Monday, December 16, 2013

Dropbox - Why You Shouldn't Need Your USB Again

If you are still toting around and trying to keep track of your USB thumb-drives and moving files from your home and work computers that way, read this article about the cloud storage solution that is free for the everyday user. Best of all...Dropbox syncs with Moodle as a file repository!

Dropbox is a cloud storage solution that is free for the everyday user. Dropbox will start you out with 2GB of storage space when you first sign up. You can increase your free space by sending referrals for Dropbox to your friends and colleagues. You can also purchase additional storage with prices starting at $9.99 per month.

Getting Started with Dropbox:
  1. Go to and create a user account. (Don't forget the user name and password you used as you will need these when you log into Dropbox from other computers and/or devices.)
  2. Install the Dropbox desktop client onto all computers that your regularly work on. This will add Dropbox as a file storage location within your computer.
  3. Download the Dropbox app onto any mobile devices you use such as your Smartphone or iPad.
Basic Features of Dropbox:
  • When saving a file - choose Dropbox as the location. Your file will automatically be synced with all of your other devices. Drag an existing file into your Dropbox to save it in the Cloud.
  • Create folders within Dropbox to keep your files organized. 
  • Share folders or single files with others for collaboration. Changes that are made to the file will automatically sync for all the users. 
    • Eliminates the need to send large attachments over email.
    • Reduces confusion on which file version is the latest.
    • Shares family photo albums - as you add new photos to the album everyone you have shared the album with automatically has access to the photos.
    • No limit to the number of people who can share a folder.
  • If you are using a computer that you normally don't use such as in a campus computer lab, log into and download your file from there. You have access to your files from ANY computer or device with Internet access.
  • Camera Uploads: This is an optional automatic feature that will upload all the photos you take with your Apple devices and/or Smartphone to your Dropbox account.
  • Drag and drop files from your Dropbox folder into your Moodle course.
  • Store any type of file in Dropbox.
More information:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Using Pinterest for Education

You have probably heard of this social media tool… but can it help you find educational resources? Can it be used for educational purposes?

What is Pinterest? Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. It allows users to organize and share all the great resources that can be found on the web. Educators can browse boards created by other educators to discover resources, lessons, websites, tools, and ideas.  Pinterest is made up of Pins and Boards. A Pin is an image added to Pinterest. A pin can be added from any website using the Pin It Button, or images can be uploaded from a computer. Each pin added using the Pin It Button links back to the site it came from. This creates an archive of materials on a specific subject or topic.  A board is basically a set of pins. A board can be created on any topic, such as a subject area, topic of study, curricular area,  or educational technology tools. Users can add as many pins to a board as they want. These boards can then be shared with others.

 How Can Pinterest Be Used in Education?
  • Curration of Content - resource boards can be used as a visually engaging way to gather and access information
  • Collaboration - collaborative boards can be set up so that multiple users can pin together ideas and resources in order to create one combined visual storage place of information
  • Engaging students with technology - boards can be used as portfolios, for finding and sharing cultural and historical information, for creating a digital newspaper, for creating a photo journal with captions in a foreign language or documenting a trip they took, and for creating a virtual field trip.
  • Sharing conference summaries and notes - presenters share their websites and links to useful information during their lectures. Pinterest provides a platform for accumulating this information and sharing it with colleagues who were unable to attend the conference
  • Finding tutorials on topics that you need to represent on an online course
  • Teaching copyright and digital citizenship - use this as an opportunity to teach students that many images and photos are creative works that need to be appropriately cited when "pinned". Encourage your students to be aware that written permission may be needed in order to "pin" a professional photo.
  • Encouraging creativity - allow students to use their imaginations to create their boards and organize them in a way that is visually stimulating and useful
Note: Keep in mind that Pinterest also includes people outside of education and educators must use discretion if including students. Please check the Pinterest Terms of Use.

Want to learn more about Pinterest in Education? Check out these links: