LM_NET: Library Media Networking

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Betty, et al.,
   Although a "lab" (group of 35? 15?) of computers somewhere within the
confines of your LMC might actually prove best for you if you're the only
one available at these times to give kids help on the computer, an
alternative (or interim) solution which you may have thought of already
is a good LCD panel and 4,000-lumen overhead.  Put a computer
(permanently) on a cart, with the programs the kids will use installed on
it.  To instruct a class, have them sit in whatever area they usually do
when you're giving whole-class instruction in the LMC.  Before they come,
you roll out the computer and overhead (my computer is on one cart, the
overhead w/ LCD panel on another; I put them back-to-back) and set up a
portable projection screen (shades of home movies and slide shows!)  You
demo and instruct as they watch the projected display.
   I would stress spending plenty on a high-quality LCD panel and
extra-bright overhead.  Especially when you have trouble getting that
area of your LMC truly dark (a problem for me), you need all the
brightness you can get.  If you'll be using multimedia software, try to
spring for a panel that can handle the speed, color, and resolution
required to display full-motion video from the computer's video output.
Ideally, you really should have an LCD _projector_--much brighter, and
the image can be larger (and you have more flexibility as to how far away
you can locate the projector from the screen.)  I think LCD projectors
that can handle NTSC (analog video such as comes from a VCR and/or
television) as well as digital (computer video) signals are around
$5,000.  This would give you, in addition to clear and visible computer
display, a far better alternative to the usual 27" television for
presenting VHS instructional videotape programs.
   If your computers are networked, and/or you want to demo online work,
just put a modem and network card in the "presentation computer" on the
cart.  Have your network guru add a long length of network cable from
wherever such that, when needed, you can uncoil/disconnect/reconnect it
to snake it across the floor to where the presentation computer is in the
"instruction area" when you're setting up.  The kids may walk on it, but
it probably won't be a problem if you warn them about it.  Same for a
long length of twisted-pair (standard modular) phone line, which you plug
into the nearest phone jack.  This is all a hassle to set up and take
down, but it's doable (at least it is for me in my setting), and far
cheaper than a whole bunch of computers located in the LMC where you'll
have to be supervising kids on them all day, it seems to me.
   Just a thought.

        Steve Grant, Library Media Teacher
        La Jolla High School  (619) 454-3081 x228

On Wed, 12 Jan 1994, Betty Dawn Hamilton wrote:

> Lee and the Group,
> Please share your responses to this one (quote below).  I have been lobbying
> *for* a
> writing/tech lab in the library!  Am I asking for trouble?  My argument is
> that students can come to the library for research independently and have
> access to computers for word processing or other projects OR (main reason)
> the teacher can bring whole groups to get them started on their projects
> as a group.  As they get into the projects, students can work on their own.
> I see this as time saving for me because right now I have 650 students who
> come independently to use 6 computers and I have to explain the same
> things over and over individually.  If I had a writing/technology lab, I
> or the teacher could do group explanations.  (Some also use computers in
> classrooms around the building which means that if I help them, I have to
> go to wherever the computers are...sometimes some distance away from the
> library.  We have extended hours and sometimes I am the only "helper" there.)
> Of course, I apparently have an advantage that you, Lee, probably do not
> have....our library is VERY LARGE.  It was built with growth in mind and
> our population has shrunk.
> If there are problems OR advanages with such a set up, please let the
> group know.
> Betty
>                             bhamilt@tenet.edu
> Betty Hamilton, LRS             .----.
> Brownfield High School LMC      |    |                Home:
> 701 Cub Drive, North        ____|*    ~~~~~~.         911 East Oak St.
> Brownfield, Texas  79316    \               |         Brownfield, TX 79316
> (806) 637-4523               \_/\        . /          (806) 637-4213
>                                   \     {
>                                     \  }
>                                       ~
> > --------
> > When a summer remodeling job is finished in the fall, my
> > already too-small library will also house a technology lab
> > at which students will work at 17 stations at such things as
> > robotics, lasers, hydralics, etc.  A tech teacher will be hired.

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