Dropbox Organization Tips for Teachers and the Paperless Classroom

Dropbox is an essential for me. I like apps that link with Dropbox in every way and it is an essential part of my paperless routine with my students. This past Sunday at #txeduchat I was asked some specific questions about how I use Dropbox to take my classroom as paperless as possible, so I thought I’d make it my app of the week and teach you some things that might be helpful.

Dropbox Organization Tips Video


Organization Tips for Dropbox

  • You don’t have to set up all folders to sync with every computer. For example, I don’t want my personal book writing activities or accounting system syncing with school computers.
  • You can earn free space so many ways, by inviting others, even by signing up your class for the  Hour of Code (which is a great thing to do anyway.)
  • Learn how to move photos from your phone to Dropbox but don’t set up automatic photo sync unless you have the pro version of Dropbox.
  • Create a folder in dropbox (particularly if you’re not a pro user) called z-harddrive. I put a z in front of it to automatically put it at the end of my list. Once a month, I take all the files that are in there and put them on the hard drive and out of dropbox.
  • Create a file @junkdrawer where you download everything from the net and set all of your browsers to download to that folder. Then, when you need something you downloaded on one computer, it is there — or if you need space you can quickly clear the downloads folder for all of your machines with one delete. (Based on the file organization methods of Gina Trapani formerly of Lifehacker.)
  • Remember that you CAN get back files students delete – I will show you how to fix that at the end of the tutorial. Show deleted files is an awesome tip.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Eliza Bivins-Fink

    Hi Again! I really like the idea of a paperless classroom and have some questions. Do you have students upload assignments to your Dropbox or is this for you to organize your documents? If you have students use it, have you encountered situations in which students don’t use it because they don’t have internet access at home? Also, can you tell me why you choose to use dropbox instead of Google Docs? Err, Drive? Thanks!

  • Twilts

    Wow this seems like a great tool that can be used for secondary grades. Do you have your students continually working on the computer or do you also use this for homework so they can use it at home for submitting that work as well?

    • http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com coolcatteacher

      I wish that my students all had internet access at home but many do not. Also, I rarely give homework. If I do, it is often on Google Docs or on the wiki where they turn that in. Plus, I use Dropbox mostly for my assignments that are on epaper and many don’t have it set up to print that way at home. I live in a rural area and not everyone has access. That said, I’m sure you could use for homework, although I’ve heard many like apps like Backpack for security reasons.

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  • Brad Sparks

    Hi Vicki,

    For teachers looking to collect digital documents from their students, they may want to take a look at my web application, SubmitBox (https://getsubmitbox.com). SubmitBox is like dropitto.me, but with a lot more features added specifically for teachers. It lets teachers easily collect and organize students’ documents. It also makes a paperless assignment workflow super simple. Students do not need a Dropbox account to use SubmitBox.

    There are currently a few hundred teachers and a few thousand students using the application while it’s still in beta. If anyone is interested in checking it out, they can go to https://getsubmitbox.com. There’s also a video there (a bit dated now) that shows how useful the app can be.

    Brad Sparks
    Founder – SubmitBox