Having a digital classroom means a few different things:
1. You have less stacks of paper
2. It is (generally) easier to keep track of student work
3. “The dog ate my homework” isn’t a viable excuse anymore
4. Note taking needs to take a new form
5. You need another method of sharing work that doesn’t involve handing papers from one person to another
Clearly, number 5 on this list is the one that will cause you the most thought these days, unless your dog is into eating computers – and then you have a bigger problem on your hands. Lots of things need to be shared. Students need to hand in their work, teachers need to offer feedback on said work, students need to share their collaborative work, and teachers need to share classroom information and tools of all variety. Luckily, there are tons of different tools out there that can enable you to share nearly any type of file (from .doc/.docx and .ppt to .mov, .mp3/4 , .zip and more!). There’s a lot of info out there on different cloud storage services – which are a great way to share files – but many of these are business focused and not as classroom friendly. We’ve put together a short list of some of our favorite methods of file sharing so that you, your colleagues, and your students can spend more time on the good stuff and less time trying to figure out how to get the information to one another.
Dropbox comes up on nearly everyone’s list of easy file sharing tools. They offer 2GB of free storage, easy offline access, the ability to send files to Dropbox via email, and simple sharing. If you have huge documents (or just very high volume), you’ll need to either pony up the cash for a premium account, or get your friends to sign up, give them shout outs on social media, give feedback, etc.
Google Drive! It’s free! It integrates super easily with other Google products (many of which you probably already use in your classroom). The drawback is that if you need to share with folks who don’t have Google Drive/Gmail, you’ll run into an issue there. You get 15GB of free storage, and paid options beyond that.
This is basically Microsoft’s answer to Google Drive, from what I can tell. You get 7GB of space for free, and it integrates exceptionally well if you’re an MS Office user. If you’re not, it doesn’t make a ton of sense, but many classrooms are using Office these days.
Apple’s version of cloud storage service offers you 5GB free, and paid options beyond that. Easy to set up and use (even on PC). If your classroom is all Apple-based, this one is a must have.
Box offers 10GB free storage with paid options beyond that, easy sharing of documents and folders, and easy to use regardless of platform or device.