Language lab makeover speaks to teachers, students


Photo by Katharine Hackney

Ms. Klein’s fourth hour class uses the new language lab. The language lab was moved in the tech center to be closer to the language classrooms.

Maeve Salm, Contributor

The Language Lab has been moved from its location in the LMC hallway to a location within the tech center.  What used to be utilized as an additional classroom workspace or mandated testing environment has been refurbished to accommodate the technology necessary to provide a well-rounded foreign language curriculum.

As a result of the Chromebook distribution, a multitude of generic-use computer labs experienced increased vacancy.  Considering this vacancy, the relocation of the Language lab was proposed in an attempt to create additional space.  Previously, the language lab inadequately supported class sizes and many students were not able to efficiently work in the designated Language lab during scheduled class time.  Their only available opportunity for assignment completion, if they did not finish it in class, consisted of travelling to the LMC.  Since several computer labs were not utilized on a daily basis, Mr. Huggins and the school district analyzed the possibility of the transformation of an already functioning computer lab into the Language lab.  

“We knew if we converted a computer lab and moved the world language lab we would lose that lab as a computer lab for the rest of the building … but we know we have other labs that students can access,” Mr. Huggins said.  With the greater area for the language lab, additional computers, supplied by the district, were included to accommodate the larger class sizes.  Moreover, the former Language Lab room was transformed into a classroom specifically structured to support the special education students within the building.

Furthermore, all renovation has provided the opportunity for a myriad of assets to be implemented within the language lab.  The lab now includes headphones with increased functionality and quality, in addition to mouse pads that supply the required keystrokes for language-specific characters. Contemporary software has also been synced to the computers for lab purposes.  According to Mrs. Mari Nelson, a Spanish 2 and Spanish 4 instructor, teaching ease has escalated with the layout of the room and has improved. “The capabilities that we have with the new equipment…the power in technology is nice,” Mrs. Nelson said. Not only has the equipment pleased students and instructors, but the central position of the lab has satisfied many as well.  

“It’s definitely more convenient to have the the language lab near the Spanish wing; the lab is now on the left side of the main stairwell [when approaching the stairwell from Student Services] compared to the right side,” junior Grace Kunesh said.

“I think it [the previous location] was a space that probably wasn’t utilized to the degree it will be now, and I think it’s been a pretty welcome addition and change in that we don’t have as much of a crowding issue; and I think the staff have a better teaching environment for the students.  I saw it as a win-win,” Mr. Huggins said.