Tech Ed reboots

By Aspa Akylas
Published: October 2010

Until the beginning of this year, Newton South students enrolled in career and tech ed classes relied on bulky, prehistoric computers from 1999 running on Windows 98 for their projects. In November, a fresh batch of computers will be set up and ready for student use. Say goodbye to old, overweight computers and floppy disks.
As technology and engineering electives do not appear the most popular at Newton South, students in these classes certainly represent a minority group.
Graphics and technical education teacher Matt Briggs, stated his frustration: “I have been [teaching] here for almost twenty years, and all the time I watch teachers and students pass by my classroom and I hear them say, ‘ËœI thought that was a closet.’
According to Briggs, the concealed location of the technology classroom (back of the school by the auditorium) plays a big role in ensuring small class sizes. Before the renovation eight years ago, the entrance by the auditorium was Newton South’s main entrance, daily exposing the technology classroom to the student body.
In addition to the classroom’s hidden location, Briggs suspects that the outdated technology in the engineering lab also encouraged students to shy away from taking his course.
The Career and Tech Ed Department has attempted to upgrade the computers for a while, but without a department head, it was difficult to crusade for the expensive needs of the department.
After years of struggling to purchase new computers and software, Briggs and fellow tech ed teacher Jennifer Stephens, are excited about to break in the new technology with their students.
The updated technology and engineering lab will house 22 computers in total: twelve newly purchased, and ten imported from Newton North. Though not in mint condition, the ten used computers will exceed the capabilities of their elderly counterparts.
All of the computers in the lab will be fully equipped with Adobe CS5 Design Premium, the latest and finest graphics software available. Next year, career and tech ed hopes to inherit additional iMacs from Newton North.
Costly and sophisticated, the Adobe design software offers unlimited possibilities for technology and engineering students. The benefits of this software range from remarkable art features, ideal for designing standout projects, to numerous shortcuts crafted to significantly increase efficiency.
Components include realistic painting effects, easy 3D extrusions, and fluid vector painting. This flashy software will include Truer Edge selection technology, simplified object selection, convenient asset handling, and more efficient CSS-based layouts.
And with professional-quality graphic software, who needs a 200 million dollar renovation?

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