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BackPackIt (Click link to return to main WIKI page)

*This page provides a general outline to assist in the organization of research topics related to your assigned Web 2.0 Application.

Web 2.0 Formatting Examples:

1) Plurk

2) Facebook Chat

I. History

-Questions to consider: How was the application developed? How does the application work? Are there any ways to use this application alongside others?

i. How was the application developed?

Backpack was developed by a company called 37signals in 2005. 37 signals was started by Jason Fried, Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim in 1999 as a web design company producing applications geared toward organization for small businesses. Along with Backpack, 37signals has released other Web 2.0 applications geared toward small businesses including Basecamp, Highrise, and Campfire.  In 2006, 37signals published the book “Getting Real” about the business in web design and programming.

ii. How does the application work?

Backpack is an easy to use web application that allows small businesses, or smaller groups within large businesses to communicate easily and effectively while working on projects or carrying out day to day business duties. While taking on an almost facebook-like façade, backpack incorporates various communicative, organizational, and office tools to create an accessible, online workplace for groups. 

Newsroom- The newsroom is comparable to the “homepage” on Facebook.  in the “Newsroom” one can post messages that the entire group can see. This allows the group to discuss a topic in a centralized location, cutting down on paper and confusion with email. The newsroom also allows one to see the activity of other members in the group, and see upcoming events from the calendar and posted reminders.

Pages- The pages tab has many tools to create a “page” for anything ranging from taking a business trip to planning an office get together.  By using the list, note, file, picture, writeboard, divider, and tags tools, one can create an entire organizational page.

     The list feature allows one to create a “to-do” list and mark tasks off as they are finished

     The note feature allows one to add a small note to the page with a heading

     The file feature allows one to upload a file to the page from another source.

     The picture feature allows one to upload a picture to the page.

     The writeboard feature allows groups to collaborate on a writing project, and is similar to the types of tools used to build a wiki.

     The divider feature allows one to divide information on the page.

     The tags feature allows one to “tag” different parts within the page.

Calendar- The calendar is a dynamic tool to which one can easily add notes and reminders to appropriate dates and plan well into the future. One can also access other group members calendars which allows for accessible coordination among members.

Reminders-The reminders tool allows one to set a reminder for oneself or other group members backpack reminds one through ones backpack homepage, email, and/or cell phone.

Writeboards- As discussed previously, writeboards are dynamic and allow group members to collaborate on a text document.  These documents can be changed, edited, and saved for future reference.

Journal-The journal tool allows one to keep track of what one accomplished during the day.  On this same page, one can update a status-informing the rest of the group what one is currently doing.

iii. Are there any ways to use this application alongside others?

Backpack can be used alongside 37signals other web-based apps geared toward group collaboration in small businesses:

-Basecamp: specific to managing projects

-Highrise: keeps track of contacts made (emails/calls)

-Campfire: a chat tool geared toward small groups in business.


Basecamp- While the idea of Basecamp is similar to that of Backpack, Basecamp is more revolved around helping to get a project done on a timeline, while Backpack is more focused on working on and developing an actual collaborative project by sharing information with a group. (

Campfire- Campfire is very similar to that of a chatroom or an instant messenger tool.  One can create different chatrooms for different topics.  This is a useful tool to quickly communicate with other group members, and even allows one to upload files and review previous chat history. (

Highrise- Highrise allows one to keep track of and organize contacts and business relations. It allows one to see access different contacts, review previous contact interactions, and keep track of who needs to be talked to and what future meetings need to take place. (

 ****Free plan: 2 users/5 pages – no calendar, message boards, or file sharing

II. How BackPack Relates to other Applications

-Questions to consider: How does this application compare to the competitors? What are some unique uses of this specific application?

Other Applications

These websites support applications that are related to BackPack.

BackPack Pricing

BackPack prices per month depending on how many users a business has added to the application.  Below are the packages a business can purchase.  If you own a large business in which you would like to add many users the Max package would be the one you would choose.  (Per year you would spend a sum of $1788)  Depending on your budget this could be a great tool.




# of Users




0 GB





1 GB





2 GB





4 GB





10 GB





20 GB





50 GB



Other Applications (specific)


activeCollab is a project management & collaboration tool that you can set up on your own server or local network. Work with your team, clients and contractors in an easy to use environment, while keeping full control over your data.

Very similar to that of BackPack

activeCollab offers two options to their application: Corporate and Small Biz.  Corporate is meant for large business and includes features like themes, discussions, checklists, calendar, invoicing, time tracking, and status updates.  The Small Biz option includes many of the standard features, but all the features included in the Corporate option.  The Corporate option is $499 dollars per year ($199 a year for upgrades) and the Small Biz option is $249 dollars per year ($99 a year for upgrades).  This is a much cheaper option than BackPack, and it the Corporate options offers some features that BackPack does not.

Remember The Milk

Remember the Milk is an online application that is used to organize tasks, setting reminders for them and creating lists.  The biggest services Remember the Milk offers are its compatibility to work with other technological sources. You can access your Remember the Milk via ipod, iphone, blackberry, Android, Windows mobile, Twitter, and Google applications.  The greatest part is that it offers all of this free of charge.


Campfire is an application made by the same company as BackPack, 37signals.  Campfire is related to BackPack because it is used by businesses, but it is not as similar as activeCollab and Remember the Milk were.  Campfire is a web-based group chat tool that lets you set up password-protected chat rooms in just seconds. Invite a client, colleague, or vendor to chat, collaborate, and make decisions. Link to a room on your intranet for internal communications.  It also works with a variety of third-party customer service applications such as: Ember, Helpspot, Pyro, and Zendesk.

The plans of Campfire are based upon how many chatters a business would have, how much storage it would need, and the amount of minutes for conference calls.  Payments are taken monthly and you have four different plans to choose from.  The plan and pricing guide is on the website.   


Bascamp is an application made by the same company as BackPack, 37signals.  Basecamp helps businesses to share files, meet deadlines, assign tasks, centralize feedback, make clients smile. Basecamp tackles project management from an entirely different angle: A focus on communication and collaboration.  Basecamp has a very large amount of add-ons to work with this application including iphone applications and  other mobile applications .

The pricing of Basecamp is set up similar to the of BackPack, four levels charged per month with specific requirements for each. Check their website for more details.


BackPack is a very useful tool for businesses to use in order for employees to keep themselves and their work organized.  From my research of BackPack's related sites, I believe 37signals meant for BackPack to be used in conjunction with their own Campfire and Basecamp programs.  This would make BackPack much more comparable to its competitors because it would offer many more features.  Applications like Remember the Milk, activaCollab, and other related sites that I did not mention appear to be better products because everything is in one place instead of three.  The only thing I think holds BackPack behind related applications is it's pricing.  A business would have to have plenty of money to use this product as well as love it since there are other applications offering more for a cheaper price.

III. Real World Application

-This section will include 3 Lesson Plans for each Elementary, Secondary, and Post Secondary levels. One out of the three needs to be STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) related. 

-An additional section under this heading will provide information about how this application can be used in a Business/Industry Setting.

 The main use of BackPack is to store, share, discuss and archive things that are essential for a small business in a safe and secure intranet. This application can take important documents, information, and schedules and keep them in one place where every member of the team can see them. It is very easy to create pages that everyone in your group can see. These pages allow you to share them with the people you want to, and they can change and add content on the page. These pages can be used to gather and review research, make to-do lists, gather notes, track potential new hires, and much more.

BackPack can be used to centralize and organize communications by posting messages that your entire group can see and leave comments on. BackPack also has a calendar that can be shared with members in a group, and it can be color coded so each member knows when others are free or not. It can also send e-mail and text reminders so you will never forget important deadlines and events. BackPack also has a newsroom where recent activity is reported and recorded. Since BackPack is web-based so it can be acessed from any computer.



IV. Demonstration of Educational Value

 Secondary Lesson (Social Studies)

V. How "BackPackIt" is used Internationally?

I would say that BackPackIt is an international company because in the application process, it asks you to select a time zone. It does not directly say which other countries use it as well.

 BackPack is a web application, so it could potentially be accessed by anyone who has Internet access, anywhere in the world.  Because BackPack is a business organizational tool, international business partners could work together and communicate via BackPack.  However, there does not appear to be any direct reference to international work using the website.  BackPack seems to be more directed toward small businesses, most of which don't typically operate internationally, so it doesn't appear that it would be used internationally in most cases.

-Provide examples and/or information about how this application can be used in countries outside of the United States.


VI. References

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  1. Unknown User (amechem)

    BackPackIt was founded by a web-based software company called 37signals. 37 signals has been around for 10 years and was started by Jason Fried, Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim. (a lot more background info on 37signals can be found on the 37signals web page)

    1. Unknown User (amechem)

    2. Unknown User (amechem)

      other background info: backpackit was launched in 2005 by 37 signals as a tool to organize businesses.

  2. Unknown User (amechem)

    BackPackIt, like all of the web applications put out by 37 signals is geared toward small groups.

    1. Unknown User (amechem)

  3. Unknown User (amechem)

    BackPackIt is an organizational web tool that small businesses can use that allows group members to communicate effectively on a project by using the various BackPackIt tools; to-do lists, file sharing, photos, dividers, notes, and more.

    1. Unknown User (amechem)


  4. Unknown User (ktomich)

    BackPackIt can help organize businesses by keeping important documents in one place, sharing business trip plans, and sharing how-tos, tutorials, and guides.


    1. Unknown User (harris49)

      This helps keep everything organized, saves paper, and time spent in the office. 

  5. Unknown User (ckearnag)

    Backpack it provides an online group calendar to collaborate many scedules together. This makes it easier to scedule group meetings for many people at a convenient time for everyone.

    1. Unknown User (ckearnag)

      This calendar represents different people by different colors to show which events pertain to each person.

    2. Unknown User (ckearnag)

  6. Unknown User (ckearnag)

    This site is easily accessible and very useful by which alerts and reminders can be sent directly to a mobile phone by email or text message. Today, almost everyone has a cellphone with them at all times while working for a major business so this is a very good device. This site is meant for business use.


  7. Unknown User (ktomich)

    BackPackIt allows you to share information on a page you crated, and the people you share it with can then edit and add information to the page.


  8. Unknown User (ktomich)

    This site can organize your communtications into one central area, instead of trying to keep track of e-mails. You can post you comments for everyone to see, and this reduces e-mail clutter.

  9. Unknown User (ckearnag)

    There are four different packages to buy which are paid montly. There packages are:

    -Basic $24

    -Plus $49

    -Premieum $99

    -Max $149

    They all can hold up to a certain amount of members. Once it reaches the maximum you must upgrade.

    1. Unknown User (ckearnag)

      Premium** mispelled!!

  10. Unknown User (ckearnag)

    The site is relatively new so it very limited on information. I have not found anything on International Partners thusfar.

  11. Unknown User (amechem)

    Hey guys. After looking around a little bit, I found a backpackit "press kit" that has contact info, backpack screenshots from the actual webpage, stories about backpackit that have been in the media (wallstreet, new york times, etc.), logos that we will be able to use for our wiki and some other really useful info that helps get an overall idea of what backpackit is all about. the website is I highly suggest checking it out! also-if you are having trouble finding info about your particular area of research, you could always email the founder, Jason Fried to get some feedback. his email is on that website.

  12. Unknown User (amechem)

    backpackit can be used alongside 37signals other web-based apps:

    basecamp: specific to managing projects

    highrise: keeps track of contacts made (emails/calls)

    campfire: a chat tool geared toward small groups in business.

    backpackit: (used to organize businesses)

  13. Unknown User (amechem)

    backpackit can even be used with the iPhone app called "Satchel."

    Other BackPack extras:

    Snip 2 BackPack- allows you to copy a "snippet" of info from a webpage and send it directly to your backpack as a note

    Logbook-allows you to update your status on BackPack Journal directly from your desktop, without opening a browser for the internet

    Journal Widget- same idea as Logbook, but doesn't seem as well and thoroughly developed

    BackBoard- a mac like spin off of BackPackIt

    Fluid-for Mac Computers- allows you to make BackPackIt into a desktop application, so you don't have to open a browser and then open the website, it directly takes you to BackPackit from you desktop

    BackPack Widget-allows you to update your BackPack from your Mac Dashboard

    gu-BackPack CMS-[[still not sure exactly what this is]]

    PackRat-allows you to use backpack offline (useful when traveling)

  14. Unknown User (harris49)

    I found a webpage all about  It has information about the traffic history, and what the competitors think of it.

      1. Unknown User (harris49) is a very similar web tool only its free and works through google calendars, twitter, blackberry, and gmail.

  15. Unknown User (harris49)

    Using you can send email to each individual web page.  Each web page has its own email address.  These emails can be notes, to-do lists, important files, emailing photos, or even forward other emails.

    1. Unknown User (harris49)


  16. Unknown User (carsons)

    When using Backpackit you can store files and documents online. Paper copies is the old fashion way of things and Backpackit is the new way.

  17. Unknown User (carsons)

     Backpackit makes it easy for you to build pages with everything your employees need to get their jobs done. It also cuts down on the paper usage.

  18. Unknown User (carsons)

    Backpack works with a variety of iPhone apps, mobile devices, third-party desktop tools, software, widgets, and more.

  19. Unknown User (carsons)


  20. Unknown User (ckearnag)

    Hey guys, so I started doing stuff with the mainpage, I only fixed up the top and I put the topics in question form. If you want me to make changes, please let me know asap. The best way to contact me is call/text me: 765-413-6153. I will be checking this again tonight to finish it up so please let me know if you want me to make any changes!

    You can comment on this post too, I'll be checking this around 8.


    1. Unknown User (harris49)

      Hey, I put all that I had time to research for related applications.  It's on this page now!

      1. Unknown User (ckearnag)

        thanks alli! I'll add it right in!

  21. Unknown User (ckearnag)

    I'm not sure how much stuff we need done for the rough draft but if you guys want me too add more or make changes just let me know sometime Sunday evening at the latest so I can change it before midnight! :) thanks


    In this part, many contributions of Back Pack It tried to be handled by gathering under three subtopics as for students, teachers and parents.

    For students:

    Technology has already wide range of usage in students’ daily life. Apart from chatting and playing games, students can use technology to organize or manipulate their education life thanks to many different web tools. Backpack it is among the most useful tools. If the contribution and usage of Backpack it is taken into the consideration, some of them can be listed as:

    • While using this web 0.2 tool, social interaction which has essential role in education can be established with not only peers but also adults such as teachers and parents
    • Students can have a chance to be active in planning and organizing their educational activities especially with calendar, reminder and journal part of the Back Pack It.
    • They can arrange their lecture notes and varied information about their subjects as online and they can share them with other members if they wish.
    • Students can find opportunity for following their grades in current lectures and making self assessment by taking into account own progress. (When educators benefit from Back Pack It to announce their grades.)
    • They can open discussion topics and these discussions enhance their critical thinking skills.
    • They can also put information and announcement related with any social activities into calendar.
    • Students can also use Back Pack It as storage for their files.
  23. Demonstration of educational value continues

    For teacher:

    Rapidly growing today’s technology has great influences on education side as all parts of individual’s life. Utilizing these influences in terms of education and increase children’s awareness about technology usage in a positive way are among educators responsibilities. For this reason, educators can benefits from some web tools like back pack it by not overlooking contributions to students mentioned above and by being model for effective usage of technology. Educators can benefit from Backpackit by following some using style listed here:

    • Grading and attendance of students can be announced on the backpack it to inform both students and parents
    • Documenting students works and projects can be documented  and  online portfolio can be composed for each of them
    • Open discussion, announcing social act. Sharing info and lecture notes are among facilities provided by back packit for educators as for students.
    • Educators can prevent time consuming by using this web 0. 2 tool. For example, instead of discussing about any topic in office hours, teacher and children can communicate in online way. Besides, other students who have similar problem can benefit from these discussions.
    • Different environment except school can be arranged to provide opportunity for  interaction and communication between educators, students and parents
    • Backpackit can be used as a kind of motivation tool to encourage students to be willingness toward lectures/courses/school.
    • Besides, separate part for parents can be arranged in backpackit. In this part, educator can inform parent about different topic such as child development, problems faced with adolescence, suggestions for child nurturing and for effective parents participation to education
  24. We completed our assigned part for this project and if you want more help from us , we can give a hand when you infrom us in time.

  25. For Parents

    Parents cannot be thought as out of children’s education. Parents need to be involved into this process in order to make education more effective for students. Alternative ways can be offered in order to encourage them for parent involvement through back pack it. Possible benefits of backpackit usage for parents can be listed like this:

    • Parents have some ideas about children’s development and educational process, thus, they can shape their expectancy from children with this information
    • Parents can assess their children without comparing with other children. In fact, they can easily follow their children’s progress by taking into account composed online portfolios in backpackit.
    • Backpack it also can some eliminate problems caused by lack of enough time. In other words, even if parents could not allocate sufficient time to communicate with educators of their children because of some difficulties during day, they can also come together online with educator.  
    • Parents can feel comfortable to establish communication with educator due to accessing whenever they wish and having chance to take her/his ideas about any topic related with their children.

     How "BackPackIt" is used Internationally ?

    Back Pack It can be accessible via internet around the world.  It can provide opportunities to international students for coming together online and conducting some projects by sharing their knowledge and studies related with this subject. This kind of sharing contributes to children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. To illustrate, during these works they have chance for using to foreign language, they can improve self confidence, they find some solutions to problems, and they take responsibility in group works and feel belongingness as a part of a group and so on. Besides all, students can be informed about educational development all over the world as a natural result of having international partnership.

  26. Unknown User (ckearnag)

    hey so i see that our IPs have added stuff for the section 4 which is demonstration for educational value, should i go ahead and read through and edit it a bit but keep the same idea for that section since we still don't have anything on it? or is Spencer writing that part. Let me know so I can transfer it asap

  27. Unknown User (amechem)

    chelsea- posted my lesson plan to backpack. reviewing our international partner's info now. i will post the revised version on here so you can copy and paste it. thanks! oh and i will also get some more info on campfire, basecamp, and highrise

    1. Unknown User (ckearnag)

      alright awesome, i'll keep checking to see when it's posted on here and I just added your lesson plan to the main page.