Any classroom can be a computer lab

It’s not always necessary to reserve a special computer lab when you want to integrate computer activities into your course.  Traditional computer labs have fixed seating and aren’t well suited to group work or discussion; students are hidden behind large screens.


In Geology 421 Dr. Alain Plante's students use bring their computers to class and build models to forecast climate change

Dr. Plante uses special software that lets his students display their computers on the classroom projector over the wireless network.  In this photo we see displays from 3 different students' computers on screen at the same time.  This software can be installed in most classrooms at Penn.

With a little preparation, you can conduct many type of computing activities in a regular classroom room.  This is especially true if students only need a web browser or word processor to do their work. 

  • Over 90% of Penn undergraduates have a laptop computer.  If you want them to bring their computers to class, just ask them to do so.  Many classes already take this approach and find that it works just fine.
  • If a few of your students don’t have laptops, SAS Computing Multi-Media Services may be able to provider loaners.
  • Almost every classroom at Penn has good wireless networking coverage
  • Many seminar style rooms now have electric outlets built into the tables. Multi-Media Services can provide outlet strips and extension cords as needed
  • SAS Computing staff may be able to provide support for activities that require special configuration on student computers.  For example, we provided instructions to students on how to setup their computers for writing in Chinese.

Please contact SAS Computing Multi-Media Services for more information about how to integrate computing activities into your classroom.  Send mail to or call 215-898-4947


If you need to use the special software that's only available in our computer labs, please use our computer lab request form.