Students Head to School with M-Systems' DiskOnKey USB Flash Drives

8/18/2004 - Back-to-school for students at California High School in Whittier will be slightly different this year. Teachers and students alike will be using one of today's fastest growing and most popular consumer electronic gadgets for their daily course work - a USB flash drive.

"California High students have always been eager to learn about and use technology, especially when there is a clear educational focus," said Tony Kuns, principal, California High School, Whittier Union High School District. "One of our goals has been to make sure our students are equipped for real life after high school. We have found that by integrating technology into our curriculum on a daily basis - using PowerPoint to present school projects and learning to navigate the Internet for research projects - our students are engaged and challenged. And when used properly, technology can be a powerful learning tool."

Just like laptops and the Internet, M-Systems' (Nasdaq: FLSH) USB flash drive, the DiskOnKey, aims to be a learning enabler that motivates teachers and students to think differently, to create new ways of using the device, and to get them excited about technology. Using the DiskOnKey also provides students with real world experience using a business tool that is typically used by professionals on a daily basis.

Making Senior Projects Easier to Manage
A unique use of the DiskOnKey is how the senior class students will organize, manage and present the tremendous amount of work required for their "senior projects," which is part of their graduation requirements. A recent Whittier Union High School District mandate requires that all graduating seniors prepare a special research project, which is the capstone of their academic work during their last year of high school. Students work with their teacher to choose a topic, which is intended to showcase the students' strengths, skills and interests in a specific area to the school faculty, prospective employers and community members. Projects are varied, ranging from original music compositions to mechanical engineering.

"There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into senior projects," said Pat Hodges, teacher and senior project coordinator, California High School, Whittier Union High School District. "Some of our students put in as much as 400 hours of work on this assignment alone. The 128MB DiskOnKey devices they'll be using this semester will allow them to keep all of the documents and research associated with this project in one location, making it easy for teachers to track their progress."

Enhancing the Architectural and Engineering Academy Class
One of the most powerful ways the DiskOnKey will impact the teachers and students alike is in the school's Architectural and Engineering Academy. Because there are so many students, so few computers, and not enough storage capacity for the large CAD schematics that students create, the instructor has been limited in what he can assign the students. Come this fall, students enrolled in this course will now each have a 256MB DiskOnKey to store their personal work.

"With the increased capacity, we have the ability to present a much more robust program," said Ricardo Alvarez, Architectural and Engineering Academy lead teacher, California High School, Whittier Union High School District. "Having M-Systems' DiskOnKey fundamentally changes the way we are able to teach this class. We believe this will challenge the students and really give them a full appreciation of architectural drafting and the required knowledge of CAD/CAM software programs."

Easy and Simple to Use
Because DiskOnKey devices are small and portable, students can easily take their assignments home, where they can work on their projects after school. Additionally, the DiskOnKey is compatible with both Windows and Mac PCs, allowing students to share files between operating systems. A password feature on the device ensures students' work is accessible only to them and their teachers, not to other students.

Charting the Progress
During the semester, M-Systems and the school will hold periodic meetings to evaluate how the flash drives are being used and to identify pain points and solutions. "Our ultimate goal is to create a product that solves real-world needs," said Blaine Phelps, director of worldwide marketing for M-Systems' DiskOnKey. "In partnership with California High School's teachers and students, we hope to solve some real, tangible problems for them this semester, but we also want to gain an understanding about the use of technology in a learning environment in order to create a better product for the education market in the long-term." After the pilot program and semester ends in June 2005, M-Systems and California High School will evaluate how the USB flash drives impacted the learning experience and identify additional opportunities for continued collaboration.

About M-Systems' Smart DiskOnKey Platform
The Smart DiskOnKey platform is a unique patented solution offering top tier partners with unprecedented flexibility and ease-of-use to implement M-Systems' expertise into their existing product line or to design their own form factor using the Company's internal architecture. The award-winning DiskOnKey product line offers trusted quality, reliability, ease-of-use, extreme security, and the industry's leading product warranty. Furthermore, M-Systems' Smart DiskOnKey platform offers partners unparalleled computing capability with the flexibility to extend the use of the device beyond simple storage to meet any variety of requirements.

M-Systems' patented flash management software, True Flash File System (TrueFFS®), is an integral component to the Smart DiskOnKey platform. TrueFFS transparently provides full flash media management offering unsurpassed data integrity and assurance.

DiskOnKey products have been submitted to rigorous testing for reliability and durability earning Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Testing Lab (WHQL) certification as well as receiving the certified-USB logo set by the USB-IF. For product information, enhancements and upgrades please visit

About M-Systems
M-Systems designs, develops and markets innovative flash data storage solutions for digital consumer electronics markets. M-Systems primarily targets two fast-growing digital consumer electronics markets: the USB (universal serial bus) flash drive market with its DiskOnKey product and the multimedia mobile handset market with its Mobile DiskOnChip products. For more information, please contact M-Systems at

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