The practitioner's perspective

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"The students were fairly unexcited about being given the pen drives, but very reluctant to give them back."
Diane Brewster, course tutor, Interactive Learning Environments, University of Sussex.

Female hand holding a USB device.

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A digital key to productive learning - University of Sussex


Pedagogical uses of the USB storage device have been developed by staff on the Interactive Learning Environments course in the School of Science and Technology at the University of Sussex to overcome the difficulties they had found in adapting third generation mobile phones for their purposes. Students, who were provided with a 256 MB USB storage device containing course materials, were required to find new resources from their own research and to upload them to a centrally shared resource bank.

Key advantages

The main advantage of the USB storage device was that it was not seen as intruding in the learning process. The wide availability of access to IT for most students both on and off campus had diminished the value of continuous connectivity. For flexibility and sheer convenience, the USB storage device was preferred by students to the XDA mobile phone. Most were reluctant to return it at the end of the term.