Lab Wastes Funds

Lab Wastes Funds

Elizabeth Chenok, Staff Writer

The pre-existing language lab at Miramonte was renovated over the summer. Now, in addition to a headset, each student station has laptops with a built-in video camera on it.

The computers allow students to video chat with one another, and enable teachers to have more control and options over what students do on the computer.  Teachers can now utilize 10 online programs with their students to enhance the learning experience and teacher-student communication. Was getting a new language lab worth it? Definitely not.

Although the language lab was at least 10 years old, the sound was clear and without delay.

In the so-called “new and improved” language lab, there is a three second time delay when speaking. This is annoying for the student and teacher, and it makes communication slower. “Sometimes the sound will be delayed so I take my headset off and listen to my teacher,” junior Elise Goetzl said. “It’s confusing and it ends up taking double the time. It seems like a waste of class when I could actually be learning.”

The next big feature, the video camera, seems modern at first. Video chatting with schoolmates is like taking one of teenage girls’ favorite activities into a school environment. However, the cameras have such poor connection that the intent of giving students usage of high tech features is rendered useless. Plus, it’s not logical to video chat with someone in such close proximity, especially with a delay.

“We don’t need to video chat with someone who’s sitting 10 feet away from us,” junior Ariel McLean said.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the new language lab is that teachers have to learn the new program and how to operate the lab.
If teachers have not mastered the program, and most haven’t, they can spend more time in class trying to figure out how to use everything than actually teaching. It delays the class, and can be irritating for the teacher.

The language lab was renovated with some of the $12,151,106 Measure E Bond budget.  According to Measure E, the money must be spent on new technology and renovations, to go about replacing worn mechanical equipment. Other updates to outdated parts of the school include improvements to the Crafts room, the tennis courts and irrigation lines.

Some of the renovations were important to the school. However spending a lot of money on a new language lab was not a good use of the Measure E Bond funds. “I don’t think they need to be spending this money on computers and iPads,” Goetzl said. “It would make more sense if it went toward something we actually need.”

The language lab at Miramonte is crucial in helping students improve their language skills, but the new additions only drag the program down and cause technical difficulties when it comes to the students learning.