USB Flash Drives have never worked with the iPad. Editing word documents is not possible unless you have an app that opens them and lets you edit (e.g., QuickOffice Pro or Docs to Go)
You *might* be able to move photos from an SD card to the iPad using the Camera connection kit. However, the photos must be in a special DCIM folder and be numbered in a special way that the iPad can recognize. It's much easier to simply use Photostream or iTunes to transfer.