Friday, March 16, 2012

Checking Out Class Connect

I am always interested in easy ways to share content and collaborate on projects with others in quick and easy ways. So when I heard about Class Connect and it's ability to do just that, my interest was piqued.

First some back ground. When the founder, Eric, was in high school, bored, a teacher asked him what would make him interested in the class. He wanted to work with the other kids in the class and use technology at the same time. Since the school didn't have the software in place to do what Eric wanted, he built it. He spent the next several years designing, testing and refining, getting teacher input along the way and really turned the site into something pretty useful. (You can read more about Eric's story here.)

So what is Class Connect?

Think of it like Dropbox but with a few more features. When you sign up for an account (which is free by the way) you get 1 gig of space to store files in. And you can upload pretty much any file there.

So for demoing I uploaded some PDFs into a folder I created there.

But you will also see a few additional things. One is a video. You have the option to add video embeds from around the web. So if you wanted to include a Youtube (or TeacherTube, SchoolTube, Vimeo, etc) video in your files you could do that here. You also have the option to add other embeds there through the use of HTML coding.

You will also see you can add Google Docs here. The docs have to be shared as Public first but then you can make them accessible here as well.

Each file, when you click on it has a place to add a description and a place to share comments. So I could see this as a sudo-forum where you could post a discussion document and get feedback right there with the file.

So you have lots of options to store all sorts of materials. Great for projects for the classroom. But it gets a little better. You can then invite colleagues or students to individual files or whole folders or all the files. The choice is yours. Each file has a share button.

You have three options:

  • Courses-You can create courses/classes and then, through the use of an enrollment key give access to students (or colleagues) access to the materials stored there. 
  • Colleagues-Similar to sharing in Google Docs you can invite others to view and edit or just view what you have shared, via their email. 
  • Public-This makes the content view-only by anyone who visits your profile. (You can claim a custom url to make it easy if you want. Mine is The upside here is anything you share publicly doesn't count against your storage total. 

Class Connect is a promising site and can definitely prove useful for sharing files, videos and docs with a class. And I like the idea of promoting sharing your files and work publicly. After all that's how we get smarter! Do your self a favor. Head over to Class Connect, sign up for an account and try it out!
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