Australians are some of the most connected and enthusiastic adopters of technology in the classroom. This has many benefits and will assist students in being competitive in the longer run. However, it comes with challenges, too, and one significant one is that the more work is done on computers, the more storage that it will consume.
Research shows that more than three quarters of Australian teachers make heavy use of technology for classwork, compared with 53 per cent across the OECD. Singapore, generally considered a leader in education, only reaches 43 per cent in this field.
It’s easy to understand why there is such enthusiasm for technology in the classroom. Australia has one of the leading technology environments in education, with research showing that for us, spending more than 60 minutes per week using devices results in measurably better educational outcomes.
What are students doing with technology in the classroom? A broad range of activities. As this report on how students engage with technology shows, weekly computer use ranges from research and typing up written reports, to preparing presentations, multimedia, and other creative activities.
The challenge of storage
As computers become faster at a cheaper price, the Internet allows for quicker uploads and downloads of larger files, and more and more work is filtered through computing devices, the storage needs of students are exploding. To address this challenge, many schools and universities are providing students with cloud storage as part of their enrolment. While cloud storage is a useful resource for backing up data and submitting reports, most students will also need to keep local copies of their work, and this is where they can struggle with the escalating data challenges.
“A film or media student who spends much of their time editing large video and audio files will have different storage requirements than that of an engineering student who predominantly saves images and documents,” Simon Whitford, Western Digital ANZ Senior Sales Manager, said.
“If a student will be using their device to predominantly write essays, take notes and develop presentations – having 1–2TB of additional storage should provide ample amounts of space over the course of their degree. However, if they will be downloading or working with video, audio or even imagery, they will need as much space as possible, e.g. 2TB and up. A WD My Passport for Mac for example, will help them meet this need.
“It’s also worth considering whether they will be using this device for personal use as well – many students will also use their laptop to watch movies, backup their phones and more.
But there’s more to storage than the amount that a device can hold, Whitford added. “Transfer speeds will also be extremely important for those moving files from device to device. Using a high-speed card such as the SanDisk Ultra microSD Card for Chromebook means you’ll spend less time waiting for files to upload and download. You’ll be thankful for this speed when you’re working to tight assignment deadlines.”
What students need in storage
There are six qualities that every student should be looking for when considering their storage environment:
- Speed – With file and project sizes increasing, the speed that a storage device can deliver can make the difference between getting all the projects that a student has in their workload done in time.
- Capacity – Capacity is the second consideration. There might be a trade-off to make for speed over raw capacity, but students should make sure that they have enough storage that they don’t need to triage the data that they keep.
- Security – as Whitford said: “Where students are concerned, one of the greatest risks comes from plagiarism and having your work stolen. What’s more, there’s also the risk of having personal files and information accessed. In a university or school setting, students will also spend much of their time carrying their files between classes, school and home. Using an external drive with password protection and 256-bit AES hardware encryption such as the My Passport for Mac provides an extra level of security for your data”
- Robustness – No student wants to plug their storage device into their computer to discover that the data has corrupted or the storage drive has failed. As Whitford said: “Being that students are quite often on the move from class to class and from school to home, it’s really important that you protect your devices from the knocks and bumps life can throw at you. Although students would likely not need the level of ruggedness that a travelling photographer would require, it’s a good idea to invest in a robust and durable device. For example, the SanDisk Ultra microSD Card for Chromebook is waterproof, temperature-proof, X-ray-proof, magnet-proof, and shock-proof, making it ready for just about everything.
- Ease of use – Finally, students have better things to do than deal with their storage devices. The closer to plug-and-play a device is, the better.
- Compatibility – Most students have multiple devices across mobile, laptops, computers and tablets. Different devices will have different storage devices, but allowing for the seamless transfer of data is essential to fit their modern workstyles and technology use.
Storage best practices for students
When it comes to precious schoolwork and assignments, it’s important that they are safely backed up and secure. While computers and Chromebooks are built to be durable, hardware failures occasionally happen, or a dropped bag or mechanical fault can damage the device and prevent it from operating, and worst of all lose your files. With regular backups on a storage device of your choice, start your school term with confidence that your data is in good hands.