I just posted a quick commentary on Drop.io on my podcasting blog. The post, Drop.io as a Podcasting Tool? explores how one could possibly use it in that manner. Over here on The Maricopa Experience I want to explore a different way to use Drop.io.
First, here's a snippet from my first post explaining what it is:
Drop.io advertises itself as a simple private exchange.
Drop.io enables you to create simple private exchange points called “drops.” The service has no email signup and no “accounts.” Each drop is private, and only as accessible as you choose to deliberately make it. Create multiple drops, add any type of media, and share or subscribe as you want.
And I would have to agree. The site is very clean and simple, so much in fact, that I didn’t really understand how I could use the site until I actually played with it. Drop.io allows for you to make drops.
A drop is a ‘discrete’ chunk of space you can use to store and share anything (pictures, video, audio, docs, etc) privately, without accounts, personal registration, or email addresses.
The first thing that caught my attention was the “no personal registration, or email addresses.” I’m not so concerned about myself signing up for yet another Web 2.0 site on the web, but more so that if I had my students use it they wouldn’t have to sign up or register for anything.
My students are currently working on research projects, and as usual common groups start to form. I'm thinking of using a drop for each of the common groups so students can share resources and collaborate with each other while they are working in their groups. Drop.io makes it easy to so by giving you a widget that can be placed on a course network or blog or even in Blackboard. The widget allows for students to quickly and easily make a drop to the shared space. Here's an example of the widget below:
Once files are added to the drop, anyone given the address can access them, and if you want for it to be private, you can password protect the site. Here's an example of my practice drop:
The above view is the media view, but in blog view the files are listed in order of the time they were uploaded - newest items on top like a mini blog.
Blog View: http://www.drop.io/soul4real/blog
Students can add files and links to their shared site via email, on the drop.io website or via the widget. It's too easy for them not to want to use it. They don't even have to sign up. And drop.io makes it easy for anyone to subscribe to the drop via RSS or email subscription. I really like this idea for a quick and easy collaborative tool. Have a look for yourself.