Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013
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Dropbox

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Handy cloud storage and document sharing

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
8-12
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (59 Reviews)
3

Take a look inside

5 images

Pros: Users can access files from any device or computer and can easily share with others.

Cons: Simpler solutions exist for file storage and sharing, and many offer more free space than Dropbox.

Bottom Line: Dropbox can make work and life in the digital world more efficient, but it may not be the best cloud-based solution for kids.

Teachers interested in getting students set up with cloud-based storage should consider all options. Students might take to Dropbox, but a product like Edmodo offers unlimited storage within an educational space kids already access on a daily basis (if you're using it). Still, this tool can help organize your life. Students can create shared folders with documents for groups to work on collaboratively and can turn in projects or papers to an assigned folder. One feature allows you to see deleted files, which can help mitigate accidental deletions or mistaken corrections. It also serves as a storage system for syllabi, notes to parents, assignments sheets, or rubrics for students, and files can be accessed at home, at school, on tablets, and on phones.

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Dropbox is a cloud-based storage system that allows users to upload and access files from multiple devices. Files that are too large to be emailed transfer without a problem. Documents can be shared with anyone by emailing them a link.

After creating a free account with Dropbox, you can upload files -- including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, text, PDFs, music, video, and images -- and access them from other computers or a mobile device (or multiple devices). You can share files, folders, and links to documents with anyone, even people without a Dropbox account. Your files can be shared and edited by people who do have Dropbox accounts, and you can "star" certain files to make them available offline for review. Deleted documents can be recovered, giving data some security when multiple participants are working on a document. Dropbox is available on both Android and iOS devices and on Kindle Fire and Blackberry.

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Dropbox can introduce students to cloud-based file storage, which has become a common way to organize electronic documents in schools and the workplace. However, many learning-management systems offer file-storage solutions that are easier to use and more integrated with classroom work and communications. Still, it's a versatile tool for inside and outside the classroom.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
2

The interface may be challenging for kids, making it a less attractive option for cloud-based storage and file sharing. But once they get the hang of it, students might appreciate this organizational tool.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

As a productivity and collaboration tool, Dropbox helps kids learn how cloud-based storage works across devices. Kids can also develop basic organizational skills to serve them in future academic and job-related settings.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Dropbox is easy to use, and the developer offers video tutorials as well as ideas for use on its website.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
(See all 59 reviews) (59 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Andrea C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Mingo Central High School
Delbarton, WV
4
Drop Your Assignment Here!

Dropbox supports learning beyond the product by allowing students to build, utilize, and be accountable for their work. My students not only use it for my class, but have found it useful in other classes as well. I use Dropbox to build assignments and create lesson plans that I can access from home and school. This prevents me from having to carry my computer from place to place or having to worry about losing a USB drive.
There is also a Dropbox application for the I-phone that I use. If I find valuable resources or items that I want to share with my students, I can simply snap a pic and place it in my Dropbox. Unfortunately, our school has had to resort to a no cell phone policy so using Dropbox allows me to access items without the use of my phone. In my opinion, Dropbox has changed my classroom. It allows my students and me the opportunity to share, save and record information current as well as later use. I am able to save items in my Dropbox and then post them into my learning management system.

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