Cloud- Accessing Elementary Student Work

Hi Experts,

I am a computer teacher at an elementary school.  I would like students to access their work from home.  As a school district we are looking into the cloud but this will take time.  I am looking to dive in and try a few things right now.  We mainly save Microsoft office files- Excel, Word, PowerPoint so I don't want to move to Google Docs because it loses so many features.

I was thinking of Dropbox but the free 2G's might not be enough space.

Since I am dealing with Elementary school children I typically have one server folder that I share out so I am not that concerned with security as far as students deleting files, etc.

Any ideas?  I also have 34 classes so I would have to replicate my solution 34 times.

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Look into Microsoft SkyDrive. 25GB of free space just for signing up.

I'm not 100% positive, but I think that there is unlimited storage space for office documents too.

Microsoft SkyDrive

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you can use sugarsync as well
I guess moodle is not a bad solution as well
Its a free opensource content management system designed for academic environment
All you will have to do is , register a domain and hosting and move professionally
it will help you in the longer run :)
All the best :)
Just my 2 cents...

Avoid sugarsync. I have been testing it in my computer and mobile for a while but its not practical, specially if you are going to share it with kids. (actually... It sucks!)

I think the best thing you can do it use dropbox. there are several ways you can increase your initial 2GB and there is always the option of paying USD $10 /month for 50Gb.

You can get 250Mb for each kid that you invite, so if you get 20 kids to join dropbox, you get an extra 5Gb and so on... If you install dropbox on your mobile phone, you will get an extra 500Mb... if you have an Android HTC mobile phone you can have an extra 23Gb free for 2 year (or you can use alternative methods).

If you are going to use it maily for office files, I think 2Gb would be enough for everyone, maybe even for all 34 classes for 1 year, but I'm pretty sure that if some of those kids accept your dropbox invitation you will have almost 10Gb free in no time.
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SkyDrive is still your best bet. Unlimited storage for office based files.

Another thing to think about is Google's new storage environment. Rumor has it that you get 5GB free, just for signing up. Even just signing up for a Gmail account give you 7+ GB of storage space for free.

I know you're against Google Docs, but you can use it just to store documents, and specify not to convert them to the Google Docs format, leaving the the Metadata that goes with all Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents in place and usable. In addition, you get free access to versioning and documents sharing, making it super easy to hand in homework and assign notes and what not.

SkyDrive or Google Docs are your best choice, for what you're looking to do.
jdolan2587Author Commented:
So far I like the skydrive.  Are any of the files stored locally or are they completely in the cloud?  

I like how dropbox operates--- it has a local copy and also accessable from the cloud?
It is my understanding that SkyDrive connects and syncs pretty much the same way as Dropbox does.

If it's of any help to you, I found a tutorial on the MSDN Blogs explaining the different ways you can connect to a SkyDrive.

Showing SkyDrive Storage in Windows Explorer

If your students have a user account and specified login, I would recommend that you map the drive as a home folder in AD, under the Profile tab.

Hope this helps.
Skydrive does not sync the files. They are just online. every time you need a file you will have to download it. there is no offline backup like in dropbox.
And Skydrive way of showing the files in explorer is very slow because it works as a mapped drive over the internet and is not very easy to share with the students.

I'm a Microsoft partner and Skydrive isn't your best solution.

try using it and sharing files before and compare it with dropbox
jdolan2587Author Commented:
All great suggestions.  I am just trying to wrap my head around all of the pros and cons based on storage space and # of users.
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