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Bringing your own device is a trend that is changing the way that computer labs are functioning. It has changed from a solitary workspace to more of a bustling venue for 21st century education. They are best represented as a coffee shop with academic attitude with high-end gear and flexible seating. It is the best place for anyone to study or work in groups. The best uses would be for institutions to optimize the investments towards IT to allow better resources for students to do their work. Labs have started becoming more than just an area where a large amount of computers were installed for the use of students. They are better used as workspaces with supportive resources and allow for collaboration to enrich learning.
Transitioning to a new lab base isn’t as easy as it sounds and IT managers are cautioning towards that. It isn’t a wrinkle-free process to create a new lab; it takes planning, commitment to training and support, as well as patient conversations with finance that explain why there won’t be necessarily be cost savings from the new labs. It is also important to not completely get rid of computers for the students who can’t afford the high-end computers and need the resources that only an old lab can provide.
In Minnesota, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University share curricula and resources; the IT staff are working to recreate the labs for the computer science departments with a new building for the labs. The new department will house Linux and Windows workstations for students to access a virtual desktop using their own personal devices. This will allow for the flexibility of accessing Linux or Windows while using their own device. According to EDUCAUSE, 95% of students who use their own laptops are for coursework.
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