This post originally appeared on Ottawa Guider Cara’s own Brownie Meeting Ideas blog. Cara offered it to us for re-posting as its description of online file sharing and collaboration may interest many of you. Thank you Cara! We hope you offer more guest posts in 2012.
How did Owls and Guiders plan meetings before the internet? Seriously. I can’t imagine. Need a game, ceremony idea, or song idea – check with Becky (actually, if you need anything – check with Becky first – she’s brilliant!). Want to see a week-to-week Spark and Brownie program plan, check Guiding with Jewels. If you need anything else, just Google games, puzzles, songs, ideas and you’ll probably hit on Flat Brownie, Girl Guides of Canada, Strictly Guiding, Guide Zone, Brownie Resources, Harvington (check out their Quiddich!), DLTK, and any one of the other sites that are out there – including Brownies Meet (which I hope you find useful).
There is also the issue of file management amongst the Guider Team – Leader plans, draft permission forms, newsletters. We started out using Google Docs. It has pretty good sharing and security features, but it does not handle Microsoft products well – especially tables (which we use a lot!) and permission form templates that come from Girl Guides of Canada. But…
We’ve just made the switch to Dropbox.
- What is it? The program is so easy it is scary. Members of your Guiding team each need to have a Dropbox account and once they do, one of you has to create a private folder and share it between the team. From then on you’ve got a spot to put your meeting plans and notes. I’m pretty impressed. In order to make changes, you download the file, work on it on the programs on your computer, then save it back. No need to use a non-Microsoft program.
- Be careful!! You can also set up a public folder that anyone can see (that worries me) … check out my public folder with our meeting plan for the year. If you want to share something with the entire world – use the file marked Public.
- Private Folders – If you want to share a folder amongst specific people who you know in Dropbox: Create a folder, hover your mouse over that folder and move the mouse over to the right. See that blue arrow? Click it. Then select Shared Folder Options. From here you can invite others to Dropbox by e-mail or through the contact list. After that – only those people will be able to see, download, upload and change files in that folder.
For file sharing with parents – like permission forms and newsletters – we like sending links instead of attachments. I think we’ll stick with Google Docs for this – but we have to PDF permission forms. I use a free PDF writer I Googled. I like being able to send the link to parents so that I don’t have to use e-mail bandwidth, or use up their e-mail inbox space.
Hope this helps you start Guiding in the cloud yourselves!
By guest blogger and Ottawa Brownie Guider Cara. Read more from Cara on her Brownie Meeting Ideas blog.
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How did Owls and Guiders plan meetings before the Internet? They went to the library. I was a unit Guider in the old days and I am a librarian. Trust me, there is still lots of stuff at the library that would make your meetings spectacular. PS I love Dropbox. I used it to share PR materials with DCs.
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