Making Your Workstations Work
My media center has 1 dedicated “look-up station.” That may not sound very impressive, but 6 other computers serve as both look-up stations and workstations. My computers came with access to the library catalog, the Internet, and Microsoft Office. This year, I decided to add more resources to the workstations. Rather than making each workstation identical, I specialized the stations.
When you identify a potential software purchase, I recommend not getting bogged down thinking about how to purchase enough licenses for every computer. Instead, consider purchasing one copy for one workstation to determine the usefulness and demand for the software. If you find that one workstation is in high demand, you can always purchase more copies of the software on an existing workstation to make more options available.
As you consider your technology purchases, consider these possibilities:
1. Purchase 1 copy of software or 1 piece of equipment to begin.
2. List the software and equipment available next to each workstation to both publicize the resources available and to remind yourself of what is installed where.
3. Designate themes to each workstation. For example, a scanning station may include a scanner and have Adobe Photoshop Elements installed.
Some workstations to consider are:
1. A productivity workstation that includes both Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works. Students who only have access to Microsoft Works at home can update, print, or convert their documents. Although Microsoft has a Microsoft Works converter available for Microsoft Office, I have had very little success getting it to work and decided that $40 was worth saving me and my students some frustration.
2. A scanning station that includes a scanner and Adobe Photoshop Elements for scanning, editing, and printing photos or images used in projects.
3. A multimedia station that includes DVD, video, photo, and audio editing software. My choice was an iMac using the iLife programs that come preinstalled: iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand.
4. A publishing workstation that includes Microsoft Publisher for pamphlets, newsletters, and other more complicated documents.
These are just a few examples of workstations. Based on your students’ needs, identify software and hardware that may benefit your students. Don’t be afraid to test out a new idea. By starting with one workstation, you can judge the results and build from there. Having workstations with a variety of software and equipment available to students will not only make them more productive, it will also improve their technology literacy skills by exposing them to a range of both software and hardware.
Media Specialist, Mundy’s Mill Middle School, Clayton County, Georgia