Ideally, I’d have a 1:1 laptop program at my school, but we did just move, update, and double the size of our former computer lab. The new location had to have major cleaning, painting, and electrical work done to it in order to house it all. This former art room is a second-story corner room, and the floor was covered in paint stains, rust spots, and general neglect. (The art classes moved to the fine arts room.) A parent volunteer helped to demolish the cabinets, old radiator-style heating, and the sink/plumbing in the room. We ordered custom furniture from KI.com after they gave us the lowest bid and the most remarkable CAD design/sketch-up of the new space.
My new classroom now has 34 student fully loaded workstations, and a teacher workstation as well. I have a work area where I can work on teacher laptops and other electronics that need repairs. New flooring was installed by the same parent volunteer, and the new coat of paint on the walls were done by several employee and parent volunteers, myself included. We also purchased a learning wall, with locking cabinets for all my spare computers, parts, and tools. The learning wall also allows me to project on the whiteboard surface – a virtual poor-man’s interactive whiteboard. I chose red chairs, black and stone grey desks and learning wall. I had a projector and audio mounted into the ceilings with connections going to the teacher’s area. I also had fiber cabled into the room to handle the load of 35 computers accessing the server, firewall, and internet connection. I use LANschool to manage my student computers, and we purchased software for all of the computers. I feel really blessed to have created my own teaching space with the generosity of parent fundraising (through the school auction).
On August 20th, the students walked into their new Media Center, and it was an instant hit. Visitors to the school can see that creativity and exploration lead students to learn how to integrate technology into their daily curriculum. While a 1:1 situation in every classroom would be ideal, other classroom teachers can bring their full classes to utilize the center for their lessons. Currently, I will share the computer resources with the science department most Fridays and with the resource/special needs department on Thursdays.