Computer Lab Environments in New Zealand. Where to from here?
Many courses in IT require a lab environment. This is particularly true in the institute of technology and polytechnic (ITP) sector, which prides itself on a practical, vocational approach to teaching and learning. It provides students with opportunities to gain and practice technical skills as well as apply and indeed test their own knowledge of a wide range of technologies. It enables them to implement, configure, secure and troubleshoot systems, whether these are physical or virtual, infrastructure.
What, though, does the ideal lab environment look like? Should this be a BYOD arrangement or a classroom of student workstations or should this be situated in the cloud or some other kind of hosted service? What is best for students? Who should look after the lab infrastructure? How are we to converge and how far should this convergence go? These are all legitimate questions, and as there are no easy answers, it would not be wise to rush into anything and instead take the time to involve academic staff. Afterall, the lab environment, whatever its future shape and form will undoubtedly have a profound, lasting effect on the nature and scope of teaching and learning in the sector.