Sunday, March 11, 2012

4 Ways School Administrators Can Use Dropbox

Dropbox is on my short list of must-have school administrator web tools. It offers users and easy-to-use application and any-device access. Dropbox is my virtual file cabinet that follows me around 24 hours a day. But the truth is, this web app can offer school administrators so much more beyond scrapping flash drives and DVDs. With a little thought, it can streamline quite a few things we do. Here's four big ways to use Dropbox as a 21st century administrator.

  • Online Faculty/Staff Most-Used-Form Repository:  How many times has a staff member asked for a copy of that time-sheet adjustment form or the parent contact log? If you're like me, you've emailed it out as a attachment over and over again. Why not take advantage of Dropbox's folder sharing capability and create a folder called "Most-Used Forms" and share that folder with the entire staff? Of course they will all have to get Dropbox accounts, but they should have one anyway. A "Most-Used Forms Folder" will allow you to share all those forms and update them with ease by simply adding new files and forms as they become available.
  • Bragging Item Collection Folder: Why not create a shared Dropbox folder entitled "Bragging Items"? Then, you can invite staff members to upload files such as news releases, copies of articles, and photos to this folder. Over time, you can use contributions from staff to create a virtual library of items your school can boast about.
  • Portable File Cabinet: My 2-drawer file cabinet in the office sits at only 1 drawer half full. In an age of technology, my personal rule of thumb is, "If it can stay electronic, why waste a tree to print it?" I rarely print anything. I simply dump these items into my Dropbox folder. No, I do not create forty folders corresponding to all the areas of administration, such as buses, discipline, or testing. I dump them all in one folder. With computer files being fully searchable, who needs all those folders? You usually spend more time trying to figure out which folder you saved it in than the time it would take to do a Windows search and find it. My file cabinet not longer sits in my office, it is with me 24 hours a day and accessible from any device.
  • Staff Document Collection Tool: With Dropbox, there's no longer a need to ask staff to send documents to you. Simply create a folder, share it with them, and tell them to drag the docs in. For example, why take up emergency lesson plans? Create an "Emergency Lesson Plan" folder, share it, and tell staff to put electronic copies in the folder. You can use this method with any document collection task involving staff or even parents.
I know there are many other ways to engage in using Dropbox (and other cloud options) in a manner that make our jobs as administrators easier. The bottom line is, cloud computing has not only made aspects of teaching more efficient and effective, it has also made school administration more efficient and effective too.

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