Op/Ed

Opinion: Media Lab to the rescue!

When much of society shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, we all stopped gathering together in person, and one of the primary ways I made a living, by teaching beekeeping classes and giving beekeeping presentations and workshops, went with it. People pivoted to online gatherings and events, but my unreliable and slow home internet access prevented me from following the crowd into cyber space. 

Thankfully the Ilsley’s Digital Media Lab (DML) was available and allowed me to continue giving presentations online without worrying that my screen would freeze up or my Zoom connection would drop out, disconnecting me from the group in the middle of a talk.

More recently I have learned that some magazines are starting to offer audio QR Coded versions of their print articles. I don’t own a smart phone, only a dumb phone that flips open, but apparently there are smart phone users out there who like the convenience of being able to listen to articles instead of having to read them. When the editor of the national beekeeping magazine that I regularly write for asked me to start recording audio versions of my articles so folks could scan and listen to them, I was again able to make use of the DML to accomplish this task.

Not only is the DML an effective way to produce, edit and share digital audio and video information but it allows me to do so in an environmentally friendly manner. I could invest serious sums of money in purchasing the equipment to try to duplicate what the DML allows me to do, but by sharing the equipment with others through the DML I can help reduce consumption of resources and rampant consumerism. 

This is especially important given the rapid pace of technical innovation occurring these days, which makes any computer or piece of technology you can buy practically obsolete shortly after it is purchased. In addition, the IT help desk services that one can typically purchase with a new piece of technology could never equal the high quality, ease of availability, and thoroughness of the IT help the staff of the Ilsley Public Library and Middlebury Community Television provide for media lab users on a regular basis. If you have not checked out the Digital Media Lab, I strongly encourage you to do so.

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