In December I became the librarian at my school, replacing the woman who has held the position since the school opened in 1956.
I’m really enjoying the work. Perhaps it is needless to say, but I’ve made some immediate changes. I’ve started a long-term plan for bringing the library into the 21st Century, but in order to follow-through and turn those plans into reality I have to jump through some hoops.
Every middle and high school in the state of New York is required to employ a certified school librarian, now called a school media specialist. That is why I am a graduate student once again.
In order to get temporary certification so I can continue being a school media specialist in September I have to have 18 credits toward my Master of Library Science (school media division) degree by the end of August.
Do the math. Credits come in little packages, three at a time and I need six of those packages in the next six months. I’m taking three classes – nine credits – now and will take another three classes over the summer.
Taking three classes while working full time is taxing, but this essay is not about that marathon.
This is about one session of one of the classes. At least I hope it is only about one session.
The class is called The Technology of Information and it is a required introductory course. We had our second session earlier this week.
Students are not allowed into the computer lab in which we take the course until the professor arrives so we were all hanging out in the hallway outside chatting and checking our email and text messages on our smartphones or Blackberries. When the professor arrived we all filed into the lab, sat down and logged into the computers, launched the browser and navigated to the class website before the professor took over our computers remotely to broadcast his PowerPoint for the lesson that would teach us about…
…the parts of a computer.
Yes, friends, we spent the next 155 minutes learning that the keyboard we had just used is called a keyboard, that the mouse is called a mouse, that computers are filled with wires in circuits that connect every part of the computers with the central processing unit (CPU) through the mother board.
We learned that peripherals are called peripherals, expansion slots are used for expanding the capabilities of the computer, and that those little USB drives use a different kind of memory than the typical internal hard drive.
We got to look into an opened-up computer, circa 1999. We even got to hold an actual CPU, an actual hard drive and a circuit board in our not-quite-eager hands.
Help me decide: was this a well-developed lesson that was differentiated for auditory, visual and tactile learners, or was it an insult to the notion of graduate-level education?
What would you pay for a lesson like that?