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General Chat Thread, Sanoko Languages Labs in General; We have this company coming in to demo us there language lab software next week, does anybody on here use ...
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    rush_tech's Avatar
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    Sanoko Languages Labs

    We have this company coming in to demo us there language lab software next week, does anybody on here use it have any experience with it?
    Sanako Global / Home

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    We've had the Sanako Lab 300 Suite installed since 2004. It wasn't cheap, about £20k for initially 20 workstations plus teacher's desk.

    You do get quite a bit of hardware though. A custom made teacher's desk which includes all the audio controllers / amplifiers etc. and each computer gets a desk mounted pod that is hardwired back to the teacher’s desk. Each pod can connect up to 4 headsets (2 connect internally / externally). The headsets are very robust, usually the ear pads need replacing over time and the cables near the connections may break (with wear and tear) during long term use. But you do get a repair kit to keep you up and running.

    In relation to the soundcard on your computer(s) you have to make sure you have a line in, microphone and headphone connection. This was not an issue originally, but newer computers (in our case Dell Optiplex) started having a dual function line in or microphone connection, so when we added additional computers to our Sanako suite we bought external terratec audio boxes with all the required connections.

    Our lab does gets used extensively, and we do have week by week issues where by teacher's control unit does not work on all pupil workstations, or the answer / recording sessions lock up etc and despite checking everything, there's no explanation why it happened.

    You can also extend the support cover annually, choosing from 1*, 3* or 5* cover. The higher the cover the more on-site visits are included, which you can use for repairs or as an additional training session for staff.

    Key thing is, get the MFL staff involved from the very start. Get them to try all the options and create a list of what they need it to do.

    Oh finally, make sure the Teacher's desk is powered off at the end of the day / lesson, as on one occassion we had a power surge / spike, and as each pod is connected to the Teacher's desk half of all the microphones on the headsets blew, and had to replaced. This took a while to resolve as Sanako had no mircophones in stock in the UK and had to get them from Sweden. I got the impression this had happened before at other installations.

  3. Thanks to MYK-IT from:

    rush_tech (6th May 2010)

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    We have Study 1200 installed - it's a software + headphones package - no other hardware. The language staff like and are starting to use it more and for their needs it should work well. Room setup is a faff, but it's a once-only thing. It can sometimes hang client machines if it doesn't close cleanly, but that's not common.

    However...

    It costs a lot for what it is - Netsupport School does 80-90%* of the functionality better, in less cpu and memory, is more stable and costs less per client and I personally think it's an exercise in awful software ("the licensing server doesn't work, regardless of what the documentation says" - from the mouth of the Sanako onsite tech). Once it's running you shouldn't need to touch it much.

    * the lacking 20% is something I'm rather annoyed about - we're duplicating software for minimal added functionality.

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    rush_tech (6th May 2010)

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    rush_tech's Avatar
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    Cheers for the feedback MYK-IT I'm not sure which package they are looking at getting but there is some good points to look out for.


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    We've got the 300, and it works well. Not necessarily flawless, and not too easy to set up. We've had a few pods go down over time, but they can be replaced easily. Headphone spares are available from other places than Sanako. Same things are used in theatres all over the country for backstage communications. An ex-Tandberg engineer does exchange-replacements on them for us.

    We never really used the video feature as much as I thought it would be. Too much faff for the teachers to prepare material maybe...

    I'm going back to my old haunt in Languages at the start of the hols to re-arrange the room.

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    rush_tech (6th May 2010)

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    We have Sanako Lab 300 as well. Whenever we have contacted them for help they have been very quick to respond and quite helpful (they even sourced an old version of the software for us when the disk disappeared).

    Quote Originally Posted by MYK-IT View Post
    Key thing is, get the MFL staff involved from the very start. Get them to try all the options and create a list of what they need it to do.
    Definitely. I don't know how much of the functionality we use but I suspect very little. Staff used to complain about no training, etc. but I'm sure we even had Sanako give them some training and I seem to recall that their manuals were easy to follow. As with any system, they need to put in a little effort but I think they would be able to see the possibilities.

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    rush_tech's Avatar
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    Cheers for the feedback guys

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