite of the two. Over the past couple of years, Dropbox and QR codes have become good friends of mine! Anyway, I'll explain why I prefer Dropbox to Google Drive a little later.

To start, go to the Dropbox homepage and sign up for an account. Once that is done, click on the 'Download Dropbox' button to download the free Dropbox desktop application. Once downloaded, click on the Dropbox icon to install the application on your computer. A Dropbox icon will appear on the toolbar of your computer. Next, enter your email, Dropbox password (which you created earlier) and log in to Dropbox.

Click on the Dropbox icon on your toolbar and open a Dropbox window. You can now drag and drop your files into Dropbox. It is as simple as that. Now, wherever you are, you can access all your files (photos, slide shows, essays, etc.) by going to your Dropbox folder.

Once in Dropbox, you can create various folders for all your different documents. To work on a file with your group members, simply click the 'Share a Folder' button and you can create a new folder just for sharing or share a folder already made. You now type in the email addresses of the students you want to share with and click the 'Share Folder' button. With their email link, your group member will have access to all the files in that folder.

Dropbox and Google Drive are both excellent. Google Drive gives you more free storage, so it's good to use for large files like videos. However, overall, I find Dropbox a little bit more flexible and easier to use. For example, with Dropbox you can share using a link or a shared folder. Also, it works really well with my iPad, allowing me to move files easily to my MacBook laptop computer.

To sum up, I think you probably need to use both Dropbox and Google Drive. Together, they will really make group work a lot easier the next time your teacher asks you to collaborate on a presentation or video project.

Also, don't just use Dropbox or Google Drive for group work. Use them for all your files, all the time.  Put the apps on your smartphone and you'll have access to all your files at home, on campus and on the train!

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