Flash Drives in the Classroom

USB Flash Drives

In the past, the senior students at our school would email computer assignments to themselves so they could access them later. They’d open their email at home, download the attachment, complete the work, resave the document and then email it back.

A USB Flash Drive is an alternative method for students to transfer files back and forth from school.

This was great and showed the students were taking responsibility to get their computer homework done. However, the school uses mandatory profiles that restricts students from being able to download anything; including attachments.

So this aforementioned email system for homework, although a great plan, created some frantic panic among students in the morning when the report was due. They had to find a teacher to log in and download the attachment for them.

A Better Plan

The cost of USB flash drives has come down significantly. (Although we recommend purchasing a reputable brand name device.) This year we put a USB flash drive on the students’ supply list. Asking that they purchase a small drive, about 2GB in size to transfer any digital assignments home and back again without having to pull a teacher in from yard duty so they could get their homework from their email.

By simply copying the file to the USB flash drive, they can copy it to their home computer, complete their work, copy the file back to the drive, and then bring it back to school. Now they can copy it back to their home directory, or print it and hand it in; ON TIME!

Flash Drive Tips:

  • Purchase a reliable brand name drive. Some of the cheaper brands don’t properly test their chips. You only get what you pay for.
  • Try not to bump it while it is plugged into your computer.
  • Keep it clean and dry. Drives with protective caps or retractable ends will help keep the device clean.
  • Drives with clips, keyring loops, or lanyards can be beneficial for those who tend to lose track of their device.
  • Over time expect the flash memory to wear out. So only use it as a backup. Don’t keep all your important files in one place.
  • Review the proper method for ejecting a USB flash drive from the computer with your students. Don’t pull the drive out of its slot until it is safe to do so. It may not be finished writing and pulling it out too soon can damage the drive.
  • Get your students to put their name on the outside of the drive. If lost, it can (fairly easily) be returned.
  • It’s hard to discern if your students or their parents are keeping the virus software up to date on the family computer. Instruct your students on how to do a quick virus scan on their document before they open it on the network. Most newer programs will automatically scan a device when it is plugged in, but check with your system administrator to be certain.


Laurie Gerard, Research and Development ~ Laurie is responsible for the upkeep of our materials ensuring projects are developmentally appropriate, meaningful to students, integrate into the curriculum, and have clear instructions. Her duties include curriculum support and upkeep of our network and server. Laurie's contribution to the blog includes entries about the challenges of integrating technology in a school environment. The technical issues she overcomes related to hardware, software, and networking will be passed on to you in the form of practical strategies. In addition, she writes about the real-world problems faced by teachers as they struggle to offer a quality technology program with a limited budget.

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