One of today’s topics of discussion was file sharing and the use of various facilities to create personal e-Portfolios. The e-Portfolio aspect of this discussion is certainly something that has taxed me for a long time and one that I have had a few goes at creating.I used to use e-Snips (http://www.esnips.com) http://grab.by/57O0 (Screen shot) and to promote it as “my own VLE” but over the years it has become unsuitable for use due to the way it has evolved. It now has a tremendous amount of adverts http://grab.by/57Oo (Screen shot) not all of which are appropriate for use in an education setting. So, although it is there and although it offers up to 5 gigabytes of free storage (with sharing options), I choose not to use it. This is a real shame because it used to be the way I easily shared files with colleagues and people who had attended sessions I’d delivered.
Instead, I now use Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/) for storing most of my files. The benefit of Dropbox, is that I can access my files from any computer I use, provided it is connected to the internet. Where one has the software downloaded and installed on computers (I have mine on my Mac, my XP machine and my Vista machine) even the internet isn’t needed. Files altered or added to the offline version are synchronised between all machines as and when they do go online. If we like, we can share individual folders on Dropbox (which I have done on several occasions) for all sorts of reason. I have a folder I share with my wife, because it’s easier for us to share particular documents that way (easier than email or saving to external media); I have a folder I share with colleagues when working on collaborative projects and an further folder I share with my iTQ assessor. Furthermore, I have the Dropbox App on my iPhone – which allows me to view most of my documents pretty much anywhere T-Mobile allow me to have a connection! This is my real portfolio now.
To make the portfolio have more value and to stop filling up the 2 gigabyte free space, I also use YouTube http://www.youtube.com; to store video and http://www.flickr.com to store images. This saves room because each of these services provide embed and share codes which direct the viewer back to the hosting site – meaning that the portfolio document need only contain the code (URL).
Other facilities I’ve used are Scribd (see in use http://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/building-vles/) for presenting word processed files online and Tiny Grab (see http://grab.by/57S7 for example) for sharing screen shots.
Use of these facilities makes my working life, my social life and my learning life much easier, whenever I have a need to share or access any form of digital documentation. They could easily be put to effective educational use if only institutions were able to agree on an acceptable use policy.