Reimagining the School Media Center of the Future

State-the-art solutions to help teachers integrate technology and excitement into their lessons - ultimately helping students prepare for their digital future.

Using Design Thinking to meet today’s education technology challenges


In early 2018, Spartanburg District One Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jimmy Pryor had to solve a problem. As the district’s leader for technology, he knew that the media centers in his 10 schools badly needed an overhaul. His situation isn’t unique.

The average U.S. school is 44 years old, and more than half of public schools report they need to spend money on their school buildings to bring them up to modern standards. Educators across the country are struggling to keep up with the avalanche of new technology available to them and to effectively incorporate it into education goals. That means infrastructure needs are changing and some old models are being abandoned.

Using Design Thinking to meet today’s education technology challenges

The Challenge

As part of its technology plan, Spartanburg D1 has a “1-to-1” laptop computer initiative for students. What Dr. Pryor needed was a support structure for those devices, and he wanted the media centers to fit into that goal physically and instructionally.

“It’s not really about the device. It’s what surrounds it,” said Dr. Pryor.

The district started by looking at the layout and furniture in the media centers, but Dr. Pryor knew the problem required more than just an updated physical space. He had to straddle the past expectations of a media center, the current expectations, and also the needs of the future.

The Solution

Looking for a solution to challenging question of what to do about such a complex problem, Dr. Pryor came to CompuCom’s Design Thinking Team.

“As we looked for a solution, we came across CompuCom, visited CompuCom, and saw what the layout and the focus was there. I had heard of Design Thinking, but hadn’t really implemented that model into leading these 10 media centers,” said Dr. Pryor.

Design Thinking employs design methods which lead to immediate tangible solutions. Instead of creating a product first, a team begins by working to understand issues and challenges from the perspective of the end-user through listening and research.

The Results

Through the Design Thinking team, Spartanburg School District and CompuCom came up a plan. The winning concept for the “Media Center of the Future” included these components:

  1. The Spartanburg D1 Portal - a website and mobile collaboration tool to connect teachers and media center specialists that also provides access to a multitude of resources.
  2. Collaboration and instant communication with the media center specialist - Using Cisco Webex Teams, users have a website and app-based tool where they are able to send messages, share files, and meet with different teams - all in one place.
  3. Flexible scheduling - CompuCom solved the flexible scheduling requirement through the use of Google’s G Suite, which the district was already using. Using the online calendar, teachers can reserve areas like the makerspace and the group collaboration area in the media center to give students several options to apply what they’ve learned in lessons.
  4. Remote Media Center - a self-checkout concept for “vending” books and other media using CompuCom Digital Lockers.
  5. Digital signage and student/teacher showcase - In addition to digital signage with corresponding content management that announces things like upcoming events, new books, and new robotic projects, CompuCom leveraged the WebEx Teams displays and furniture to create both technical and non-technical student/teacher showcases to display student or teacher work.
  6. Walk-up, student-run, tech bar/teaming tables/student learning pods/makerspaces - Leveraging furniture solutions from Office Depot, the media center offers an exciting range of inviting spaces for students to learn in.

For a more in-depth look at the work and the results that are benefiting Spartanburg School District, download the Industry Insight report.

Client Name: 
Spartanburg School District 1
Services Provided: 
  • Design Thinking
  • Digital Lockers
  • Cisco Webex Teams
  • Digital Signage
  • Furniture Design by Office Depot
Measurable Results:
  • With the Media Center of the Future project, Spartanburg County School District One and CompuCom used Design Thinking to develop state-the-art solutions to help teachers integrate technology and excitement into their lessons - ultimately helping students
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