Showing posts from February, 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 documentServices > Add to iTunes as Spoken Track
Favorites Bar in Safari
Access websites quickly.
Click the web address in the address barAdd items: click the favicon and drag to the Favorites BarDelete items: click the shortcut and drag from the Favorites BarEdit items: click and hold on the Favorites Bar
Summarize Text
Highlight text and summarize it.
Apple > Systems Preferences > Keyboard > ShortcutsSelect Services (left column)Click the checkbox for Summarize (under Text)Close System PreferencesOpe…

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 incorpor…

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).
Visit and start a remote support session (7 AM-3 PM)
Open a ticket at 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, Wednes…

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. How…

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 look…