Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mac OS X Tips for Your Classroom

Several weeks ago, I attended an event at Apple that included a demonstration of several features built into OS X, the operating system that runs Mac laptops and desktop computers. Although the presentation was about the Mac's "Accessibility" features, I found many of these features to be useful for any teacher, student, or staff member.

You will find eight of my favorite features below:

Add to iTunes as Spoken Track
Create an iTunes audio track of selected text.
  • Open a document
  • Services > Add to iTunes as Spoken Track

Favorites Bar in Safari
Access websites quickly.
  • Click the web address in the address bar
    • Add items: click the favicon and drag to the Favorites Bar
    • Delete items: click the shortcut and drag from the Favorites Bar
    • Edit items: click and hold on the Favorites Bar

Summarize Text
Highlight text and summarize it.
  • Apple > Systems Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts
  • Select Services (left column)
  • Click the checkbox for Summarize (under Text)
  • Close System Preferences
  • Open a document
  • Select text (highlight it)
  • Application menu > Services > Summarize

Look up a word in a dictionary.
  • Open a document
  • Highlight a word
  • control+command+d

Help with Spelling
Get spelling suggestions for a word.
  • Open a document
  • Type a few letters of a word
  • Press the esc key

Take Screen Captures
Take a picture of all or part of a screen.
  • shift+command+3 (takes a picture of the entire screen)
  • shift+command+4 then drag a rectangle on the screen (takes a picture of a part of the screen)
  • Images appear on the Desktop

Make Screen Video Recordings
Take a video of all or part of a screen.
  • Launch QuickTime Player (in the Applications folder)
  • File > New Screen Recording
  • (Use the down arrow next to the red record button to select microphone)
  • Press the red record button
  • (Follow the on-screen directions)
  • Stop the recording by clicking the stop button in the menu bar toward the right

Reader View
Remove distractions from web pages in Safari.
  • Visit a webpage
  • Click the tool below that looks like stacked horizontal lines (appears only when available):

Taking a Hammer to SAMR: Modification

An earlier article defined Dr. Ruben Puentedura's SAMR model as a tool teachers can use to describe the opportunities afforded to students by technology integration. In this fifth article of the "Taking a Hammer to SAMR" series, we learn about Modification, the third level of the SAMR scale: the use of technology tools that allow for a redesign of the original task. Both Modification and Redefinition refer to Transformational uses of technology.

The SAMR Activity Scale:

The SAMR Activity Scale outlines how technology use affords students opportunities to learn and demonstrate learning. In the SAMR continuum, Modification refers to the use of technology tools that allow for a redesign of the original task. At the Modification level, technology use transforms the task of a given lesson. The Pedagogy and Content Knowledge of TPACK remain the same, regardless of the technology use, in any lesson; it's the Technology use that changes. The Modification level of SAMR incorporates student choice, student ownership, increased accessibility, use of resources from the web, and increased choice in use of technology by the student (rather than the teacher).

Example First Grade Lesson: Types of Clouds (Weather Unit)

Student uses the iPad to navigate to a website to read an article with photos of a types of clouds online and then uses photos from the camera app, photos from other websites online, and the Explain Everything app to create and narrate a slide that explains and displays the definition of a type of cloud.

This is Modification because the teacher redesigns the product for the lesson. The objective is still for students to learn and demonstrate their knowledge of the different types of clouds, but this lesson offers deeper student engagement and more opportunities for demonstrating understanding.

Modification, the third level of the SAMR scale, refers to the use of technology tools that allow for a redesign of the original taskIn the next issue, the "Taking a Hammer to SAMR" series will focus on Redefinition, the final step toward Transformational technology integration.

Taking a Hammer to SAMR: Substitution

Taking a Hammer to SAMR: Augmentation

Use the Comments section below to share your reflections about the Modification level.

Technology Support Options

In addition to working with building Support Technicians (“Techs”), you have three ways to request technology support in Barrington 220.

Click here to download a flyer that summarizes the technology support options:

Call extension 1500 (224-655-1500), 
our new Service Desk (7 AM-3 PM).

and start a remote support session (7 AM-3 PM)

if you do not need immediate support.

Support Technician Schedules
  • Barrington High School: Carolyn Glenn and Lisa Gough (Monday-Friday)
  • BMS - Prairie: Jason Bryant (Monday-Friday)
  • BMS - Station: Kim Martinez (Monday-Friday)
Elementary Support Technicians are each assigned to two schools and also provide support for the entire district as needed.
  • Arnett Lines: True Kong (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
  • Barbara Rose: True Kong (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
  • Countryside: Patti Hecker (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday)
  • Grove Avenue: Dennis Solinko (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
  • Hough Street: Sandee Kramer (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
  • North Barrington: Dennis Solinko (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
  • Roslyn Road: Sandee Kramer (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
  • Sunny Hill: Patti Hecker (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday)

Questions? Please contact Mark Polzin, Barrington 220’s Technology Support Supervisor, at or 847-756-2486.

Email and Calendar System Change

For many years, Barrington 220 has used the GroupWise email and calendar system. For the last two years, our district has also been using several features available in the Google Apps for Education suite of services. With the increasing use of Google Apps for Education and a routine GroupWise email and calendar system upgrade on the horizon, we took the opportunity to discuss the best possible email and calendar options for the district, including GroupWise, Google, and other systems.

Our conversations included the Technology Department, district administrators, and most recently, the teacher and staff representatives on the newly formed District Technology Committee. Overwhelmingly, all groups favored a switch to Google’s Gmail and Google Calendar services that are a part of the Google Apps for Education package already in use in Barrington 220.

While we are fully aware that changing two major communication systems (email and calendars) will cause various levels of inconvenience. However, we believe that the positives—namely integration among systems in Google Apps for Education—outweigh the negatives. Further, Google Apps for Education is free to school districts and now offers unlimited data storage for educational institutions.

Our plan is to make the transition from GroupWise to Gmail and Google Calendars during Spring Break 2015. The Technology Department has been doing some work in the background to help all staff members make this transition smoothly and successfully.

The top issues regarding this change have included the follow questions:

Q. Will my email address change?
A. No. Your email address will still be 

Q. Will my old email messages disappear?
A. No. You will have complete access to all your old email messages. Although we will not be moving your old messages into Gmail, you will be able to access all your old email messages using a system described below.

Q. What will happen to my calendar entries in GroupWise?
A. You can export your GroupWise calendar and import it into Google Calendar. Directions are already available.

Q. How do I use Gmail and Google Calendar?
A. If you already have a free personal Gmail account, you already know how to use the system. We have training resources available now if you wish to begin learning Gmail and Google Calendar.

To make it easy to begin the GroupWise to Gmail transition, we have created a one-stop website that will contain all training and information related to this change:
Please bookmark this site for your convenience. We will also provide this web address in each communication regarding the transition.

Training materials for Gmail and Google Calendars are available now:

Access all your old GroupWise messages using our district’s “Retain” system:

You may begin using Google Calendars at any time between now and Spring Break 2015. Directions for exporting current GroupWise calendars and importing calendars into Google Calendar are available:

More information will be added to the GroupWise to Gmail site as Spring Break approaches. Watch for more information in future issues of the bsd220tech newsletter.

Please feel free to leave comments below! Your comments will help us answer questions and provide additional information on the GroupWise to Gmail site.

Archived Email Messages: Did you know?

Did you know that all Barrington 220 email messages are archived and available?

Barrington 220 recently received a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that required us to produce, among other information, a copy of all email messages that went back and forth between our staff members and a specific company over a 30-month period of time. We were able to use our email archiving system, GWAVA Retain, to accommodate this request, providing the information requester approximately 1,000 email documents.

While this GWAVA Retain email archive system was deployed in large part to meet these FOIA and other legal requests, it also provides each staff member access to a repository of their sent or received email messages. Retain was deployed in Spring 2010 and currently contains all email messages that traversed our mail system since that deployment.

So why mention this system now? As Barrington 220 transitions to Gmail, a part of Google Apps Education, for our email messaging we are looking toward a “fresh start” approach, leaving behind the GroupWise system. Our Retain email message archive system will provide staff members with access to older messages that they may occasionally need to reference.

Why a “fresh start” approach with our switch to a new email system?  When looking at other districts that have also made the switch to Google Apps for Education for their email messaging, one of their great “pain points” was encountered when districts tried to transfer messages from one system to another. The transfer just does not work well, given the great differences between the email systems.

Our Retain email message archive system is certainly not a speed demon on message searches, as its focus is more on speed of archiving messages with actual message searches being a secondary task. With that said, it is fairly easy to access and use. Here is a link to the system:

Login to our Retain archive system using your network username and password:

Click the Search tab. This image shows a 30-day search for all messages and calendar items that include "Google" in the message "Subject" line:

When learning the various search features, the Help button and the Help documentation offers some fairly clear and concise information:

Stay tuned for much more information on all of our email messaging systems as we look toward a transition to Google Apps this coming spring. This information will be provided via a web site, offering "one stop" for all of your information needs.

Summer Tech Support In...and Out...of Barrington 220

Although our current weather may not belie this, summer is, indeed, coming! I just wanted to take a moment to remind you that our tech sup...