Printers in the MS: Newer but Fewer

Will Y., Staff Writer

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Gone are the days of students walking across the building for one sheet of paper and the bookstore stocking 12 different types of printer cartridges.

On April 15, middle school teachers and students gained access to 18 new printers spread around Clarkson Hall. Before, there were 82 printers throughout all classrooms and offices. This consolidation of machines reduces energy usage and consumption of supplies.

Photo by Will Y. A brand-new printer in the eighth grade boys locker commons.

Students used to have to go to their locker commons or the library to print. Now, after sending the order to the network, middle schoolers log into any of the new machines using their ID number, which they may find out by asking their advisor or grade chair or by going to the library.

The printers default to black and white, but can be changed to color from the student’s computer. The color printing instructions can be found in the George Woodruff Library.

With the new system, the school can monitor how much paper and ink is used, and by whom.

“Your ID number is already programmed into a program called Papercut, so we can track how much you’re printing,” said Michael Carroll, Director of Operational Projects at the IT Department. “If the printers ever go down or offline, the IT Department gets a report, and the Help Desk can go troubleshoot.”

Mr. Carroll explained that the main challenge of installing the printers was getting the necessary infrastructure in place. He said, “We had to install network drops. There also has to be power behind each printer, and we had to get a vendor to install them.”

Some students have expressed concerns about the complicated printing process associated with the new printers. Eighth grade boy Hewlett C. said, “I don’t like the process of printing; it’s slower. You have to click many buttons to make it print.”

Tyree Simon, an English teacher, said: “I’m kinda old-school, but I’m warming up to them. Like everything, there’s a learning curve. I’m not crazy about the cloud stuff though.”

Other students have addressed the fact that the new printers require the input of a code. Eleanor K., an eighth grade girl, said, “They updated student IDs sometime last year, and I’m not that familiar with the new code.”

Alexis M., a seventh grade girl, said: “The new printers are a good idea because the old printers were not reliable.”

About the benefits of the new devices, Mr. Carroll said, “Students and faculty will no longer waste paper because you have to release each job once you go to the printer.”

Mrs.Simon said: “I like the accessibility of the new printers, and I don’t have to worry about cartridges, which is nice.”

Although the printers say that they charge one cent per page, this is a default setting, and is false. No money is being charged to student or teacher accounts.

Using the new printers requires students to download a driver from Self Service. Hugh S., an eighth grade boy, said, “Self Service did not work for me to download the drivers.” The Knowledge Bar in Scott Hall is ready to help anyone having issues with Self Service.

The middle school is piloting the program. The same system will be implemented schoolwide.

Although there are technical hurdles to overcome, the new printers are undoubtedly valuable and will add more convenience to the lives of students and teachers.