Heidi Bryson is completing her School Librarianship summer work at the J.T. Roberts PreK-8 School in Syracuse.

The Challenges of School Media and Educational Technology

Two Weeks In

As I take a final quick scan of my internship journal for IST 972 before clicking submit, the list of my daily activities and experiences really hits me for the first time. I am doing – and learning – so much. I’m weeding books, cataloging, conducting lessons and book exchanges, working on collection development, giving reader’s advisory, and more.

My Achilles Heel

The most challenging part of my internship so far, however, is the technological aspect. I am not a luddite by any means, but I knew I would need the most growth in this area. Librarianship today means having a very high level of expertise in this realm. Information comes in many forms, after all, from physical books to digital bytes. As a school library media specialist, much of my job requires expertise in educational technology as well as troubleshooting.

Educational Technology

While I have always been able to navigate my way around a computer with confidence, I don’t know how I could have begun to tackle this venture without first taking IST 663 – Motivating 21st Century Learning in School Libraries. I also grow more and more eager each day to take IST 611 – Information Technologies in Educational Organizations. Education is quickly moving in the direction of personalized learning and 1-to-1 schools where there is a device for every student. The LIS: School Media program focuses heavily on developing our readiness when it comes to educational technology. I am very excited about how far I have progressed in this area.

Troubleshooting

Yet when it comes to troubleshooting, many of the skills required of a school library media specialist can really only be learned on the ground. I definitely feel like I am in the technological trenches right now. Being called down to a classroom to help a teacher with a room full of children eagerly waiting to continue their lesson has been a large part of my internship for these first two weeks. My most (and only) successful fixes in front of all these staring eyes have all come from the ol’ tried and true method: unplugging it and plugging it back in again. This has worked on Eno boards, smartboards, printers – you name it.

I know that this trusty technique will only keep my streak going for so long. This is where my information retrieval skills that I have honed in the program are coming in handy. I have downloaded user manuals, PowerPoint presentations, troubleshooting tips, and school technology guides. Now, I am working through them little by little. I’m preparing diligently for that day when I will be called upon to pair eight Eno styli to one Eno receiver. Or worse, the day when I unplug and plug back in something – and nothing changes.

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Heidi Gramlich Bryson

Heidi Gramlich Bryson

Heidi is a former ESL teacher and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. After serving two years in Uganda and realizing that her true passion lies in being able to support an entire school community, she decided to enroll in the iSchool to earn her Master's in Library and Information Science: School Media. She loves gaming, yoga, martial arts, traveling, and relaxing on her deck in the sun with a great book or graphic novel.

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