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Free Tools Challenge #17: Using DropBox &

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This is the 17th post in the “30 days to using the best of the web’s free tools for educators” series. Be sure to subscribe to the Teacher Challenge blog by RSS, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter to keep up with future challenge posts as they are published.

This guest post is written by Mr Riley.


In this activity you will:

  1. Learn about DROPbox and
  2. Set up a DROPbox and account.
  3. Challange your students to use this new feature to hand in assignments.

Why I use DROPbox and!

Make managing assignment's quickly became one of my personal success stories this school year.

Students enjoy “DROP’ing” their assignments to me, and I enjoy saving the school district money on paper and printer costs.

I began using DROPbox & in my classroom as a way for students to turn in their assignments.

These two services work together as a team for students to virtually turn in assignments.

I came up with the idea for using these after reading a post on Free Technology for Teachers and wanting to create a greener classroom. As a rule I do not like to use services that are outside of district control.

I feel uncomfortable having students enter in a user name and password for a service that the school system has not approved.  However I also want students exposed to the latest in technology and apply that technology in a useful way to them.

I want the student to say….

“Hey I can use this.” “This is a tool I can use.”

DROPbox is one of these services.

What is DROPbox and

DropboxThink of the DROPbox as a folder on your computer’s hard drive.

The difference with this folder is that you can access the information from any internet device.

My Smartphone has an application where I can access anything in my DROPbox account.

By integrating I receive a personalized URL. I can post or link this URL to my classroom website.

All students need to do to turn in their work:

  1. Go to the personalised URL
  2. Enter a secure password and press login.
  3. Select the file to upload.

And managing their student work is as simple as:

  1. I receive an email that tells me a new file has been uploaded.
  2. I also have the file in my dropbox folder.
  3. Now I am able to evaluate the student’s work.

Benefits are:

  1. This saves time, paper, and other resources.
  2. Students are exposed to new technology that they can use and apply.
  3. I no longer have to worry about misplaced work or work without a student’s name on it.
  4. A real great advantage is collecting work from outside my room.  If a student has work at home or another computer in the school, they access my site, upload their file and then I have it immediately.
  5. What I love the most is the very positive feedback from students who have begun to use this method of turning in work. includes the file name, IP address, and file size.  I am able to receive any file type, including movies.

How to get started!

It’s as simple as:

  1. Register and download DROPbox
  2. Now register for

Here’s my biggest tip for managing student work:

Make sure you explain how want students to name files.   This makes your life considerably easier!

I have students save files as their first initial last name and the program and assignment #.  For example, if this is our second word assignment the file name for me would be “mrileyw2” This really helps with organization and keeping duplicate file names to a minimum.

Here’s a video I’ve created to show you how to set up your account.

Your Challenge Task

Your challange is to:

  1. Set up a DROPbox and account.
  2. Challenge your students to use this new feature to hand in assignments.

Please leave a comment to let us know:

  1. How you are going to or how you use DROPBox?
  2. What’s your tips for getting the most out of DROPBox?

About the Author

Mr Riley's WebsiteMr Riley is a Middle School Computer Science Teacher.

He tries to bring as much of his retail and sales background into the classroom as possible.

15 comments for “Free Tools Challenge #17: Using DropBox &

  1. Marnita
    August 12, 2015 at 1:29 am

    I stumbled upon this looking for an answer to my situation. The Drop It To Me box does not appear in my DropBox account. I can open at, but all I am able to do is edit my password. It does, however, tell me that there are files in my box. I just can’t get to them. Any suggestions?

    Thank you.

  2. Rishard Smith
    February 27, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    On the Upload Assignment page, assessment the instruction and download any files provide by your teacher and entire then my assignment with one or together of the subsequent.

  3. BHibbard
    March 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I have asked a freind overseas (right now around Hong Kong) to drop something into my and he claims my login page is NOT FOUND.

    Please Advise.

  4. Dr. Frank Buck
    February 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I found this post while searching for information on using Drop It To Me as a vehicle to submit assignments. My question has to do with what happens after the assignments are submitted.

    I assume you grade the papers electronically, opening the documents in Word and making correction in a red font. Is that right?

    The big question is this: How do you return the papers to the students?

    • Anthony
      July 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Frank.

      Your question about how to perform grading is very valid. In MS Word, I like to use the comment feature and type a summary at the end of the essay. I also save as a PDF and resend to the student.

      Grading PDFs can be a bit trickier. Using ipad apps like iAnnotate work very well as you can type, write, draw, and even add media.

      Personally, I don’t use

      For the past several months before the end of the 2012-13 school year I played with SubmitBox. It ties perfectly into your DropBox account and allows the teacher to create classes and assignments. I experimented at first with a few of my students who required assistive technology. Needless to say, I started getting all of my students to use it. It worked beautifully. I recommend giving it a try.

      Here is the URL:

      Anthony S.

  5. Nick
    February 26, 2012 at 2:54 am

    I think that this servise is much better then the DropBox, they provide more free space, 5Gb while dropbox gives only 2Gb, and bonuses are bigger. However I have these two services at the same time, and total have 7 Gb space for free :)

  6. Brian Bortz
    October 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    While this seems great for students to turn in work, how do you “pass back” the work once it has been graded? I’m looking for a system to use with my 4th/5th grade students that will allow for secure back and forth file sharing without the use of e-mail addresses.

    • Kate
      October 26, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Use edmodo.

    • Anthony
      July 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Try using SubmitBox. Teachers can set up classes and each student who registers can see assignments like an LMS. When the teacher edits the file, students can see it because the files are directly tied into DropBox and their account. It’s pretty cool. Try it.

      Here is the URL:

      Anthony S.

  7. Mark
    May 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I have used Dropbox as a major part of my daily routine at school for a while. I have set up a shared folder with my year-group colleague. We save all our planning in this folder, making collaboration much easier. I no longer need to carry a thumb-drive around with me. It also eliminates the problem of creating multiple versions of files. Finally, it automatically backs up different versions of all your files, so if you accidentally save over something you can go to the website to easily retrieve the old version.

    There are some easy, legitimate ways to get extra free space on dropbox (I currently have 5.1GB without paying anything). See my blog post:

  8. April 22, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Thats correct there is a limit of 2GB for a free account. I just move files off my dropbox folder at the end of each 6 week cycle. However I the cost for additional space is minimal and I would not mind paying for the service. It is that helpful to me.

  9. April 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I am glad that Dropbox made it into the challenges.
    I use Dropbox to help me transfer documents from one computer to another. When I am at work, I might want to save what I am working on, but don’t have my memory stick to transfer the file to any of my home computers. I also can avoid passing viruses through using that memory stick. All I have to do is upload my Dropbox account onto each computer I might work on.
    There is one hitch…there is a limit of files which can be saved. That can be overcome by inviting other people to use Dropbox, which give syou more storage space. Dropbox is great.

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