Starting Up and Using a Cloud Based File Storage System

For years I carted around a keychain with usb keys holding all my most coveted documents. The more documents I had, the bigger my collection of usb keys got. Eventually I moved onto a hard drive but even after a while, that became just a place to backup my computer. What I found was online file storage systems. Places like Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox came around as fast as I could say the word “file” and you know what happened? I left those usb keys in my desk, took a leap of faith, and never had to carry around another file storage piece of hardware again.

Why did I change?

  • It was easier to float from computer to computer without dealing with “incompatibility issues”. I always hated when I had an important paper to print and could not get the computer to read my key because it wasn’t formatted to that system!
  • I’m a forgetful person, I write lists for pretty much everything and would probably forget my head if it wasn’t attached. I would often forget my usb keys and would have to retrieve them!
  • The room for files increase significantly, many times I would have to transfer a movie or audio clip I edited and could not transfer. The size of my Dropbox is ten times bigger than all of my keys and hard drive combined!
  • Even email couldn’t save me, attachment limits on email systems are evil. It’s sometimes a messy way to transfer files from one person to another. In Dropbox or even Google Drive, I can easily share with another person who is halfway across the world and simultaneously work on the same document at the same time.
  • There are so many ways to use it for your teaching.

I have all of the online storage systems you could imagine. From SkyDrive to Dropbox I’ve got it. Each system allows me to keep different things on it.

iCloud: Mac based system that stores all of your purchased music and movies, and most of your files from programs such as Keynote and Pages. I use iCloud for music and movies, it is so convenient to be walking down the hall with my iPod to go teach a class and downloading the new song I purchased on my computer the night before to my iPod Touch without any wires and no where near my computer.

Google Drive: Part of the Google family of products, I find Google Drive great for collaboration and sharing documents. I can put student work up there and privately share with others or publicly. I’m a sci-fi RPG writer and can collaborate with another writer halfway across the country on a new story or can work with another amazing educator on a presentation or important document without ever being in the same room.

SkyDrive: The Microsoft version of iCloud. Our school acquired this system this year when we switched to Microsoft 365. Each one of our students K-12 received a SkyDrive to store their work and have the ability to access it on any computer. This is great for me when I have them work on something, they can save to their SkyDrives from a netbook and then access later from the computer lab. It can be very helpful especially if collaborating on a project with another teacher. Students can work on documents right in Skydrive as well.

Dropbox: I use Dropbox everywhere for personal files. With the ability to access online through the website, on an iDevice, or downloading the program to your desktop. Dropbox is easy and the least stressful way to keep my files. I keep my greetings for my classes updated on there, projects, articles in progress, pretty much everything. What is perfect about the Dropbox program is that even if I forget to print out or grab a file from school to work on at home. I can access my files from one of my machine while lying on the couch and it automatically updates everywhere as soon as I save it.

So how about those usb keys? the Cloud provides so many new ways for collaboration and flawless storage from one devices to another. It opens up so many more opportunities for you and and your students.


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