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Monday, February 20, 2012

Jones 35 Renovation: More Flexibility, More DiLL, No Laptop Fuss

The Language Center staff would like thank all instructors who participated in the recent survey of technology needs. An upgrade planning committee used the results of that survey, along with an examination of our classroom usage statistics, to develop a plan for the renovation of Jones 35. Both the survey and an analysis of our use indicate that the number one technology need is additional classroom space for student audio pairing and recording. Since the MacDiLL software used for most computer-based audio activities only runs on Mac computers, we are planing on replacing the Windows OS laptops with networked, desktop Macs. The layout of the renovated classroom will be more flexible than our existing MacDiLL classrooms, and the room will remain multifunctional.

We are planning to install 24 networked iMac computers around the perimeter of the classroom. The interior of the classroom will be outfitted with tables that can be easily moved to allow for a variety of classroom configurations. Chairs will serve both the perimeter computer workstations as well as the interior tables, leaving enough space for many configurations. This flexible layout will allow the room to be used as both a computer classroom, and as a space for presentations, lectures, and small group work that does not involve computers.

The room will retain videotaping capabilities, and we are investigating options for upgrading the recording equipment.

Our survey indicated that most instructors prefer Macs for classroom use, and a large percentage have no preference. While a smaller percentage of instructors stated a preference for Windows computers, the committee is aware that some instructors have a strong preference for the Windows platform, and we would like to provide the best accommodation possible. All of our Mac classroom computers can fully run the Windows operating system, and the survey results indicated that not all instructors were aware of this possibility. Please contact us if you would like more information on how Windows can run on our iMac computers, or if you have suggestions on what we might do to improve your students' experiences on a dual-booting computer.

We are very excited about this renovation, and look forward to unveiling a brand-new, multifunctional computer lab with lots of layout possibilities, and no laptop fuss, during summer 2012.

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