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USB pendrive - school policies?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by jillyjsm, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. I am in the process of updating our whole school ICT policy, with pressure to allow the use of USBs by children for completing h/w tasks eg: research etc. I'd like to know what your oppnions are in the use in school. Thanks
  2. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Point one - USB is Universal Serial Bus and refers to the port on the computer that you can plug many devices into (printers, gamepads, hard disks, etc). I assume you mean USB sticks / pen drives / flash storage / whatever else you want to call them. Please don't refer to USBs, especially not if it's in a written policy, not if you want anyone to take you seriously anyway. If a student put "USB" in a GCSE ICT exam to mean a USB stick, they'd get it marked wrong.

    You mean allowing students to use USB sticks? I don't get why this is even an issue, why on earth would you NOT want students to use USB sticks? It's a vital way of allowing students to take work home and bring it back. The references to USB sticks in my ICT policy simply refer to students ensuring that the do not rely on them due to their fragility.

    Is someone currently blocking their use? On what grounds?
  3. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    I think yes should be allowed however you need to write into the policy an acceptable use of the USB (stick) and the dangers of what is brought in. You may wish to consider
    do you let them in for all or just for KS4 (if you are in Secondary),?
    do you "sheep dip" them before they are put into the computers?
    if only for homework then do you have a VLE that could serve the same purpose?
    If you are allowing them and we do you need to ensure that pupils are only bringing what you expect to be brought in.
  4. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    I'd take a look at the use of portable apps - are you going to allow students to bring in a USB pen with Portable Apps on it? Are you going to allow these apps to run?
    Games can be run from these and therefore so can viruses.
    Sheep dips are a worry in my view as I'd be far more inclined to ensure *all* machines have appropriate Anti-Virus software on them rather than running the false economy that a sheep-dip system provides (IMHO).
    • People forget.
    • depends on numbers of course.
  5. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    I agree the machine itself should be able to deal with viruses however I would say that in terms of Apps and little flash games a random "dip" by the teacher at least lets the kids know that you are aware of what is coming into it and are monitoring it!
    I would not go for a dip strategy as it is time consuming however the OP asked for an opinion!
  6. Thanks for all your replies, lots to consider.
    I'm sorry for my
    keyboarding error gavcradd, the s in USBs should have read USB sticks,
    but in my hurry the ticks never got onto the screen. Point one - USB pendrive school policies is the title of my original posting, which may indicate what I refer to them as and not USBs.

    It isn't me that
    doesn't want them to be used, just someone at school, and I was hoping
    for support in their use. Thanks to you all.
  7. Can I just echo DEmsley's mention of Portable Apps here, for the policy I'd suggest specifically stating that executables can't be brought in, including Portable Apps unless with agreement of the Network Manager. You'd open up a can of worms from a portable server to portable vb6 to portable office 2007.....!!
  8. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    As for executables, I wouldn't dream of letting students run them, but that isn't specific for USB sticks, students could bring them in on CDs, download them from the net, etc. Surely you block them anyway?
  9. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    The policy isn't a one-size-fits-all when you start to think about it in more depth.
    A Level Computing students need to run exe files to test as one example.
    We have a very capable NM and there are a number of different OUs/Group Policies in place for students, one of which is "reduced security".
    A Level computing students are allowed to run portable apps and exe files from USB pens. However they and their parents are however under no illusion as to the penalties they will suffer if they bring in anything "not work related" or "of dubious providence".[​IMG]
    They do not get a warning. They lose the facility at the first abuse of it. This means they could lose their A Level coursework. Their other option is to only use the facilities provided by the school including a linux box to which they, and they alone, have access including ftp and vnc. I dread to think the retribution that would ensure for any of them that brings it down to the detriment of their colleagues [​IMG]. So far 3 years and no abuse.
  10. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    We have exactly the same, AS/A2 Computing students get more "rights" than every one else. We did try allowing them access to a virtual PC instead, but that didn't work out logistically (too many of them lost their work by saving to the virtual PC drives rather than to their work area).
    We've done this for as long as I can remember (8 years+?) with no problem. It says a lot about the character of students when they have trust explicitly placed in their hands.
  11. HappyHippy I agree, its a classroom management issue. Gamemaker is a useful piece of software, why should we prevent games being played at lunchtime? Goodness we'll be banning conkers next!

    Seriously though, if you get the right ethos in ICT then all of this 'control' is unnecessary. Teaching ICT surely includes teaching about viruses etc. Just as we need to let access to the internet more fully so that we can educate about e-safety.

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