The UDL Educational Technology Guide 2019-2020: Technology for Special Education

John F. O'Sullivan

Section 16 Electronic Organization

I remember going into a meeting and talking about electronic organization. People are looking at each other wondering what I was talking about, and then people started giving me strange looks. I just kept talking because I was familiar with this. For much of my career, people thought I was out there. It was not until the crazy things I said actually become true that people started to listen. 

Today most schools are using Google Drive or a similar service in the quest to becoming paperless. It is so much harder to lose, and electronic files compared to paper. The days of book-bags that have loose papers, three-ringed binders, dividers, and paper planner have come and gone. You can create folders inside folders. If you do not know where you left something, you can search based on the name, when you last used the file and if it was shared with you. With file sharing, you do not have to worry about printing issues.

Google Drive (Backup and Sync) Best of Class 

It seems like just about every teenager has a Gmail account. Attached the account is Google Drive and a YouTube login. If you need to transfer files to a tablet or the web, this service is a must. Google Drive is the best file transfer service because of a number of users on the platform and the excellent design of the service. File transfer is one of the big reasons that so many schools use Google products.


Dropbox is a website that also makes apps for various platforms. It is a must have app if you have an iPad. Dropbox links to more apps than any other service. You could use a number of other generic services out there to do the same thing. With the knowledge that Dropbox links to so many apps, it is a good idea to use this service. 


OneDrive Hidden Gem  

If you have a Microsoft account, there is a good chance that you have a OneDrive account attached to it. Most people don’t know that you can get free email accounts from Microsoft with an online version of MS Office. That would include schools. The service is very good, but the fact people don’t know about OneDrive is surprising. The free online Microsoft Office is a hidden gem. OneDrive by itself is very good.

Important Note:

For Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive (Backup and Sync) you can install a folder directly on your desktop. This allows you to transfer files to or from the web by just drag and dropping of files. This is very helpful if you are trying to transfer to and from a tablet. It is also helpful in distributing files to and from your students if you have shared out a folder with them.


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