Cheap computer teaching lab - Think garage sale!

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Dec 01, 2004 9:29 am

We have written an extensive article, Establishing a Studio Computer Teaching Lab, that describes how to set up your own lab. I recommend it to any teacher who has a teaching lab or is contemplating adding one. However, a new computer may be more cost than many teachers want to bear, especially if they are just wanting to give the concept a try.

Here's a great tip for those: think garage sale. There is nothing more unloved and cheaper to buy at garage sales than old computers. Typically, you can buy a whole system for under $75 US. As long as the processor is a Pentium-class (most are these days) and the system is working (have the seller boot it up for you), it is probably adequate to run most music software. Make sure that you get ALL the cables, manuals and software that goes with it, since it can be more expensive to replace missing items at retail than to buy the computer. If the speed of the system is inadequate for your needs, about the only thing you have to do to increase its speed dramatically is to spend under $50 on a memory upgrade, which you can literally snap in yourself.

I recently bought a top-of the-line, but old, IBM Thinkpad laptop at a garage sale for $15. I spent $35 on a memory upgrade and now have a laptop for my wife to use teaching for $50 (original cost about $5000)! This was an exceptional buy, but you should be able to negotiate a similarly good price for a desktop system, especially if you go late in the day (say 11 AM-noon), when the seller is beginning to despair of getting rid of what he usually sees as a high-tech doorstop. The prices on such systems are usually highly negotiable, so don't hesitate to offer less than the asking price. Some reluctant sellers will also give you a break if you tell them that you're going to use it for teaching.

You may ultimately want something faster and more state-of-the-art, but this is a great way to go if you just want to try out having a teaching lab, provide some meaningful activities for waiting students or if you want to quickly add capacity to your existing lab. :cool:




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1102011255
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:08 am

As another illustration of the points in this post, I have recently acquired a PowerMacintosh at a garage sale for $4! The system works perfectly and is quite adequate for studio use in a computer teaching lab.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
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Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA


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