Showing posts from October, 2014

Upgrading to Mac OS X, version 10.10, “Yosemite”

Since teachers of students in Grades 6–12 and students in Grades 9–12 are “administrators” of the MacBook Air laptop that has been issued to them, these users have the ability to open the App Store application and upgrade to the latest operating system. The new version of Mac OS X (pronounced Mac O S ten) is version 10.10 (ten point ten) and is referred to by Apple as “Yosemite,” named after the National Park known for its spectacular granite cliffs and wilderness areas.

Yosemite (the operating system) is the eleventh release of Mac OS X (the first version was 10.0) and represents a major overhaul of the look and feel of the software. Many of the features of the Mac operating system are designed to interact with and complement iOS 8, the new operating system that runs the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

While there is currently no requirement to upgrade to Mac OS X Yosemite, many users may wish to do so to take advantage of the new features. So far, the operating system has been very s…

Assistive Technology in Barrington 220 (VIDEO)

This post was contributed by Morgan Delack, Communications Specialist for Barrington 220. 

Barrington 220 is considered a leader when it comes to assistive technology both locally and across the nation. This video demonstrates just a few of the many ways technology devices, software and services are maximizing learning opportunities for our students. Special thanks to Kelly Key, Assistive Technology Coordinator, and Stephanie Giacchetti, Special Education Teacher at Station Campus.

You must be logged in to Google Drive with your account to view this video.

BHS Mobile Apps Class Featured on NBC5

The Mobile Apps coding class at Barrington High School (the topic of an article and video in the previous issue of bsd220tech) was featured on the NBC5 news that aired on Saturday, October 25, 2014, during the "Weekend Web" segment of the 8:30 AM local broadcast.

Students AJ Priola and Heather Nelson, along with BHS teacher Tom Bredemeir, represented our district well as they were interviewed by Art Norman about the Mobile Makers curriculum used in our Mobile Apps coding class.

Watch the segment.

Google Apps for Learning in Barrington 220 (VIDEO)

Google Apps deftly supplement stellar instruction and a wealth of curricular resources. Our teachers and students organize documents, collaborate on presentations, and give and provide timely feedback, thanks to the tools provided as part of the Google Apps for Education.

Google Apps offer a diverse group of applications, each with unique opportunities for teachers to design lessons, and for students to craft creative demonstrations of their learning. The basic Google Apps of Google Docs (for word processing documents), Google Sheets (for spreadsheets), and Google Slides (for presentations) give teachers and students three fundamental technology applications.
These three Google Apps have features that set them apart from similar applications that have been installed on your computer's hard drive for many years. First, Google Apps allow users to share, collaborate, give and receive feedback, research within the document, and more. Second, Google Apps offer offline options for users…

A Parent's View Into a Teacher's Gradebook

The Infinite Campus Parent Portal provides district parents with a gateway to their student’s school information from a computer or mobile device with a secure parent login. The Parent Portal is where parents update personal and emergency contact information; view absence records, assignments, and due dates; view grades in progress; and pay student fees and meal accounts. Many parents configure their personal mobile devices to send notifications immediately when an absence is reported, an assignment is added, or a behavior incident occurs. The Parent Portal is also the first step in setting up communications from teachers, principals, and the district office through Infinite Campus Messenger and Schoolwires.
Currently gradebook information is available only for students in grades 6-12, but a wide range of other student-specific information is available for all grades.
Parent Portal usage for October 1–29 is as follows:
Student Accounts: 8,336 (Grades 1-12); October Logins: 158,708 Parent…

Managing Mobile Devices

It seems like it was just a few years back when the first-generation Apple iPad tablets hit the market by storm. That was in 2010 and these tablets quickly found their way into the education market, including a small number of iPads at Barrington 220. Designed by Apple as well-crafted consumer devices, they offered few capabilities to deploy and manage in quantities.  
Since that initial release of iPads, corporations and educational organizations alike have looked towards Apple for ways to deploy, manage, and secure these devices and to do so in quantities.  Apple has listened to these requests and has responded, continuously providing more features to help manage growing numbers of iPad tablets within corporate and educational organizations.
This year, Barrington 220 has partnered with Dell Corporation, leveraging their cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM) system to remotely manage mobile devices, including Apple's iPad and iPhone. Through the use of a "third-party&quo…

Teacher Tech Toolkit includes SAMR

Barrington 220 teachers measure their technology integration using Dr. Puentedura's SAMR Model.

TPACK offers teachers an overarching philosophy for integrating technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge into daily lessons. Teachers use SAMR to measure how the technology aspect of TPACK is implemented.

The SAMR Model:

SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition and was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the Founder and President of Hippasus, a consulting firm focusing on transformative applications of information technologies in education.
The SAMR Model resembles a ladder with a clearly delineated top and bottom half. The bottom half includes Substitution and Augmentation, labeled as technological Enhancement. The top half includes Modification and Redefinition, labeled as technological Transformation.
The Enhancement rungs of the ladder allow students and teachers to add small, useful benefits to the curriculum and instruction of daily lessons. Subs…

Problem Solving and Resilience in Mobile Apps Class (VIDEO)

Last week I visited Barrington 220's new Mobile Apps class offered at Barrington High School. The class is taught both by Brian Mathien and Tom Bredemeier (“Mr. B.” to his students). I visited Mr. B.’s class on a Thursday morning. The class teaches students to “code” in a programming language called Swift that is used to create apps for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) and Mac. Like any language that is unknown to an observer, computer code can seem quite unfamiliar, and even a bit scary. But as two students explained to me, coding is just a way for a programmer to send instructions to a device—it’s a matter of learning the syntax a little at a time and combining several instructions together to make an app that does what you want it to do.

Students showed me examples of a recently completed app, a tip calculator (for calculating the gratuity for a waiter or other service). To create this app, students needed to write the code to allow a user to input cost, select the p…

Quick Tip: Zoom Your MacBook Air Screen

Disclaimer: My apologies to K-5 teachers currently without Mac laptops, this tip is aimed at 6-8 teachers. I promise to include future tips that are more inclusive (and maybe some just for K-5).

When I am presenting with my MacBook Air plugged into an LCD projector, especially during professional development, I sometimes need to zoom in to a particular part of my screen to allow the audience to easily see a detail. This is an easy task, but it requires a quick setting change. Here’s how to do it:
Launch System Preferences (in the Dock or under the Apple menu).Click Accessibility.Click Zoom in the left column.Click the checkbox Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom: (there is no need to change the modifier key from Control).Close System Preferences by clicking the red dot in the upper-left corner.
From now on you may press and hold the control key on the keyboard while using a 2-finger scroll up and down on the trackpad to zoom in and out of the screen. 2-finger scroll up zooms …

Communicate Using Teacher Messenger

Teachers work hard to communicate with parents and students. Sometimes the communication is a Facebook post or a tweet. Sometimes the communication is in the form of a blog (such as this one), and often during the school year thousands of email communications are delivered quickly and securely to parents from the Infinite Campus Grade Book.

Teachers use the Infinite Campus Teacher Messenger to communicate with parents regarding upcoming events, current grades, or missing assignments. The location of Teacher Messenger changed with the transition to the new grade book, but this feature-rich tool continues to provide the communication methods teachers depend on for quick and dependable communications with parents and/or students. 
Today is a great day to review how all this works.
Click the link below for a simple, step-by-step guide about how to use the Messenger feature for your class. This guide has been written for Barrington 220. Additional information regarding the Teacher Grade B…

Network Storage Increasing this Week

As a friend and colleague tells me, "no one has ever complained about having too much data storage." With that in mind, this week we are upgrading our Barrington 220 Storage Area Network (SAN) system, providing additional data storage capacity for many of our servers that connect to this SAN system.

Our original Barrington 220 Storage Area Network was put in place in the summer of 2008. The SAN system is used to provide common hard disk space to a multitude of servers, making management and deployment of systems easier and more reliable.

Back in 2008 we added up all of the server storage used throughout the district. We calculated a number of around 1.5 terabytes (1,500,000 megabytes) of data stored on all servers within the district. Armed with that information, we installed a 20-terabyte SAN system in our data center. We also dropped in a 15-terabyte SAN system at our disaster recovery location.

That original SAN system, as large as we thought it was, held for just severa…

Barrington 220 is TPACKed with Great Lessons!

If you need convincing about the impact technology has in education, you need only visit our classrooms in Barrington 220.

Outside of Barrington 220, most conversations regarding technology integration focus on device choice, number of devices, and the total cost. Inside the school district, we concentrate on how those devices transform how students learn and demonstrate learning in school.

Enter TPACK:
Image Rights Free
TPACK stands for Technological, Pedagogical, And Content Knowledge and was developed by Dr. Matthew Koehler and Dr. Punya Mishra, both from Michigan State University. The TPACK model is a philosophical belief about the integration of technology in education. As the image above illustrates, technology, pedagogy (instruction), and content knowledge (curriculum) must work together in tandem to best serve students in the classroom.
When TPACK is implemented well, technology acts as the vehicle that drives the curriculum to the student, through best practice in instruction,…

iPad ON in Grade 6 (VIDEO)

This week I had the opportunity to visit BMS Prairie Campus and watch iPads being used in classrooms. Before entering the room, it was clear to me (and the students) that iPads would be needed in that class today from the “iPad ON” sign posted outside the door.

Students began a math class by responding to a teacher-created survey in Google Forms and later accessed a YouTube video as part of a flipped-classroom lesson. Students in another class had recently completed a project using the Educreations app that allowed them to create an annotated video to explain their thinking as they completed math operations.

Later I met Nicholas C. and one of his teachers, Ms. Heather Bressett. Nicholas had recently discovered the iMovie app while at home, created a movie trailer using the app’s built-in, template-based movie trailer builder, and brought it to school to show his teacher. Sensing her student’s obvious engagement, Ms. Bressett connected this out-of-school student creation to an upcomin…

Here to Help in the Library

Over the first six weeks of school, I have had the pleasure of visiting all of our school libraries. Although the physical spaces look different and the students span from preschool to twelfth grade, one thing remains the same, all of our library staff is focused on providing excellent resources to the school community. Students and teachers visit this space not only for physical books, but to gain knowledge of the many electronic resources, databases, and digital texts available.

Whether you are a first-time user of the Barrington 220 library system or someone who has partnered numerous times with library staff, we are happy to help! Did you know the following about your school libraries? Kindles are available for checkout in all our buildings. Through the generous donation of the friends of the library, our K–5 buildings are equipped with at least 30 Kindle devices.A wealth of databases and other online tools are accessible to enhance the learning experience.Librarians are available …

Doing More with the Teacher IC Grade Book

The number of parents and students across the district accessing Infinite Campus on a daily basis is growing quickly. Many students and parents access IC multiple times daily, often after receiving a notification on their mobile device that a new assignment, grade, or absence has been logged by a teacher. The increase in use of the IC portal has prompted teachers to ask, “Is there more I can do with the IC Grade Book?"

The answer is YES! 

The following Google Docs offer simple directions for teachers, students, and parents to do more with IC Grade Book:
Teachers may add more content to assignments, in advance of the due date using the guide, How to Add An Assignment with Details and File Attachments.Students Can Submit Assignments through the IC PortalTeachers View and Grade Submitted Assignments through the IC Grade Book.Students and Parents View Graded Assignments, including teacher feedback. Staff interested in knowing more may call 847-842-3503 or email me at jnilles@barringto…