One of the absolute greatest facets of the web world is the ability to collaborate with others, wherever they may be. The amount of collaboration that is possible in the Web 2.0 world is simply astounding. No longer do people have to be in the same place at the same time, travel long distances for face to face meetings, or send documents back and forth by snail mail. Whether you are time zones apart, or right next door, you can collaborate on and share documents, programs, websites, videos, audio, or whatever else, in real-time or on your own time.
Two of the most useful collaboration tools today are GoogleDocs and Dropbox. We will be working with these two great “things” for the duration of Week 7.
GoogleDocs is a free tool that allows users to share and collaborate on documents (text docs, spreadsheets and more) and keep everything stored online for easy access by all parties involved. Users working on a shared document in GoogleDocs can make simultaneous edits (which can be tracked according to which user made the edits) or can add to documents when it is convenient for them. GoogleDocs is a great tool for educators to help students collaborate on projects and peer-edit work, or for teachers and school librarians to collaborate amongst themselves for a variety of issues or projects.
Get Acquainted with Google Docs:
- Check out the presentation Overview for Educators
- Review the Basics of GoogleDocs
- Review the four main types of collaborative tools- Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Drawings
- Create one of each type of documents and invite your colleagues, friends, family or other participants here to collaborate with you.
Dropbox is another important collaboration tool, and is also useful on a personal level as a sort of online storage drive where you can store files in order to be able to access them when you are away from your computer. By signing up for Dropbox, you are given 2 GB of online storage space where you can upload files of all types and access them from wherever you have internet access. You can also share items in your dropbox by creating links that you can send to others so that they can access the files stored in your Dropbox. Dropbox is free for up to 2GB of storage, so if you use it more as a temporary flash drive, or just need to transfer files to another individual for a short period of time, you should have plenty of space to work with. If you really love Dropbox, however, you can always upgrade and purchase more space too!
Get Started with Dropbox:
- Go to Dropbox.com and in the right hand corner click the login dropdown on the upper right hand sign to create an account.
- After creating an account, return to the homepage and download the Dropbox program onto your computer (this program will help you to sync files to your dropbox account).
- Take the Tour to get acquainted with Dropbox’s features
- Create a couple of Directory in your account to help sort the files you will be uploading (e.g. Documents, Photos, and Music)
- Upload a couple of files to the various directories you created (try uploading different file types)
- Create a link to share one of your files with a friend, colleague, or other participant here and send it to them
- If you have an iPhone or Android, download the Dropbox app to be able to access your files from your phone, or upload files from your phone
Blog Post for Week 7:
Reflect on your experiences playing with both GoogleDocs and Dropbox. Some things you may consider discussing:
Did you have any difficulties in using the tools, or did you feel they were user-friendly? How can you see yourself using GoogleDocs or Dropbox in your professional life? In your personal life? Which tool did you like better? Did you use either of these prior to being a part of this program?