So, Apparently, There are No Verbs Without Nouns

As I mentioned in my previous post, I finally have the opportunity to help shape an entire district toward More Verbs, Fewer Nouns. We were, with the Superintendent’s direction and blessing, going from a previous Tech Director who focused on techie things (Nouns) to my becoming Tech Director focused on learning and teaching (Verbs).

MSAD 44But that’s easier said than done! At least at first…

I was hired just before school started and there was, for a variety of reasons, and the passing on about systems, subscription, tools, and accounts from one Tech Director to the other was spotty. Plus the Elementary Technician had also retired when the previous Tech Director did. I’ve always been a technology for learning experiences guy and my own knowledge about how to handle the techie issues is VERY limited.

So, no matter how much I wanted to lead out the gate with conversations about pedagogy, and instruction, and good learning experiences, I was met, of course, with questions of “When can we distribute devices to students?” And “Are you ready for the eRate WiFi project at the middle school?” And “Is everything set for testing?” and “I can’t find my students’ passwords, can you help?” And “We have 3 new students; how quickly can we get them devices and accounts?” And “Don’t forget we need to move a SMART Board from Room A to Room B.” And “When will the new staff have email accounts and accounts in the student information system?”

These were certainly all Noun issues.

And just as certainly I wasn’t going to get to do any Verbs unless all these Nouns were addressed.

So I sent out an email to district administrators letting them know that I would do my best to address any issues they send to me and the Tech Team, but, for September, I would focus on these priorities:

1) Bring an Elementary Technician on board
2) Get student devices up and running and into the hands of all students
3) Do our best have NWEA testing go smoothly
And we were reasonably successful.

For the most part (with a handful of exceptions) teachers and we got student devices up and running for the year, and NWEA testing went relatively well. One of the elementary principals, who had been a teacher who leveraged her class’s technology fairly well, was especially helpful with making sure the MacBooks worked with the testing and assisting me as “elementary technician” until we could hire a new one.

The Elementary Technician position had been posted earlier in the summer, so I had a list of candidates to work with. The hiring process went fairly well, with the longest portion of hiring being waiting for our hire to be released from her position in another district.

Our Elementary Technician has been working with us for several weeks. She comes from tech-rich district and knows a great deal about working with MacBooks, and is quickly learning the iPads. She is picking up on new skills/duties quickly and works really well with both our Middle/High Technician and me. She’s a great addition to the team!!But most importantly, the lesson I learned very quickly is that there are no Verbs without Nouns. You can’t work on instruction and learning experiences unless all the tech is working seamlessly.

And that’s when I realized that you can only be Verb-focused when everything just works.