Jacobs Hall Boost New iMac G5 Multimedia Classroom/Lab

ACANS News & Information Center

Jacobs Hall Boost New iMac G5 Multimedia Classroom/Lab

Over the Christmas break, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) installed an iMac G5 multimedia classroom/lab in Jacobs Hall 205C.  Information and Communication Technologies purchased 27 iMac G5s at a cost of $35, 613.  The computers were paid for with Pepsi, Student Tech Fee, and lab operation monies.

Eighteen of these computers comprise the new multimedia classroom/lab.  The remaining nine machines were placed in Jacobs Hall 128 and Pete’s Place Cyber Café, both of which are 24 hour labs.  Some of the old iMac G4s were donated to the Theatre Arts Department, with the remaining being dispersed in various ICT maintained labs across campus.

The new computers feature 1.9 GHz PowerPC G5 processors with 1.5 GB RAM, and are equipped with built-in iSight cameras, FrontRow remote control, built-in wireless and Bluetooth, and a SuperDrive for DC and DVD burning.  An additional gig of RAM was added to each machine upon installation.  Each machine cost $1,319. 

Luke Wilbanks and Adron Gardner, ICT student lab technicians and journalism students, were charged with installing the iMac G5s in the new classroom/lab.  Both men were very excited about the possibilities that the new computers would make available, and say the software enables user to navigate through all their media (pictures, music, and movies) in an environment that is conducive to multimedia modes of literacy.  Journalism, music, and theatre are among those disciplines currently using these technologies.

In the pursuit of his studies as a photojournalist, Adron is using many of the software programs available on the iMac G5.  This semester, Adron is taking an independent study, documentary photojournalism, and will shadow a person throughout the semester, learning about them through the photographs he takes. 

“When I shoot a project,” says Adron, “it is all film, but the final presentation is made up of photographs, audio, and video.  Adron will use Photoshop CS2 to edit his photos, GarageBank to add audio, and iMovie to bring it all together.  “It (iMac G5) makes it extremely simple, and because I am responsible for every facet of the project,” he states, “all I have to do is sit in front of the software and do what I want to do.  I don’t have to worry about the technical part.  I just do what I need to do; the software takes care of the rest.”

When Adron turns in his final project, it will exceed the traditional modes of presentation.  It will be more than photographs on the wall, more than a written paper, and more than a verbal presentation.  The final project Adron turns in will also include a movie, a movie he produced.  He says, “It’s my project, every piece of it.”

Adron believes audiences respond to material differently, and that by using multi means of presentation, he can cater to their different ways of seeing, knowing, and understanding.  “It’s great that I can show people my work in a dynamic way.”

Adron is enthusiastic as he begins a new project, and a large part of that enthusiasm is because he has access to what he calls “a beautiful machine.”  He notes that anyone interested in learning the possibilities of the software available of the G5s should sit down and play on them. “There is so much there, and even within a particular program,” he states, “there are a lot of applications that you discover by using the program.” 

Jim Billings, Set Design Coordinator for Theatre Arts, is also a huge fan of the iMac G5, so much so that he has reserved the iMac multimedia classroom/lab in Jacobs Hall 205C for a class he is teaching this semester.  The class, Computer Scenographic, explains Billings, “refers to different typles of media a designer might create to communicate their design idea.”  Billings’ students use Vectorworks as their CAD program, and Photoshop, Illustrator, and Painter as their 2D image processing/creation programs.  Additionally, students use RayDream Studio, Strata Studio, Poser, Bryce, and Cinema 4D.  “The goal, ” states Billing, “is to be able to model objects and study (via the computer) them from any angle before money is committed to their construction.”

Billings says, “This is not only the future of scenic and lighting design, it is ‘now’. ”  With the latest technologies at their disposal, students leaving the theatre arts program at NMSU will be “equipped for work in a design field or for graduate school.  Both areas,” explains Billings, “require knowledge of these processes.  Once a student learns the process, he/she should be able to apply it to the hardware and/or software they encounter.  It adds another tool to their palette. ”

Teresa  Burgin, Senior Technical Director for ICT’s Instructional Support Services, saw the need for the classroom/lab, and was instrumental in putting it together.  “We paid $35,613 for 27 machines (iMac G5s). “  There are 18 machines in Jacobs Hall 205C multimedia classroom/lab.   Each machine cost $1,319.  The total cost of the lab was $23,742, she explains.  The remaining nine machines were placed in Jacobs Hall 128 and Pete’s Place Cyber Café, both of which are 24 hour labs. 

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