Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hand-me-down lab?

Wow, I cannot tell you how upset this move is making me....  
It's as if the last 25 years of work that I have done in Room 429 is just to be thrown out the window.  Now I'm told that I'm not to have a new lab in Room 622 after all.  I'm to go into Room 612, the current English Dept Writing Lab!  If memory serves, this lab is on the first floor and is really small without even any room for a projector and consists of several computers I used to have in Room 429 years ago - my own had-me-downs!!  What at a huge step backwards obviating many innovations I've brought to the Baldwin school district in general and to my students in particular!!!

Best case scenario is that I don't move at all.  If I stay in Room 429 and the rest of the Math dept moves to the 600 wing, so be it, I'll be an island onto myself in a sea of Foreign Language classes (Math is replacing English, but English is replacing Foreign Language)!  Room 429 is already the ideal Computer Science/Calculus Research Lab!  It isn't just the computers, which are state of the art by the way (25 dualcore 2GHz 64-bit AMD Athlons amounting to a 50 core superCluster or super computer running at 100GHz with 1000GB storage and gigaBit switched Ethernet) .  Its the infrastructure too: 

(1) I'm running three Linux servers from there (ftp, ssh and apache soon to be SAGE; centauri, colossus and guardian). 
(2) There's an enourmos amount of power going into that room for PCs, printers, projectors, speakers, mics and AC. 
(3) I've setup a Windows Smartboard as well as a Linux Smartboard after many hours of research and work on my part these past three years alone. 
(4) Don't forget, there's three networks in there too for Windows, Linux and the superCluster.

Next best case would be moving to Room 622 with all the hardware listed above moving with me.  However, that's a huge undertaking, requiring a large commitment of man-hours and funding.  Further, you know that there will be millions of bugs after a move like that severely limiting instructional time after the move.

Third best case is moving to Room 622 and designing a whole new lab from scratch.  Wow, imagine the man-hours and funding involved for that!  Also, don't forget that Room 622 only has room for 18 students as opposed to the current 24 stations (computer desktop + wooden desktop) in Room 429.

Clearly, the worst case scenario is dumping me into a writing lab!  How will I run Linux and java to teach my AP Computer Science classes?  How will I run all the superCluster apps for myComputing Independent Study class??  How will we implement SAGE for the new Calculus Research Lab???  How will I display and record my Smartboard lessons in AP Calculus BC????

As you can see, moving the Computer Science/Calculus Research/SmartBoard/superCluster Lab is a really, really bad idea!  I've been working to perfect this lab since the 1980s.  I've made several hardware/firmware/software/infrastructure/curricular innovations over the course of these past, nearly, three decades that have inspired computer labs all over the district.  Said innovations, built into Room 429, will be near to impossible to move or replicate....

Learning with Technology,

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