File Sharing

Clarkstown Central Sets Up Online File Storage for Students

Clarkstown Central School District has gone public with its use of a service that allows students, teachers, and administrators to save files in a personal area online and share them with others on the Web. The district, based in New York, is using School Web Lockers, a product of Networld Solutions. The service is part of a district technology program that includes other Web-based services, including Google Apps, WordPress blogging software, and SchoolDude for facility and technology requests.

"With such a variety of technology at their fingertips, [Clarkstown] students take pride in being digitally prolific. Yet, at the same time, we see technology as a means for increasing student learning and engagement, not as something that causes distractions or disrupts our district's goals," said John Krouskoff, CCSD's director of instructional technology.

Krouskoff recommended the use of School Web Lockers to address a need for students to be able to access and share files between home and school without using their own private e-mail accounts, an option that brought with it potential distractions of personal e-mail and non-school related data.

Teachers are allowed to share up to 1 GB of data; students are limited to 100 MB of space. Neither group can store programs, games, or executable files. HTML documents can be stored but won't run, according to guidelines posted on the school's Web site.

The storage service, offered in all schools in the district, is made available to students starting in fourth grade, and they're able to use the system through high school graduation. Each school or school district has its own password-protected Web site. Users are given access to their own digital drop box, or Web locker, which is available via password from the Web site. From there, each teacher gains access to student lockers, by class, to allow for distribution and collection of documents.

Krouskoff pointed to the advantages of digital document shuffling, which reduces paper consumption within the district. In a statement he said that from September to January, teachers uploaded 91,000 documents. During that same period, student usage on the system averaged 13,000 logins and 21,220 files moved per month. "We're pleased that so many students are uploading and downloading their documents, and that teachers are also returning grades using the School Web Lockers solution. It definitely makes a difference in our paper usage," said Krouskoff.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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