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Georgia Southern University

Graduate earns diploma, regional award for innovation as media specialist

Two weeks before participating in Georgia Southern University’s virtual graduation in May to earn an Ed.S. in instructional technology from the College of Education, Dixie Shoemaker became the recipient of the 2020 East Georgia Regional Library Media Specialist of the Year award from the Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA). The honor recognizes K-12 library media specialists whose instructional collaborations foster student engagement and achievement through innovative programs. 

“I was honored and humbled that so people would take the time to nominate me,” said Shoemaker. 

Shoemaker is entering her sixth year as the media specialist at Copeland Elementary School in Augusta, Georgia. Prior to that, she served as an elementary classroom teacher for nine years.

“As a classroom teacher, I found myself being the one that always jumped on the newest technology and would help others learn how to use it,” she said. “I loved my kids, and I still wanted to be with them, so I did extensive research on what jobs I might want to do with technology. Once I figured out I wanted to work as a library media specialist, I did additional research to find what schools offered this program, looking at their reviews, flexibility and affordability.”

As such, she landed at Georgia Southern in 2013, where she completed a master’s in instructional technology in 2015. Shoemaker secured her current job before completing her degree.

“I love my job,” she said. “I get to use my job and experience to help even more people than before. I tell my students I have 615 kids because they are all my kids. I get to help them all.”

To expand her abilities even further, Shoemaker enrolled in the University’s Ed.S. in instructional technology program in 2018. 

“I must have lost my mind to go back to school with a one year old,” she said. “But I couldn’t help it. I am a lifelong learner, and this degree makes me more useful.”

In light of the current distance learning situation around the nation, Shoemaker said the timing of her specialist degree could not have been better.

“This degree did two things for me,” she said. “It solidified my knowledge about how to teach both teachers and students to be 21st-century learners. It also prepared me to easily transition my school over to distance learning and provide a marriage, so to speak, of technology and education.”

When COVID-19 hit, Shoemaker was ready.

“Not one of my teachers complained,” she said. “They were willing to learn and we worked together.” 

To help keep in touch with the students Shoemaker created her own daily show, offering support to teachers and students with information on resources available to them while away from the school. 

Right now Shoemaker is focused on the present but sees many paths for the future.

“I love exploration,” she said. “So who knows (what’s next), but right now I am happy. There is so much more I want to do for my students and teachers right where I am.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 26,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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