Help HS students with a $15 USB key

France (yes, France) actually is initiating a good idea. Handing out USB keys to students to use at school and wherever they go. It’s an amazingly simple idea, and a lot cheaper than handing out laptops to students. (Not to mention less risky)

The premise is simple: Give students the office software, browser, email client, and whatever else the school deems necessary in one little 3 inch, pocket-sized package. The office software is free and open to be distributed. The browser can be pre-bookmarked with the high school homepage, Wikipedia, and anything else the students could find useful. Instant messaging could be loaded for the kids to use at home or anywhere they want to go outside of school that has a computer.

Run out of paper at home? Print the paper when you get to class or better yet, just email it to the instructor. Find that page you needed to help with your paper while researching at school, but ELO is almost over? Bookmark the page and go back to it tonight at home or tomorrow when you get back to school. Have a bill you are submitting for Youth and Government and your team needs to review it? Keep it on your USB and email it from wherever, whenever.

What about viruses? Have all workstations scheduled to scan any new drives for viruses (shouldn’t take but a minute on a 1GB USB). What about instant messaging? Any IT administrator should have the ports and protocols blocked already by default.

What if someone loses their USB? Charge a replacement fee just like if a book was lost.

I’m sure there are holes in this idea, and detractors will always find issues I haven’t addressed. I believe that this would be more positive than negative. I am now off to look for grants and to email USB vendors.

Any thoughts?