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Saved by the cloud…

For several years, I’ve been pitching cloud based solutions particularly Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Apps.  I’ve always provided scenarios where the cloud could act as a knight in shining armor, but to be completely honest I never had to rely on the cloud for disaster recover.  In my travels, I’ve utilized an array of cloud based solutions, but until tonight those solutions have been used for their convenience and their power, not their abilities to save the day.

Twice a week I venture to a local community college to teach “Programming I.”  Tonight, I pulled into the parking lot, stepped out of my car, and opened the trunk only to realize that my laptop bag was still sitting on my kitchen floor.  After choking back a few expletives, I ran through what I would actually need the laptop for.  Well, I need to print the sign-in sheet.  I need my lesson plan, agenda, and a few presentation materials.  I’ll need to access the sample programs we were working with last class.

After going through the list, I felt a sense of calm, because I knew the day had come.  The day the cloud would have to live up to expectations and ensure the next two hours would not be wasted.

My classroom is a computer lab with a “teacher station.”  Over the last 4 years, the only time I have touched the teacher station is to unplug the VGA cable to hook my laptop into the projector.  So, once I reached my room, I quickly sat down at the teacher station and to the cloud I went…

1) Sign-In Sheet: I opened up a browser window and logged into dropbox.com.  Since I keep all my pertinent files in dropbox, the needed sign-in sheet was only a few clicks away.  I downloaded the file to the computer, but there was one hitch.  The sign-in sheet was created in Pages, which is Apple’s word processing app.  The lab is a PC lab.  I quickly realized it was not an issue.  I logged into my Google Apps account and uploaded the file to my Google Drive.  During the upload, my .pages files was converted to a Google Doc, which allowed me to change the date and print.  One down…

2) Lesson Plan / Agenda: My lesson plans are conveniently created and stored in Evernote.  While I could have logged into evernote.com to get my notes, I utlized my Evernote iPhone app and referenced it as needed throughout the class.  Two Down…

3) Presentation Materials: As a component of my “flipped classroom” approach, I have already uploaded the presentation and some other resources to the class’s Blackboard Site.  I pre-provided resources to the students, so they can get an understanding of the material before steeping foot in the door.  So, there was really no need for the laptop there.  Three Down.

4) Sample Programs: Once we got rolling, it was time to do some code walk throughs.  I planned on starting with the completion of a few programs that were started during our last class.  Luckily, all my pertinent files are securely stored in Dropbox, so I quickly went to dropbox.com and downloaded the 2 sources files.  After class, I simply uploaded the completed files and a few new files we created as a group back up to dropbox.  Next time I’m on the laptop, those files will already be updated and waiting for me.

Another successful class in the books.

Thanks Cloud…

 

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