My friend gave me a call last night and while chatting he mentioned how excited he was about getting back to school, especially in terms of using technology. Apparently his district is having digital projectors placed in every room this school year, and his Tech Director has begun the year with a fantastic two day “tech institute.” While I’m glad to see other teachers getting seriously pumped-up about using technology in their classrooms, he was also excited to pass on news of a nice “back to school” deal going on at Staples (an office superstore for those that aren’t familiar). Apparently Staples is selling some nice 64MB Imation USB Flash Drives for just 8 dollars. Flash drives for just 8 bucks! I was impressed. Imagine all of the files that could be cheaply saved whenever the network decides to drop your homedrive, or help out a student who doesn’t want his or her work to disappear when the computer is shut down thanks to security programs installed that wipe the drive. 8 dollars places those flash drives in the price range for regular classroom use, like a 3-hole punch or a paper-cutter.
It also got me thinking; if a brick and mortar store is selling them for just 3 dollars, what could be found at an online retailer? After some quick searching I found that Newegg.com (a fantastic tech product site) has several 128 and 256MB flash drives for under 10 dollars. Sure, the quality on these “off brand” drives is probably questionable, but for 10 dollars, I could almost justify picking up a few if they only lasted one or two school years. Likewise TigerDirect has similarly priced flash drives, with slightly better quality names. Alright, so PNY and K-Byte aren’t exactly synonymous with high-quality flash based memory, but for just 20 dollars for a pack of 2 (yes 2) 128MB Memorex drives seemed like an incredible deal. Not sure if there’s a large demand for USB flash drives out there at the moment, but I just thought I’d pass the news along about Staples, and do some comparison shopping since I’ll probably be in need of upgrading from my 128 flash drive soon. With luck, the deals will still be on for Labor Day weekend.
I have a 256MB flash drive and I use it at school all the time. More bargins can be found at Surplus Computers (I’ve bought stuff from them before and never had a problem). 512 MB flash drive from $12.99 and a 1 GB at $23.99
It may be time to upgrade.
Does it matter if everyone in a school system gets one of these LCD projectors? It is all in how you actually use them!
With any technology it is all in how it is used. A LCD projector is only as good as an overhead if you only ever show static slides in powerpoint. However, the original post was about USB Flash drives.
Flash drives are very useful, but they don’t really change the way I teach. They do allow me to carry documents on a much more stable platform than a floppy disk. Additionally I can store applications on it that I want to install on multiple computers.
I also encourage my studnets to use them to trasfer documents between school and home.
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