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High-tech Desks

Jul 16, 2010 3:14 PM, By Dan Daley

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Don’t try carving your name into the desks that some media schools are implementing. When Orlando-area media arts academy Full Sail University adds or renovates space for new classrooms, it now installs KI Datalink desks, which are essentially a workstation for two students, each of whom can plug into one of the two pop-topped cable cubbies on each desk. These offer 110V power outlets and Cat-5 Ethernet jacks for the laptop computers that students acquire through the university at a discounted institutional fee, a tactic employed by a growing number of media technology academies.

“Basically, what the switch to laptops does is allow us to make some of the classrooms into hybrid rooms that can be lecture rooms or labs, depending on scheduling and teacher needs,” explains Scott Dansby, industry relations director at Full Sail.

Each new classroom has cable troughs in the floor with a port for the approximately 20 desks in each room. The instructor’s desks have the same cabling along with a VGA port for video. Teachers use an Extron MediaLink control system hard-wired to the room to choose video and audio sources. One of the more recent classroom renovations also has Wacom Cintiq 21UX tablets at each student station and at the instructor’s desk, creating an interactive loop between students and teacher. Combined with campus-wide Wi-Fi, each student desk is now essentially a node on a LAN. “Going forward, this is how we’re specifying all of our classrooms,” Dansby says.

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