Technology Integration Bootcamp #4: Storage and Sharing Files

March 2014 is Organization month! By popular request, we talked about cloud storage and where to put stuff (for Students and Staff/Faculty).

At U Prep, our community has access to a number of ways to store files and move them between multiple devices. With this number of resources available, all with pros and cons, there are questions about when to use different methods and how best to keep organized. As personal computing moves from “One computer, multiple people” to “One user, multiple devices,” how we organize and access our materials continues to evolve. Based on our conversations, here are our recommendations and important things to know about storage for U Prep members.

Straight to the Point

The “essential skills” for students at University Prep:

Do you need help with any of these? See the links, and then get in contact with Mr. Tillinghast!

Learn to Love the Google Drive Client (Laptop Users)

The Google Drive Client allows you to create Google Drive as a folder on your computer, just like your Documents folder or any other folder in which you save your files. The sync runs automatically, so you don’t have to manually upload or download the files.

All U Prep users have Google Drive accounts through their @universityprep.org e-mail addresses. In addition, you can also have access to a OneDrive account (previously called SkyDrive Pro) through Microsoft. While this works for Windows machines, it is still at this point limited for iPads and Macs.

Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and many other options follow the same model (cloud storage with clients that you can install on your computer). All cloud storage options have a couple of concerns worth mentioning: first and foremost, if you only access them through the website, you will need an Internet connection to access your files. If you have the sync clients installed, though, they will download the file to your computer so that you can access at any time, and sync the changes when the computer finds a network connection again.

Other Options

There are legit concerns about cloud computing, including privacy and security. In addition to the cloud model, there are other options available to you at U Prep.

Local Network Storage

We have several virtual “drives” which can be set up to your computer in order to give you access to storage and files. These include the S:\ (students), T:\ (shared) and W:\ (staff) drives. On Macs, they appear as Rio and Bazaar. These are owned and backed up by University Prep, which alleviates some of the security concerns, but to access them from off-campus, you have to use the Citrix login. If you would like to use these drives but are unsure how to access them (or if they’re set up on your computer), please contact the Help Desk.

Syncing for Multiple Computers (for Staff)

One other advantage of the local network storage is that you can use it between multiple computers on campus. For example, if you use a desktop in your office to work on files, then log in to a computer in a classroom, you’ll have access to the same files and settings. In order for this to work, you must log out of the first computer to force the sync to upload your changes before you can access the edited file on the second. Unlike with the Google Drive client, your changes are not synced automatically– only when you log out of the computer on which you were working. If you are using a couple of computers pretty regularly, it’s recommended to install the Drive client on each in order to keep your files current. 

Google Drive for iOS

Google Drive works very well as a storage system for iPads. While editing Documents is still limited, most apps can now save files to and open files out of Google Drive. Installing the Google Drive app opens up this link between all of your apps and your Google Drive account. You can also use Google Drive to share files with other iPad users just like sharing anything else from within Google Drive– just remember that the person on the other end has to have an app which can open the file, too!

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