Lab Updates Increase Instructional Time

Rachel Jin, Staff Writer

New software was installed on the computers in the language lab a few weeks ago to improve procedures in foreign language classes. Though it maintains the same Windows 7 appearance, the operating system will allow class activities in French, Spanish, and German to run more smoothly and quickly.

All the foreign language teachers in the district decided to update the systems. French teacher Ed Willy, who teaches levels 2-5, said that the old operating system was “clunky, and the coding was poorly done.” The system glitches were getting in the way of instructors’ lab agendas.

Tech department head Jamie Corum said the update was made at the request of language teachers in all 4 district schools. She said, “I believe it was a district initiative, in all 4 language labs. The teachers wanted a software that was easier to use.”

The update, a switch in software vendors from ReLan to Sanako, was prompted by user issues during labs. According to Willy, previous lab procedures were slow. Willy believes that the old systems made lab time less efficient, since log-in, internet, and connection procedures took up much of the class time. He said, “It was always taking forever to sign up.”

Corum added, “There were some issues with connectivity and pairing.”

Corum said that the students’ frustration with the slow computers led to damaging of campus equipment. She added, “Campus wide, we’re noticing some issues with people vandalizing the keyboards. They pick off the keys and they steal them, which is extremely expensive to repair.”

To Willy, the “update” is less of an update and more of a “return to the old methods,” trading a faulty, modern platform for old, functional programming. According to Willy, glitches in the old computer pairing system have been improved  in “paired activity, quizzes,” and overall “more flexibility.”

The new language software will be beneficial to learning time, not just operation, said Corum. “With the fluidity of the new software, and how fast it is to pick up and how much easier it works, I think that its gonna increase instructional time. There’s going to be less frustration.”

The change in lab software is not yet permanent. “It’s just a trial. We haven’t paid them for anything,” Corum said.

Some students failed to notice the digital updates, including sophomore Grace Shi. Sophomore Kyra Merryman was also unaware of the change. “I didn’t even notice anything,” she said.

Even so, the tech and language staff hold high hopes for this new system. “They [Sanako] believe so much in their product and how amazing it is that they have basically given it to us for free, for a while,” said Corum.