Computer labs in schools are interesting places - mainly expensive areas that eat up valuable classroom space and, aside from the times that they are booked by a teacher, unused and sealed off from the students.
Why is that?
I was asked about my thoughts on a potential lab in my building today. In unequivocal terms I said that I would strongly oppose spending all that money and taking away an already precious commodity (a classroom) if the lab was NOT open for all students, all periods of the day, unless otherwise booked by a teacher for a specific class. In my opinion, it makes absolutely zero sense to build a physical lab with desktop computers if it doesn't actually increase our abysmally low access to computers and the internet during the school day for our students. Why waste that money there when there are so many other things we should spend the coin on that could increase student access?
It's about access to the tech. That access doesn't come in the form of 'labs' which are under lock and key for the entirety of the day. Staffing issues? Make it an optional volunteer duty (so people who want to be there and could actually help the students) in place of the standard study hall duty.
What do others do or use their labs for? How open are they for student use?