This is the tenth installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. You can check out the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!
Mission #10: Distribute Student Assignments through Shared Folders
Once my students had their iPads, I needed to figure out a way to get their work out to them. At first I tried using Edmodo, but that proved to be a bit glitchy for assignments where I wanted students to work with the materials in a different app like GoodReader. I needed to figure out an easy to manage workaround. Welcome back, Dropbox!
To do this, I created a new folder on Dropbox called “Student Assignments.” I then right-clicked on the folder to pull up the option to “share link.”
This pulls up a new window that shows the internal content of the folder in the background. Here, you could enter in a bunch of email addresses, but I prefer to click on “Get link.” This copies a link to your clipboard for you to paste somewhere else.
Once I had the link to the folder, I put it in a highly visible spot on my class website. My students use my class website constantly, so getting to the link was easy for them once they knew where to find it.
Once the folder was shared, I started to create the internal contents of the folder. I created 6 folders inside — one for each day of the week and an archive folder.
I numbered the days of the week to control the order of the files. Dropbox will alphabetize the folders otherwise.
As I gather resources or assignments that I want students to access, I save them as pdf files and I just put them in the folder to match the day that I expect them to do the assignment. At the end of the week, I move everything into the Archive folder, and I start over creating the assignments for next week.
This system has worked incredibly well for me! Here’s why:
- Items in Dropbox sync immediately, so if we’re in the middle of working on something and I realize that I’ve forgotten to give students something that would be helpful, I can just drag it into the folder. I don’t have to sprint down to the copier.
- It’s the ultimate organizer for absent students. If a kid misses class on Tuesday, they (and their parents) know to go to the Tuesday folder to see what assignments are there. There’s no more worrying about lost papers or assignments.
- The archive folder provides a great back-up for lost work. If a parent can’t find a reading or a study guide to help before a test, there’s an easy place to go to see all of the work.
- It only requires a one-time set-up. Since I’m sharing the external folder and not the individual folders or assignments, I can change out what’s inside the folder without having to get a new link to share.
- It doesn’t require any log-ins or sign-ups from my students. They don’t have email yet, and they don’t have Dropbox accounts of their own, but that doesn’t matter. Accessing shared files on Dropbox doesn’t require a log-in of any sort.
I’ve been incredibly happy with this system. Everything that I would have copied in the past has been easily distributed through my shared folder in Dropbox.
What are some other ways you could use shared folders in Dropbox? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.