Middle school gets new Mac lab

"A new computer lab will soon be available to students at Langley Middle School.The school board on Aug. 27 approved spending $47,559 for new hardware and software for the lab.We can't teach what we want with the present computers, Kim Martin, LMS teacher, told the board members.Brian Miller, school district technology director, said the middle school computer lab consists mostly of Mac LC computers from the 1994-95 era. They are not adequate for the more demanding current software needed to teach students the skills they need to be learning at that level, he stated in a written report to the board.Miller said Apple Macintosh made the best offer for new lab equipment. Most of the funds, $28,635, will go toward 28 iMac work stations, including network hardware, server and printer.Adding $5,896 to the cost will be digital cameras, scanners, a projector, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), and video camera, while another $5,000 will be spent on software.Board member Barbara Schneeman questioned the Macintosh computers, pointing out that in the real world they use more PCs than Macs.But Miller downplayed the importance of hardware, saying software today has cross-platform applications. Microsoft Word, for example, operates about the same on a Mac or PC.This is not an issue for kids, Miller said. Only some adults, he suggested, care much whether they are using a Mac or a PC.Miller said the middle school lab was most in need of a computer upgrade. The district's most modern equipment exists at the high school. There are clearly needs at the high school for additional technology, but what they currently have can still be used effectively, he said.The oldest labs are at the primary and intermediate schools, but Miller said the software needs and technology skills demanded of students is not as high at that level.The motion to purchase the lab equipment passed unanimously.Martin Laster, superintendent of schools, said there may be more capital money available for computer purchases elsewhere, depending on how the budget looks in October. "

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