Laptops get far too much attention in education whereas the cheap and humble memory stick is almost forgotten. Yet many kids already have one, transferring homework and assignments to and from home and school. They’re the umbilical chord between the usually better home PC and the school ‘network’. This is not exactly an original idea but I've been astonished at how widespread these sticks have become yet how little they are formally used in schools.
Preload content and tools
We could surely preload sticks with all the necessary school/college/university documents, information for parents, holidays, timetables, planners, curriculum content and homework assignments at the start of every year, saving millions in paper and general parental angst. A main directory could be there for all the general stuff and directories for each subject would contain interactive content and links to other useful sites and content on the web. This would give student and parent full visibility of planned progress at the start of every academic year, reducing at once the parental concern about not being told what is happening in the school. The headteacher and staff could also all do a brief video piece, putting faces to names.
Cheap as chips
These sticks have plummeted in price. At cost, and in bulk, a local authority could buy one for every child for just a few pounds per child. Most parents, I suspect would willingly buy one for their child once the benefits were explained.
What to do?
Stage 1 - recognise that most students have one and use it for assignments and homework. Stage 2 – make sure that everyone has one and preload content at the start of every year. Stage 3 – make it a normal part of the school's culture.