For two years, I was the Technology Specialist at a school in Georgia. During that time, I amassed a large collection of websites that I use with my students. You can download my E-Book of Websites for the Elementary Classroom for free from Teachers Pay Teachers or Smashwords, or, you can check back here each week for the website suggestion.
Unfortunately, my computer has had a virus, which means that my computer had to be wiped clean so that we could start from scratch. Yuck!!! Fortunately, I rely almost completely on cloud storage. I do have a few items backed up on a flash drive “just in case”, but everything of importance is out there in internet la la land. Luckily, this means that while I may have to re-install a few programs, all of my files, pictures, and data are backed up. To celebrate my luck, I thought I would share with you my favorite types of cloud storage. These websites can be used for your personal and teaching files, but they are also a great way to have students back up their work without having to keep students working only on one computer, or ask students to bring in flash drives.
For anyone not familiar with cloud storage, this is a way of saving your documents on a large server that you can access from any computer, anywhere, rather than on a local disc or computer hard drive. Most cloud storage offers you some for free, and then more at a cost. I tend to be rather cheap and choose to stay within the free range and simply diversify my files. Here are my favorite types of cloud storage and some facts, pros and cons of each:
1. Dropbox – Dropbox allows you to download their app to multiple computers, which means that you can save the items directly into your Dropbox folder in exactly the same way that you would save files to your desktop or to a flash drive. If you do not have access to the computer that your Dropbox is loaded on, you can upload files directly to Dropbox utilizing their website. Dropbox starts you out with 2 gigabytes of free space and then you can “earn” more space in a variety of ways, including tweeting about their website. You can also purchase more space, of course.
2. Copy – Copy also allows you to dowload their app to multiple computers, allowing you to save the ite ms directly into your Copy folder. You can also upload files directly to Copy utilizing their website. Copy starts you out with 15 gigabytes of free space and then you can “earn” more space by referring your friends. You can also purchase more space, of course.
3. Google Docs – Google Documents, which has now been renamed Google Drive, allows you to upload your files directly onto their website. This works very well with PDF and XLS (Excel) documents, but not always in Word and PowerPoint, as the formatting is often thrown off by their system. However, the benefit of Google Docs is that you can create brand new documents right in their website. Also, if you set your share settings correctly, you can have more than one person editing the same document simultaneously, which is a great way to build lists and compile documents collaboratively. Google Docs gives you 15 gigabytes for free, but this includes anything you have saved in your G-mail and Google + Photos.
4. Photobucket – Photobucket is used specifically for photos and videos. You can upload and organize photos and videos, as well as share them with others in either public or private (with a password) formats. I have used this as a great way to share class photos with my parents while keeping them private. Photobucket will give you 2 gigabytes for free if you use it solely on your computer, but if you choose to use the app on a tablet or phone, you can “earn” up to 8 gigabytes.
5. Edmodo – In addition to being a great way to connect with your students and other teachers, Edmodo is a great place to store your teacher resources. Edmodo offers you a Library and gives you unlimited storage space as long as each file can be no bigger than 100 MB. In addition, this gives you the opportunity to share these resources with other teachers (depending on your privacy settings) and even better, to share them directly with your class. I have used this multiple times to assign projects and internet scavenger hunts to my students. This prevents the students from “losing” their homework, because they can always print another!
6. Amazon Cloud Drive – Amazon allows you two different types of cloud storage. First you have a Cloud Drive, which allows you to upload any type of file to it. These files must be uploaded and downloaded via the website. Amazon offers you 5 gigabytes for free. In addition, Amazon offers a free Amazon Cloud Player, which is designed for MP3s. You can upload 250 songs for free (and download more from their store). You can then play these songs through their player, which can be played on your computer or a device. I have used this in my classroom to create playlists that the kids listen to – straight from my computer - during silent writing and independent work time. So much easier than bringing in a separate MP3 player or a bunch of CD’s.
7. LiveBinders – I use this website for my students’ online portfolios, but in addition, this is a great way to store and sort your resources into binders. LiveBinders will give you 100 megabytes for free, and of course you can purchase additional space.
8. Presentation Software: If you are trying to save Power Points, you may want to consider some other presentation software, like Prezi, or Powtoon. These websites allow you to create presentations and save them on their own cloud storage.
What is your favorite cloud storage?