Retrofitting the Media Center

Every five years or so our district updates the technology in the schools.  It’s a big district and it takes a while but The Retrofit has finally come to our school.  The first phase of the changes in the media center started Friday and are just about complete.

They took away the old desktop computers Friday.  Here’s a time lapse I made of that event:

Yesterday they replaced the two circulation computers and gave me two more desktops which will be for looking up books in the Media Catalog only. They also replaced the two big printers and gave me a big fancy new color printer I’ll probably have ver little to do with.

Today they brought in the student laptops. These laptops will replace the old desktops. There are good and bad things about these laptops.

Good: small, portable, will lend themselves to moving around the media center for all kind of different collaborative uses.

Bad: SMALL. Like little 11 inch netbook small. They are not big screens. What you’re getting in portability you are losing in power and features.

I re-arranged the computer tables into a more interesting and collaborative setting but I now realize they are much too big for these small laptops. I’ve been thinking about getting new furniture and paint in the library anyway, so this has prodded me to get to work.

I brought in an expert from the head office and we went around the whole media center while she showed me pictures, swatches and even little furniture blocks and we redesigned the media center on an imaginary unlimited budget. I may not do all of the things we discussed, but it’ll give me a roadmap and something to work towards for the next five years or so.

I’m going to start by replacing the rectangular tables in the “classroom” area. They will have a funky shape, sage green tops, and WHEELS that can be unlocked so they can be moved around however the heck I or anyone else wants. Then the current tables can replace those big honking computer tables until I can save up the money to replace those with more wheeled tables.

Later on there will be more interesting tables, some sage green paint in some areas, new chairs and even some fancy soft seating with ottomans and even some of these cool little tables so folks can work with their laptops on the comfy chairs.

That’s all in the future, though.  The first thing will be the tables and maybe paint to get it all going.  Then I’ll see how the next couple of phases of the retrofit go.  I’ll be getting some other neat toys I’ll be sharing with you soon.  Then all the projectors will be updated and we’ll finally be getting document cameras for everyone.  Lastly (probably in August) I’ll be getting an update to the broadcast room.  That should prove interesting.