Dropbox is an oft-covered program here at Make Use Of, and for good reason. It’s an incredibly useful app for moving files between computers, or keeping a copy of your most important files in the cloud. However, that isn’t all Dropbox is great for; it is also great for helping students keep their files as mobile as they are. There are a myriad of reasons why every student should have Dropbox in their arsenal of study tools.
Read on for just a few of them!
1. Switch Between Computers With Ease
One of the primary reasons students need laptops at school is for the sake of portability. However, with Dropbox, you could be stuck with a desktop and still be able to access your work from anywhere. I own a laptop and a netbook, so anytime I’m working on a project or an article, I drop the associated files into my Dropbox, and after it syncs, it’ll be online and ready for me to use at any other computer.
One of the most convenient features of Dropbox is that you can access your files not only from the Dropboxes synced with your account, but also from Dropbox’s website. That means you can access your files from any computer, even rental laptops at school. You won’t have to remember to bring along an USB stick ever again.
For even more convenience, you can use a syncing utility like SyncBackSE, and schedule it to run every night, syncing Dropbox with any folder on the computer containing your homework. Then, you can be sure that you’ll always have the most updated version of your essays and notes the next morning.
2. Keep Your Parents Up To Date
Maybe you don’t have release forms to sign anymore, but for (previously) underage teenagers like me, there are release forms for everything. In addition to those, I had Chinese assignments that I always had my parents spell check for me. For parents who are as technology-impaired as mine, it was always easier for me to tell them to pull a file out of a designated folder.
If you’re the type who likes writing home, now you can save money on paper and stamps by just typing out your letter and dropping it into your Dropbox. Or, you can leave your parents lists of things you need mailed to you, or nicely phrased requests for money.
3. Be Smarter About Collaborating On Projects
Until now, Google Docs was one of the go-to tools for collaborating on projects. Unfortunately though, you need to have a Gmail account in order to utilize the sharing and editing prowesses of Google Docs to their full potential. Nowadays, that might not be too hefty of a requirement, but it does mean that the adamant Yahoo and Hotmail users are out of luck, unless they wanted a completely new email account.
Luckily for them, Dropbox doesn’t require so extensive a commitment to use its features. Although those who you want to share folders with will have to sign up for an account before they can access the files, the sign up process is quick and relatively painless. If you really don’t want to deal with sign ups though, each file in the Public folder has a link associated with it that you can share with anyone you’d like.
The best part about Dropbox as a collaborative tool, is that two people can edit the same file simultaneously. In that situation, Dropbox saves two distinct copies of the same files, each with a person’s edits to ensure that both edits are preserved. Further, there is no need to have endless email chains back and forth in order to keep each other updated on the latest going-ons of the project. With Dropbox, all that your collaborators need to do is just open up the Dropbox folder, and pull out the most recent version of the file.
So today, I’ve given you a few more (hopefully) compelling reasons to use Dropbox. Personally, Dropbox has made switching between my laptop and netbook a lot less painful than it otherwise would have been. Perhaps you’ll find it will do the same for you.
Do you have any other ways of keeping your files with you on the move? Let us know by leaving a comment!