Customized Virtual Learning Meeting Points

By Helena Filipe

Internet offers both learners and educators customized virtual meeting points. Today we will present software with such capability.
Drop box http://www.dropbox.com/ enables us to store our own multimedia files (photos, videos and other documents) and have them available in all devices (laptop, smartphone,…)where its app´s have been previously downloaded (offline working)

 

or in any computer with internet connectivity (online working).

 

We can store our files and have them instantly available on the move without the need of the classical pen drive avoiding its possible associated troubles such as simply forgetting it, spreading virus or losing our content for any other reason.
Documents will be securely saved in the virtual space, instantly available offline if we are working in a computer with this software or in any other device as long it has Internet connectivity. In this last case we must have a Drop Box account and once logged in, it will be as if we were working in our own computer: all our stored content is there ready to be worked on. This happens because whenever we store files using DropBox they are simultaneously saved in our computer and in Drop Box website.

 

Folders created to keep ophthalmic specific subjects can be shared within a group (learning community) with a common goal and same interests.
Once found a scientific article or a new surgical technique video focused on a specific ophthalmology subject and stored in a Drop Box shared folder, it will be instantly available for the whole group of people, previously invited to share that folder content.

 

Drop Box allows us to work together on the same projects and keeps track of what is happening concerning the evolution of those projects. This activity involves authorship at a certain extent, social tagging and collaboration falling under the umbrella of social bookmarking.

 

As examples of this software use we present: Ocular Surface Disease created to store scientific content related to be available among a group of colleagues sharing the same subspecialty.
Recently another shared folder was created to allocate and allow cooperation to build our monthly Portuguese Society of Ophthalmology newsletter. Since a group of three people is engaged in this task, whenever there is a change in the document it will easily tracked by the others which will optimize our work.
This software is downloadable from http://www.dropbox.com/ and a free use of a 2GB subscription can be used though it can be extended to 100GB. If we invite more “friends” to DropBox our subscription capacity can be extended. The Drop Box site offers a concise but complete explanation through a video clip of the concept at stake and how to make its best use.
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