Thursday, October 23, 2008

Computers and Education: The Most Useful Gadget for Students on a Budget

Now that you paid for your classes and books, you discover you are short on cash to purchase some of those really cool gadgets to get you through the semester. Now what do you do? Well now you are in triage mode, you make a decision as to what you absolutely need to have and list them by priority. Since I am a part-time student I do understand your pain.

One of the most common computer help requests I receive both on and off campus is "My computer will not start and I need my files".... I cannot count the times this has happened, especially after one of our Indiana thunderstorms and lightning has fried the computer. Students need not ever fall into this by using the gadgets I recommend.

With all the computer labs available on campus, a laptop even though it would be real nice and useful, I cannot put a laptop on the top of the list because you can get through classes without one if you are short on cash. So what should I have?

I believe the most useful gadget is the USB/pen/thumb drive. Why? To backup your homework is why! All the lab computers both PC and Mac are compatible with USB drives. Now a good drive with 4 GB storage is what I recommend and two or more if you are an arts student with lots of graphic files. If you need more storage, get an external USB hard drive with 1 TB drives now available for less than $250.00 you will have plenty of room to backup anything you need for class.

With all the external storage options available, a student can use a Mac or PC in the labs and store their precious homework and research on the campus network drive as well as your own external drive. If a student has a PC or Mac at home, then it is simple for them to move their data to and from school. Let me reiterate, backup ,backup and backup. If you need the document for your grade, back it up, even if it is just a few notes for a speech, back it up. Knowing you have your schoolwork safely stored in multiple places will take a bit of stress off your mind.

Do I suggest any particular brand or model? No for there are far too many out there, but I do suggest Staples or Best Buy stores, online Newegg and Tiger Direct are other useful gadget sites.
If you can afford a laptop...I do prefer the new Apple Macbook, it will run Windows as well as OS X and you will have all the built in gadgets you need for school. Now wait for the next episode...


~Amber~ said...

I agree, this is the most useful gadget that I have ever purchased. I actually have two because I filled my first one up. These little divices can hold so much information and are great for on the go.

Vicci Moore said...

Jump stick/flash drive/thumb drive/slip stick/slide rule yea . . . (oh - that's Purdue School of Engineering).

My 4GB jump drive is always on my keychain so it is always with me. I use it for my job, volunteer work at the nature center, school, and just for fun. Where ever I go I have a variety of files, documents, pictures, and whatever I can store electronically available. I turly believe it is the best gadget inventions of the technology era.

I also have an 8GB minidrive that I intended to keep pictures on. However I don't find it to be so convenient to carry with me. It would easily fit in your pocket, but it is too large for a keychain and small enough to lose easily left loose. Also the port folds into the drive body and does not lock in the out position and wants to fold back in when you attempt to plug it in. I will stick with the stick.

John said...

I completely agree with your assessment. A few years ago my laptop, which was a P.O.S. Toshiba Satellite, went out on me and luckily I had my data backed up on DVD. I was without a computer for almost a year, but during that time I bought a great Lexar flash drive and has been by my side ever since. The other great thing about the drive I bought is that you can actually run application off of it. Also, another plus for the USB drive is that you can also boot Linux off of it -- OS on the go.