Digital Drop by, App #5: Clear Audio Dropboxes

Clear Audio Dropboxes: http://clear.msu.edu/teaching/online/ria/audioDropbox/

http://clear.msu.edu/teaching/online/ria/audioDropbox/collector1.swf

(This feature is part of Michigan State University’s tool kit.)

Synopsis: MSU created an audio/visual dropbox that can be embedded into any Webpage or blog. First, the creator must develop an account with Clear MSU (link listed above). And then, the developer can create as many dropboxes as is necessary. For instance, a teacher may create a dropbox for each class he/she teachers. Each dropbox produces an embed code (labeled as an HTML code) that may be copied and embedded in any blog or Webpage. Once it is embedded, users can access the Webpage where it is located, type in their name into the box. Be sure to have a microphone and/or video device hooked up and ready to go first. Then, it will ask if you allow Camera and Microphone access. Once “Allow” is clicked, the user can press the record button and begin recording. There are pause and stop buttons to help with the recording. When done, simply press stop and the recording will be added to the audio dropbox, which is viewable through the Website listed above.

Integration: Just place the embed code for the audio/video dropbox on any Website or blog and users can access it. At my district, we have primarily used this app for students to submit audio recordings to teachers, especially in the foreign languages. For instance, in a Spanish class, a student can go to wherever the teacher has placed the embedded audio dropbox and record their audio presentation or oral assessment. Later, the teacher can access the dropbox via the Web and listen to all of the recordings. Each recording is listed by the name the user used to identify his/herself. The files can be accessed for as long as necessary. In a journalism class, students can set up dropboxes in order to conduct interviews. By using the dropbox, the students can access the recordings (by name) whenever they need the data. And, with the visual component, any presentation can be created through the dropbox. The MSU dropbox submissions must be created in real-time so they will not accept file uploads. This means that students (or whoever the submitter is) must create the file once they have identified themselves. Therefore, I find this works best for formal or informal assessments as opposed to serving as an online storage space.

You may test out the dropbox above that I created. Record your thoughts regarding this post or digital literacy. You will see how simple it is to make an audio recording!

Dropbox: http://www.dropbox.com/ 

(You will need to download the application onto your hard drive or share/network drive.)

Synopsis: This tool is great for accessing files stored on another computer without having to remotely access the computer or store the files online. First, you must download the application from the Website listed above. As you download it, you will need to select where you want to store it. I tell my teachers to store it onto one of our shared network drives if they want the resource to be accessible to everyone. If you only want it accessible to you, just store it on your hard drive (space permitting). If you don’t want to store it on a network share, you can also choose to share your files by right-clicking on the file or folder, selecting Dropbox, and selecting Share this folder. However, I find it just as easy to install the dropbox on a network share. When you are done with the installation, you will want to move any files you want in the dropbox (or begin saving them in the location) to where you saved your dropbox. If you saved your dropbox in a folder on your hard drive, migrate your files to that folder. Just remember that you can only place 2GB there for free. Lastly, when you want to access your files from any other computer, just go to http://www.dropbox.com/, log in to the account you created during installation. You will see your files there. This does not grant you remote access to your computer, but it does give remote access to your files placed in the dropbox folder.

Integration:  I only recently started using this application since I already use software like LogMeIn that lets me remotely access my computer from a Web browser anywhere. However, this is a great tool for someone who only wants to access a few files. Drop box allows you to store up to 2GB free and then, there is a charge. This is also great for students who want to have a back-up of their files. For instance, if they forget their assignment at home, the student can login to their dropbox account and access the file, granted they saved it in the dropbox folder. Teachers may also place files here for students to access. However, if they are doing so, they will need to share the folder or place the folder in a shared space. Students, then, will each need dropbox accounts. If students are working in groups, they may place files in their dropbox and grant access to their group members and teacher. Within the dropbox, you have the option of placing files in the Public folder. Any file placed in this folder will be given a URL that can be shared via email, a Website/blog, etc. Students wanting to create a Webpage may also use a dropbox to store files so they can access them remotely. Teachers may also set up dropboxes on network drives where students can save their assignments. When the teacher is ready to view the assignments, he/she needs only to login to their dropbox account. The files will be located there for easy access. Though this does not grant remote access to computers, it does provide a secure backup of files for students and teachers.

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