Dream Lab

One of my favorite training bloggers, Andrea Mercado, has posted some exciting news over on LibraryTechtonics. The trustees at her place of employment have approved spending $12,000 to improve the library’s computer lab. New computers, new furniture, a SMART Board, and more are in the works!

I’ve spent a lot of my library technology training life taking my show on the road and adapting to various rooms and environments. I have set up and torn down computer labs so many times that I go into a sort of Zen zone every time I do it (I actually enjoy it for that reason). When I did a lot of team-training (and therefore, team lab set-up), it seemed there were always an initial few minutes of struggle between the trainers… in which we tried to determine the best arrangement for a particular space.

When my place of employment moved into a new building recently, I was really able to be very specific about the training lab I wanted to have. It was a little overwhelming. I think that because I have always focused so much on adapting to not-ideal settings, trying to envision the ideal was a new thing. I’m happy with how things turned out.

A few of the things I like when doing technology training:

  • U-shape set-up (horseshoe) so that learners are facing one another (I dislike when they have their backs to one another)
  • Printer availability (handy to be able to print things on the fly)
  • Speakers for the presenter computer (show quick videos, etc)
  • White board for writing notes/reminders (I like this in addition to the SMART board)
  • Telephone w/speaker phone (we seem to be doing more and more webinar type things – where it’s handy to be able to have someone on speaker phone in the lab)
  • Comfortable chairs
  • Empty desktop space at each computer (enough room to write, set a folder, etc)

People have started bringing their own laptops to training now and then, so we’ve created workspaces in the training lab for them, too. I would guess the number of people doing that will increase.

Those are a few things off the top of my head. I’m going to try to think of more and would love to hear from other trainers. What’s on your list?

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One thought on “Dream Lab

  1. Thank you so much for the kind words and congratulations. I must make a minor correction, though: just about the only thing not covered by the money is new computers. We replaced the computers in the lab last year, and since we don’t want to move to Vista just yet, we’re holding off on new public machines until next year.

    However, we might try to angle for laptops that can be checked out by the public and used in the classes (to expand the class limit), but that’s just an idea, we’ll see how it goes. 🙂

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