When COVID-19 forced schools around the world to close in March 2020, students and teachers had to adapt to an unfamiliar remote learning environment. Still, millions of students didn’t have the necessary devices to keep up with their studies. According to one analysis of a U.S. Census Bureau survey from early September 2020, 4.4 million households in the United States alone didn’t have “consistent access to computers for online learning during the pandemic.”

Today, K-12 schools are working to remedy the overwhelming digital divide highlighted by the pandemic by purchasing laptops, tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots, among other technologies, and using a portion of the $122 billion in educational aid from the American Rescue Plan.

To ensure that these devices are fast and reliable, educators should put solid state drives (SSDs) are on their back-to-school supply lists.

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Why SSDs get an A+

Prior to the pandemic, most schools had computer labs or shared classroom computers. Students carried small flash drives to move their content from home to the classroom, or they saved their work on cloud-based storage.

As the pandemic has shown, it’s time to move away from classroom PCs and remote storage solutions so students and teachers can do their work whenever and wherever they need to. In this new paradigm, they need a safe, reliable way to carry and share their data and files, and SSDs fit the bill. Here’s why:

1. SSDs are more durable

Traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) simply aren’t rugged enough for everyday use in the K-12 market. Research published in PCMag shows that HDDs can’t withstand the drops, bangs and jostling that come from students on the move. SSDs, however, have no movable parts, making them more durable and reliable to keep data safe and in working condition, even when they’re shoved in and out of backpacks or dropped on school bus floors.

One of Samsung’s newest portable SSD offerings, the Samsung T7 Touch, features a sturdy metal body that encases its internal hardware and keeps data intact through falls of up to six feet.

2. SSDs are faster

SSDs are also fast, which is a crucial quality when students and educators only have a finite amount of time to get through a lesson.

Traditional HDDs, which spin between 5,400 and 7,200 RPM, have to physically locate data on the disk to retrieve it. SSDs, on the other hand, can do this nearly instantaneously, providing significantly lower latency. Whether they’re in the classroom or learning remotely, students can get right to their documents, so their work won’t fall behind while they’re waiting for an application or file to load.

This speed is especially important as schools add more multimedia educational content and project work that incorporates audio and video to their curricula. Students may be working on book reports presented as video essays, creating science fair projects that use audio files or viewing recorded lessons that are massive in size. To support this work, they need devices like the T7 Touch, which uses embedded PCIe NVMe technology to enable sequential read/write speeds of up to 1,050/1,000 MB/s, respectively.

Faster storage solutions also enable students to more easily encrypt data to enhance security without the performance tax that can result on HDDs.

3. SSDs are lightweight

SSDs are simply easier to carry than heavy laptops. The T7 Touch, for example, is about the size of a credit card and weighs a mere two ounces. It can easily fit into the pocket of a child’s pencil case or a teenager’s backpack. The T7 Touch also ships with management software that helps students and teachers keep track of their files. This software is compatible with a wide variety of computing devices, including PCs, Apple iOS and Android devices, like tablets. Providing students with tablets and external SSDs can save schools money, too, by reducing personnel and help desk costs.

Discover how SSD enhance remote learning environments in this free guide. Looking for more classroom tech solutions? Learn how Chromebooks help students get up to speed.

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Karen Stealey

Karen J. Stealey is a veteran business, health, lifestyle and technology journalist with a wide range of publishing experience. Her tech and business work has appeared in Forbes, BusinessWeek Online, Adweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MyBusiness Magazine, Government Computer News, Workforce Management, CFO, Crain's New York and Crain's BtoB.

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