How I Use It
I use DropBox to share photos of student artwork with the class. My students make digital portfolios where they upload images of their artwork. I take pictures of their projects and then place them into a DropBox folder so that students can find their image and download it onto their personal computer. They then edit the photo and upload it to their website. This saves me a lot of time and gives the students ownership of their own photos. I like the independence they gain by finding their own photo in the dropbox folder, downloading it and using it for their portfolio.
Dropbox has some kinks, but is good for basic file sharing with students. It is an easy way for a whole class to have access to the same documents on their personal computers (both at home and at school). At the middle school level, it also helps students learn about the importance of backing up information and gives them insight into cloud storage. My students are 6th grade level and are part of a 1:1 Mac laptop initiative at our school. Using Dropbox with them teaches them how to back-up the data on their computers and provides them with an easy way to organize their files and keep them safe.
One of the key aspects to Dropbox for me is the ease of use and the fact that it saves time in the classroom. Prior to using Dropbox, I either had to individually email images to students or needed students to take their own images. Now, I can take the pictures outside of class and upload them to Dropbox. This means that I spend less time emailing and the students spend less time taking pictures. Because I want the focus of the learning experience to be the creation of digital portfolio websites, Dropbox ensures that students can focus more class time on that activity rather than get bogged down with taking pictures and uploading them.
Dropbox isn't perfect though! I do wish that it was harder for individual students to change the contents of a folder within DropBox. I've had situations where students have deleted the entire contents of the folder by accident!