Will you help create the best computer lab around?

I am working on the plan for our new computer lab. After working diligently, we've gotten a grant for a new computer lab and I am very excited. The previous lab was excellent and the computers have lasted six years. (We've even edited a little bit of lower level video on these machines.)

I've created a wiki for our vendors to look at and price and I would love your help. Here is what I have gotten planned so far for the computer lab. I would appreciate your input if you think I've left anything out. I especially appreciate recommendations, etc. and specifics. I asked for your input on gradebook software and one of you e-mailed me off line and suggested PowerSchool. Although Apple has sold Powerschool we're still going with them and feel that great things are in store for this system. This was a direct result of blogging and asking you.

So, you can comment or, if you do not want to be quoted publicly, e-mail me your thoughts on the tentative plans for the computer lab.

Current Information from the Technology Plan Wiki:

We want to purchase a state of the art computer lab. Here are the guidelines that we know we want, however, we want suggestions of other things used in schools that are beneficial for teaching. We also have many problems with the current configuration that we would like to solve.

What we teach in this room:
We teach keyboarding, Computer applications (Microsoft Office programs and Adobe Photoshop), Introductory Computer Science. We want to be able to add Java programming as part of AP Computer Science in the future. We have a significant grant and get approximately 1 every 4-5 years and want this computer lab to be state of the art. We create podcasts and are editing video but want to do more of that as a class. We are heavy users of the Internet and printing.

Minimum Hardware Specifications - Student Computers & Demo Computer

19 Student Computer Workstations

  • LCD Monitors (If USB can be on the side of the monitor that would be great.)
  • Hard Drive: 150GB Hard drive
  • Processor: 2Ghz + (No celeron), prefer 64 bit processor
  • Peripheral Connections: 2 Front USB
  • Microphones (non mobile)
  • Web Cams
  • Need to be able to play DVD's in each computer (DVD burning good too if available.)
  • Need to burn CD's and CD-RW's.
  • Firewire access
  • Internal Flash Media Reader: Compact Flash, MicroDrive, MemoryStick, SmartMedia, and SecureDigital camera Cards
  • Workstations need basic sound amplification (built in or non mobile is great since we have problems with people moving and taking speakers).
  • RJ-45 or Wireless card (currently operating at 100 Mbps in lab. We use shared data files and access files on the server a lot!)

1 Teacher Workstation (or Laptop)

  • Configuration: If possible, this could be a laptop so I could move around the room and school as we go with Wi-Fi.
  • It needs to transmit wirelessly to the projector. (If this is available)
  • Requires all software like student workstations.

Monitoring software on teacher computer:
  • Would like to be able to monitor, control, lock out, and view all 19 student computers.

1 Demonstration Computer/ Smart Board Configuration

  • The computer configuration should be exactly like or slightly better than the student Computers except it will need to operate the SmartBoard.
  • Need a remote pointing device that can be used throughout the room.
  • Fixed mounted Smart Board (magnetic if available)
  • We need a good sound system and amplification for this computer so we can hear DVD's and things played on the computer.
  • Needs Extra RAM versus student computers

Computer Mounting:
  • If possible, I'd like it to be mounted on a swing arm arrangement to swing out or move back to the wall to clear space in the front of the classroom. This computer is used by students to demonstrate things for the class.

VCR/DVD/CD Combo Device

This would feed into the projector for easy playing of items.

I'd also like to use this computer to create podcasts and may need a better microphone and video on this computer to capture video and audio in the class.

Heavy Duty Laser Printer
Need a high quality laser printer that holds at least 1 ream of paper. Needs to hold up. Prefer HP. Have been using laserjet with JetDirect hooked through server.

Color Printing Capabilities
We have one inkjet printer and it is slow. We need another one. If we could find one with the ability to copy photographs or print directly from memory keys, that would be beneficial to the school. This doesn't have to be exceptionally fast but should be reliable.

Software - 21 copies (Demo Computer & Teacher workstation)

Operating System:
  • Current version of Windows (would like upgrade certficates if possible for Windows Vista)
Application Software
  • Microsoft Office (most recent version): We teach PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Access, would like Publisher and Front Page also.
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Macromedia Dreamweaver
  • Adobe PageMaker
  • Video Editing Software (not sure which?) Pinnacle?, Windows Movie Maker 2?
  • Will have to add additional Norton Corporate Licenses to the ones we have.

Software that we are looking for:
Typing software for the server to automate typing and have fun centrally run games from the server.

1 Projector (Included w/ SmartBoard)

  • Needs to hook to demonstration computer and be transmitted wirelessly from teacher computer.
  • We want to easily switch between the demo computer, teacher workstation/laptop, and the VCR/DVD Combo Device.

1 Wireless Access Point

I need one WAP in the computer lab for those who bring wireless devices in. We could also have speakers and other devices operate on WIFI. I prefer a closed node system.

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