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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Technology for ESL

The Effects of Technology Use in Schools
By:Leslie Renico

In order for high school graduates to be competitive entering college or the employment market, they must have a wide variety of computer skills under their belt. Word processing and multimedia presentations are just the beginning, often appearing in middle school curriculum. Sophisticated videos and layered sound files are just some of the expectations for presentations in high school. If schools are going to teach all of these skills, the building designers will need to take these needs into account, and the effects of technology use will affect many areas of campus design.

Dedicated Computer Labs
When school board members sit down with architects to design new campuses, they need to set aside space for at least one computer lab for general student use. Subject teachers will reserve this lab whenever they want their classes to put together presentations to cap off a research unit. Depending on school district resources, each campus may also look into purchasing several traveling "laptop labs," which are rolling carts which can carry as many as 30 laptops, with power cords, extension cords and power strips. Schools with these portable labs will need to have enough power outlets in each classroom to support the extension cords.

Space for Technology Classes
In addition to the lab for subject-area teachers, middle and high school campuses also need rooms to teach the technology electives. Keyboarding classes can split a day with the multimedia classes, combining to share another dedicated computer lab. The more electives you offer (broadcasting, journalism, yearbook and so on) that require the daily use of computers, the more dedicated computer space your campus will require.

Multimedia Projectors
Once classes finish their projects, the students will need the ability to present them. In addition to such standby packages as Microsoft PowerPoint, educational websites such as Glogster allow students to post their projects online. When the class' time in the computer lab is over, and they return to the classroom for presentations, the teacher's computer needs access to a multimedia projector that can show the images from the monitor on the classroom's overhead screen. This will add hefty sums to the original and maintenance costs for schools, as the cost of a replacement bulb for one of these projectors runs into the low $200's, as of January 2011.

Budgetary Considerations
Whether it's a recession or a boom, school district administrators always keep a sharp eye on the budget. When utility costs spike, they will be contacting the principal to find out the reason why. What with the expense of powering hundreds of computers throughout the school day, the costs of replacing printer toner cartridges and projector bulbs, and the maintenance dollars spent making sure the district's servers stay up and running, perhaps the silent effect of technology use in schools is a slowly expanding fixed cost.

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