Data Storage: Products for Schools

A Sacramento County technology director understands what it takes to keep a district’s data in great shape.

JOHN FLEISCHMAN is a nationally recognized authority on the use of instructional technology. He has extensive experience implementing and creating informational and instructional media for use in educational environments. Director of Technology Services at the Sacramento County Office of Education, he is responsible for computer, network, and telecommunication infrastructure; overseeing dozens of Web site development projects; and managing a cadre of staffers who provide educators with training, technical assistance, and information resources. Additionally, Fleischman is a member of the Executive Committee for the Internet2 K20 Initiative ( “During the past 20 years we’ve come a long way with both the type and capacity of storage for digital data,” he says. “It’s been a constant parade of formats—from 5- and 3-inch diskettes and hard drives, to compact and digital versatile disk storage and flash media. Today, a wide range of storage media is available, and schools need to select the type and format that’s best suited to address the task at hand.”


- - - - - - - - - - Storage on the go

Today, we move our digital data from school to home and take it with us wherever we go. With USB flash drives and the omnipresent USB port, it’s easy to transfer and share data, music, and photographs. Flash drives are the ultimate in portable storage and one of the best ways for teachers and students to save personal information.

Flash drives - - - - - - - - - -

Despite the different brands and names—jump drive, pocket drive, pen drive, and thumb drive—flash drives operate in basically the same way. The difference is mostly in price, capacity, design, and features. USB flash drives hold up to four gigabytes and can maintain data for 10 years. In our office we use SanDisk (, PNY (, and Lexar ( flash drives.

- - - - - - - - - - Portable hard drives

USB flash drives are great—until you need to start carrying around large video or multimedia files. Many of our professional development staff now use video in their PowerPoint presentations, and often those files exceed 1GB. We’ve found the new generation of very portable hard drives to be one of the best and most flexible ways to carry larger files. These ultra-compact, USBpowered portable hard drives require no external power supply, and current capacities can exceed 120GB.

Iomega - - - - - - - - - -

Looking around our office you’ll still find several formats of the once very popular Zip drives. Iomega ( didn’t fade away, but it did evolve and now carries a number of new product lines. Iomega portable hard drives are USB powered and very compact (no external power supply required), and are hot plug-and-play.

- - - - - - - - - - When GB doesn’t suffice

In multimedia environments, storage is king. When it comes to video editing, bigger and faster storage is better. If video production and editing is part of your school environment, you’ll eventually start thinking in terms of terabyte storage. For years, expensive high-speed SCSI or Fibre Channel drives were the only option, but now a new generation of speedy FireWire800 ( storage systems is entering the picture.

Big Disk and Big Disk Extreme - - - - -

LaCie ( offers a wide range of mobile, desktop, and network drives. The LaCie Big Disk and Big Disk Extreme provide up to one terabyte of storage capacity. At less than $900 list price, the Big Disk offers fast performance, massive capacity, and triple interface connectivity using USB 2.0, FireWire 400, or FireWire 800.

- - - - - - - - - - It’s all about ease of use

One of the hottest and most discussed new technologies is Apple’s iPod ( Students can import, download, sync, share, and stream all kinds of files with the slender MP3 player. Indeed, part of the appeal of podcasting is the ease with which audio content can be created, distributed, and downloaded from the Web. Podcasting offers educators a means to reach learners with a tool that can be much more than a music player.

The iPod Nano - - - - - - - - - -

Apple’s newest iPod Nano is a 1GB model that lists for less than $150. Like all iPods, it works with both Macs and PCs, and the Click Wheel offers a simple and intuitive way to access content. This new model holds up to 240 songs or 15,000 photos. It can also be used as a portable tool for listening to audio books; for dictation and sound recording; for taking and reading notes; or for storing and transporting data files.

To submit your own Wishlist/Shortlist, e-mail [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2006 issue of THE Journal.