How I Use It
I love using Dropbox with my students. I started the year off excited about using tech with my students, but quickly realized that they were missing some basic file management skills. They had spent 7th grade using Google Docs with Hapara and so never had to do any file management. Files were automatically saved for them. Files were named and organized for them (through Hapara). I felt that one of my goals for the year was to teach basic file management. In addition, I use both ipads (1:1) and laptops with them and so needed a way to organize files so that students could go between devices (and home) while I needed a way to share files and folders with students. Dropbox to the rescue!
When starting Dropbox with the students, we set up accounts using laptops. Students (through their school laptop managed login) syned their online Dropbox accounts with the laptops. I set up a shared class folder for me to use with the students, and the students set up individual folders for their classes in their own accounts.
Dropbox is easy to use on the ipad--students can easily send their files to dropbox directly from the application they are working in. The one thing that students had to learn to remember is that on the ipad, each time they used a file, they had to download the file, modify the file, and then reupload the file to Dropbox. For some students, this was difficult and so they needed to practice this several times before it sank in.
I have tried to go paperless this year, and Dropbox has helped tremendously. Instead of giving out handouts, I upload them to the appropriate shared folder. I set up shared folders as "turn in work" folders, and once the assignment is turned in, I am able move the folder to my desktop for grading. Students share folders with each other when working on projects. This is especially useful for large files.
I think that having students use Dropbox as a file management and storage system is a great idea. It forces students to learn how do file management correctly and allows students to access their work from any device and any place. I can share files with them, and they can share files with each other. This aids in collaboration, and reduces the need for handouts (which my students inevitably lose). Students learned how to name and store files.