Showing posts from 2015

Technology Integration in BHS Sociology [VIDEO]

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Sociology classroom of Barrington High School teacher and Associate Principal Ty Gorman. Mr. Gorman’s students were engaged in collaborative research to answer the essential question, “Does institutional racism exist in the United States?”

The class was structured into several stations and a group of students at each station was involved in online research on a particular aspect of the institutional racism issue, including data and statistics; personal anecdotes and stories; and images and videos.

Mr. Gorman described the structure of the activity as “station rotation” because each group would eventually have the opportunity to research every topic. This activity also serves as an example of one of the four models of blended learning (Rotation Model) as defined by the Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.

Students were truly in charge of their learning in this activity since they were creating their own study guide collaboratively…

Keyboard Shortcuts Every Mac User Should Know

A keyboard shortcut allows a computer user to access certain functions efficiently. Rather than using the mouse or trackpad to pull down the File menu and select Save, you can use the keyboard key-combination shortcut command+s.

If you are/were a Windows user who uses keyboard shortcuts, you have likely already noticed that on a Mac, shortcuts use the command key as the “modifier” key (not the control key). Aside from the different modifier key, most common shortcuts are the same.

Whether you are a veteran keyboard shortcut user or want to start using shortcuts for the first time to make your computer use more efficient, this recent article outlines 5 Basic Keyboard Shortcuts Groups that Every Mac User Should Know.

Apple also maintains a comprehensive list of commands on their Support pages.

IC Teacher Gradebook in Chrome and FDF Forms

Everyone knows browsers can be our best or worst friend, depending on the day, or more importantly, the most recent browser update. Infinite Campus published the following caution for all teachers using Chrome as their browser:
An issue has cropped up in Campus Instruction where modal dropdowns, which are popup dropdowns that appear after a first selection is made, do not allow the user to click and select an option with a mouse. Modal dropdowns can be found when switching schools and calendars, or in Post Grades and selecting Grading by Task, and then a Task selection dropdown pops up. This issue is specific to Chrome 47 and is only affecting Campus Instruction. Chrome has been working on their fix, and it looks like it is in the final stages of testing and check in. The IC tech team will be monitoring this closely and will take any required IC updates as soon as they become available. This recent communication appears we can anticipate an update for Chrome 47.

Speaking of bro…

New Elementary Portal to Your Favorite Online Resources

Introducing a New Elementary Portal to Your Favorite Online Resources!

Barrington 220 Librarians, TSAs, and district web wizard Mandy Fischer have launched a new entry point for elementary students and staff to easily access commonly used technology resources all on one page. This page is still a work in progress.

Clicking Students on your school's web page will take you to this user-friendly page. You will find the district's many resources arranged by type. This launch page is customized for each school with an easy link to your library's home page and catalog.

The portal continues to evolve and change with your input and suggestions. For questions about access or resources, please contact your librarian or TSA. To provide feedback or suggestions, please contact Joe Robinson or LeeAnn Taylor.

iNACOL: iNcredible Blended Learning Opportunities!

In November, a few Barrington 220 District leaders attended the iNACOL (International Association for K-12 Online Learning) Blended and Online Learning Symposium. There were three main points about Blended Learning I'd like to share.
Blended Learning Empowers Students to Own Their Learning and Teachers to Coach Them Toward Learning Objectives, and That can be Really HardBlended Learning Preparation, Practice, and Assessment Maximize Personalized Learning Opportunities for StudentsBlended Learning Requires Best Practices in InstructionBlended Learning Empowers Students to Own Their Learning and Teacher to Coach Them Toward Learning Objectives; and That can be Really Hard The first major step in teaching a blended learning course is releasing control of student learning. We care so much as educators about making sure each student learns the content, that letting go of controlling each step to meet that goal is a potentially gut-wrenching proposition. But, part of our responsibility a…

The 5-Minute iPad Deployment!

Is it truly possible to deploy an iPad in 5 minutes? With some of the new tools at our disposal, we have now shortened the “user experience” to 5 minutes. OK, this is only looking at the deployment from the user’s perspective, once the iPad is actually in their hands, as there is still a great deal of back-end work that goes into iPad deployments, but the idea I am looking at is the “customer experience” for our staff and students.

How is this all possible? Thanks to continued innovation and adaptation by Apple and Apple partners such as JAMF, systems have been created to take some of the pain out of large-scale device and app deployments. For education customers, Apple has created the Device Enrollment Program that allows an iPad to be redirected to our new JAMF Casper Suite mobile device management system once the initial iPad setup process has been started. The user setup experience is then shortened to just a few questions which includes the user’s network username and password. As…

Speakable Documents, Unspeakably Easy!

Kathy Hempel, Library Media Specialist at BMS Station Campus, has been helping staff get the most out of paper resources that they want to convert to digital format and uploaded to Schoology. She has outlined a few helpful hints when trying to utilize the text-to-speech feature. Documents scanned into the Xerox machine must be converted to a "live" Word document. If a PDF uploaded to Google Drive is viewed as an image, it must be converted.Use the conversion tool http://www.onlineocr.netOn your iPad, turn on text to speech:In Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech: Turn on Speech SelectionYou can adjust the speaking rate from Turtle to RabbitOn your Mac, follow these directions: you have technology tips to share, do not hesitate to reach out to any of the contributors to this blog to share in the next issue.
Thanks, Kathy!

Phishing: Sleepless Nights in IT

During this past week, our Barrington 220 colleague Bill received a phone call from a number that looked exactly like our tech support extension. The gentleman on the other end of the line asked Bill to work with him in changing his network password. Bill later realized that his password was never changed and that he had provided his current Google password information to a total stranger.

Not to be outdone, Marty was surfing the web one night and came across the absolute best chocolate lover’s website which asked him for a bit of personal information and an email address in exchange for some tasty samples sent his way. The next day he received an email that he thought was from another staff member. The email message read: “I share you special document. Click here.” Marty couldn’t help himself (he never can). He clicked on the link that brought him to a website halfway around the world. He then entered his Google username and password to receive the very special document. They didn’t e…

IC Grading Update

Spanish Grade Reports

The district is pleased to announce new and improved options for providing grade reports to our Spanish-only speaking families. The upcoming elementary fall grading period will introduce translated grade reports for Spanish-speaking parents. Spanish-translated grade reports are available at all levels, K–12, for the next grading period.

In prior years teachers needed to be aware of the specific language grade card each student needed. This year the process will be much easier for teachers due to the seamless translation of grades for any students requiring the Spanish grade report. Teachers will enter grades the same for all students, eliminating the duplicated standards translated in Spanish, thereby greatly reducing the amount of scrolling required to enter grades.

Elementary Grading Window

The grading window for K–5 will open on November 5, 2015, at 8:00 a.m. and close on November 18, 2015, at 4:00 pm. In an emergency the school office can make exceptions on a …

Elementary and Middle School Math on iPad (VIDEOS)

Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of visiting several classrooms throughout the district to watch how our teachers are integrating technology at various grade levels in various subject areas. When I visit, I often capture very short snippets of video on iPhone or iPad.

Last week, I had the fortune of visiting a Grade 3 math lesson and then a Grade 6 math class on back-to-back days. The more I learn about the Math in Focus curriculum, the more I wish that my own math learning experience could have been like this! At the same time, I very much enjoy watching our creative and articulate math teachers provide authentic problem-solving experiences to our students who are genuinely engaged by the many learning modes used during a single math lesson.

I saw some excellent examples of iPad integration when I visited the classes of Kim Gillengerten at Barbara Rose School and Meg Knapik at BMS Prairie. Kim Gillengerten is part of Barrington 220's LaunchPad iPad initiative—our …

DTC Recommends Schoology as Barrington 220 LMS

Since last year, the District Technology Committee (DTC)—comprised primarily of teachers representing buildings, grade levels, and departments across the district—has been discussing the possibility of naming a single Learning Management System (LMS) for use in Barrington 220.

Many considerations have been part of the DTC's LMS conversation, including:
Availability of professional development for teachers.Ability to transition from former LMS platforms.Ease of use for teachers and students.Connectivity to Infinite Campus.Availability of specific LMS features (assessments, linking of resources, etc.).Flexibility of digital workflows.Compatibility with different device platforms (OS X, iOS, others).Appropriate user interface for multiple grade levels.Communication features.Simplified user experience for students (and parents) to be able to access and manage fewer systems to find day-to-day class information. DTC member representatives reported that many teachers were interested in be…

iPad Resources, Interactive Lesson Tools, and More!

Three topics comprise the instructional technology post for the bsd220tech newsletter this month:

1. iPad resources, apps for creation, and app discovery practices.
2. Versal, a tool for creating lessons with interactive gadgets for personalized learning.
3. An article about Twitter, and why you should be on it.

Connecting with educators on Twitter as part of my personalized PLN (Personal Learning Network). I constantly receive helpful resources to use myself and share with teachers. This month, I'd like to highlight three resources especially pertinent for elementary and middle school teachers with iPads.

Using Explain Everything and Book Creator to Create
This article demonstrates step-by-step directions for using the workflow of Explain Everything to Book Creator for students to create using the iPads.

Using @Appolearining to connect with teachers and resources
If you're like me, you are overwhelmed at the shear quantity of apps available and recommended through the App Store. Thi…

Change Your Network Password

With students and staff primarily using MacBook Air laptops and iPads, it’s easy to forget how to change your Network password. We have direct links to change your Network password in two locations on our District website (in the black sidebar on the left).

For security purposes, you can only change your network password while you are in Barrington 220 on our network.

Staff District Website Home > Staff > Infinite Campus [must be logged in]
Students District Website Home > Students > Infinite Campus [no login required]
Direct The direct link to change your Network password is:

Apps for Everyone!

Barrington 220 students in Grades 6–8 and their teachers now have iPads, thanks to our One to World initiative. Additionally, at least one grade level of teachers and students in each elementary school also have iPad access. Barrington High School students and teachers have MacBook Air laptops. The addition of these powerful teaching and learning tools opens opportunities for teachers to personalize learning and for students to demonstrate learning in ways not possible without technology.

For teachers and students to best harness the power of these devices, they need unfettered access to obtaining the best software and apps available. Our devices can be used both for consumption of content and as transformational tools, due to their ability to create content.

Together, the Teaching & Learning and Technology & Innovation departments want to provide teachers and students with easy access to the best tools available. Therefore, we've worked together to develop a Barrington 22…

Revision History History in Google Drive

As an avid user of Google Drive and a user who is concerned about the design and consistency of documents, I often use the time-saving feature of beginning with a previous Google Doc (i.e., formatted memo, meeting agenda), selecting File > Make a Copy, and then creating my new document using my previous document as a template.

It is worth noting that while this is a great time-saving feature, you may also be creating a potential confidentiality issue. The first edit you make on your copy (deleting your old content) becomes a part of your revision history for the new document, and any user with whom you share your document may go into Edit > See revision history and see the contents of the old document. Hopefully, the revision history content you deleted does not contain confidential or other sensitive information; however, this is not always the case.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a “bug” in Google Drive, this is the way revision history works.

There is a workaround to prevent potenti…

Instructional Technology Links for October

Periodically, I share links for teachers to strengthen Digital Age instruction. These Instructional Technology Links, ITL, appear below with short explanations.

General Education
A Collection of Growth Mindset Videos
Curated by the great Larry Ferlazzo, this collection of Mindset videos are based on Carol Dweck's work. They're all great!

All of My All-Time Best Lists in One Place
Since I already mentioned Larry Ferlazzo, here is the link to his website page with all of his lists of the best Web 2.0 tools, apps, etc. for education. Be prepared to lose an hour or two once you fall into this rabbit hole.

Great Graduation Video
If you need a motivational video to get you back into the spirit of back-to-school...

School vs Learning
Eye-opening infographic from George Couros that will help you reframe your daily objectives.

Education Transformation
Great article from iNACOL on moving from traditional educational practices to technology-integrated, personalized learning, and blended learning mo…

Project Horsepower 3.0

Two years ago, Barrington 220, with the support of the Barrington Area Development Council, entered into a partnership with Comcast to bring wireless Internet service into the homes of eligible Barrington 220 families. After two earlier iterations of the application process, we have launched Project Horsepower 3.0. 
The program continues to serve families eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and who do not currently have full-priced Comcast Internet service at home (current Comcast Internet Essentials customers are welcome to apply). Families who have Internet service through another provider (such as AT&T) are also welcome to apply, regardless of the level of service they currently have. Families that are unsure of the level of Internet service status at home can still apply and Comcast will help to evaluate the applications and will advise applicants of findings.

Applications returned to Joann Fullman at BHS will be processed according to the following timetabl…

Verify Your Staff Data in Infinite Campus

Trees are  bursting with bright colors and leaves are falling to the ground reminding us that inclement weather may be coming in the not-so-distant future. Infinite Campus (IC) is the district’s Student Information System, but it’s that time year when it’s equally important for staff data to be complete and accurate in Infinite Campus. Phone calls regarding school closings are initiated through Infinite Campus. All staff should have a phone number on file, and the check mark should be checked under Emergency and Priority (illustrated in attached document).

Please reveiew your IC personal information before October 20, 2015.

Every Barrington 220 employee should have an Infinite Campus login.Infinite Campus can be accessed from the Staff page of the district website.User Name for Infinite Campus is the same as a user’s network login.User Password is the same as the user’s network password.Log into IC (navigate to Campus Tools, if necessary).Expand the menu selection Census.Click on My Da…

PK-8 LaunchPad Application Process 4-23-15 to 5-8-15

As part of our One to World initiative, Barrington 220 is seeking a cadre of teachers committed to redesigning classroom instructional practices using iPads and other Digital Age learning resources. We are calling our first-year iPad launch "LaunchPad." The group will use iPads and other technology resources to engage Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 5 students in self-directed learning, increase personalized learning opportunities, foster creativity, and stimulate innovation.

The Barrington 220 One to World Initiative:

Allows students to participate as global citizens.Provides unlimited opportunities for real-world learning.Fosters creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.Facilitates personalized learning through ownership, choice, and reflection.Allows for immediate and strategic feedback.
Interested teachers in Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 5 are invited to apply to the LaunchPad initiative as Building Grade Levels. Building Grade Level classroom teachers who apply …

#bsd220slowchat is THE place for BSD220 Twitter Professional Development

Twitter continues to grow as an impactful source for professional development and networking for teachers in Barrington 220. Teachers have added Twitter to their repertoire of tools to improve their instructional practices, resources, and ideas. Thanks to pioneering teachers in the district, teachers not on the original Twitter bandwagon have embraced its value to the point that we now have our very own Barrington 220 slow chat, #bsdslowchat.

In the past couple of weeks, teachers across Barrington 220, and a couple of out-of-district teachers, have accessed questions shared by the #bsdslowchat moderator, Mrs. Caroline Milne (@MrsMilneBiology) and shared their answers the past couple of weeks.

Once or twice a week, Caroline posts the questions of the week:

Anyone on Twitter can respond with their own answers using text, links, photos, or videos: As Tim O'Connor (@toconnor851),
Janet Woods (@jancwoods),

Vanessa Fennig (@MrsFennig), and more did this just this past month. 
You too, c…

Infinite Campus Teacher Web Training Opportunities

This summer Infinite Campus will be saying goodbye to the older Java Grade Book. Teachers across the nation will be joining the Barrington 220 teachers in using only the Campus Instruction grade book. Infinite Campus will be announcing new capabilities within Campus Instruction and they have scheduled numerous free training opportunities for teachers to learn more about Campus Instruction.

IN Course 9010: Using the New Campus Instruction

We will cover the new and redesigned tools available to users, specifically:
Accessing the Campus Instruction ApplicationSetting and configuring preferencesNew seating chart toolNew looks for Roster and AttendanceNew Grade Book overview and configurationNew Planner Tool for curriculum managementAvailable reports Please note that if you do not have an ICU account, you will need to create one in order to sign up for one of the free training sessions, and then go back and register for the session that you wish!

If you don't have an ICU account, crea…