By Samuel Manilla, senior & Tech Minion
A fair amount of people know about Beaverton’s new “Future Ready” initiative, but to those who don’t… 15 schools across the Beaverton School District have been selected to participate in the “Future Ready” program, which aims to improve classroom interactions through technology integration. While I can’t speak for other schools, I know that BHS is achieving this integration through the use of Google Chromebooks, which have been distributed to almost every classroom in Beaverton High and are available for student use. A number of classes have also been the flagship for the “1 to 1” initiative, which will provide every student in BHS a Chromebook of their own for the entirety of the school year, allowing for school-wide utilization of Google’s productivity softwares (as well as some third-party classroom services). It’s a nerd’s dream.
Of course with all of this new tech in our school, somebody has to be able to teach the old dogs some new tricks, and that’s where Mr. Novinger comes in. Mr. Benjamin Novinger, formerly BHS’s Japanese language teacher, has taken up the role of Library Instructional Technology Teacher (LITT) for Beaverton High School. It’s his job to teach students and teachers the nuances of Chromebook use, and to explain the ins and outs of the various new classroom resources that will be utilized in the next few years. He also provides technology assistance when something goes horribly wrong with the Chromebooks, and regularly meets with other LITTs to get new ideas on how to improve our system.
“Helpful people just trying to help set up the future here at BHS”
– Zachary Danner
This is a massive workload for just one man, no matter how awesome he may be, and so Mr. Novinger has enlisted a crack team of nerds, geeks, and techies to assist him in preparing BHS for the future. He has recruited passionate and knowledgeable students from across the halls of Beaverton to form his nerd squadron. This collective of computer-knowers calmly and confidently cooperate with their collegiates to complete tasks regarding Chromebooks, computer tech, and (occasionally) calculators. They are known by many names: Technology Assistants, Tech TAs, and (my personal favorite) Tech Minions.
Kordell Fink (left) and David Murray (right) hanging out in the Chromebook storage room.
But what does a Tech Minion actually do? Well, for the most part they hang out in the Library waiting for someone to come to them with a computer problem. Occasionally they are given tasks such as:
Rewiring Chromebook carts
Sanitizing the public-use Chromebooks
Helping with library maintenance
Assembling those fancy, heavy desks we got from Nike
Assisting Ms. Glenna Volk with the arduous task of checking the connections in BHS’s many computer labs (short note about Glenna: she is amazing, and almost single-handedly manages all of the technology in BHS; if you see her in the hallways, be sure to thank her for being awesome)
You can also find the Tech Minions helping Mr. Novinger by experimenting with various online education assistance softwares, because nothing is perfect and sometimes you just have to figure without what constitutes being “good enough.”
Kordell Fink and Mr. Novinger attempting to fix a printer.
The life of a Tech Minion may seem boring, and it certainly is sometimes, but at the end of the day they all enjoy what they do. Sure, not everybody likes the Future Ready program, but few would argue that having the Tech Minions is a bad thing. Tech Minions take pride in their work, because they know that just by being around they are helping improve BHS for future generations, and I’m honored to be a part of such an awesome group of people.