Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Supporting All Barrington 220 Students Using Technology

Barrington 220 offers supports for your students who struggle with reading, writing, attention, organization, and more!

Do you have students who struggle with reading, writing, organization, staying on task, or communication? We have many resources available to support our students and to help meet IEP goals and IEP/504 accommodations. Here are a few of those resources...

AT Point People

The following people are a part of the AT Committee and we are here to answer basic questions for you regarding assistive technology: See the list of people in each building here here.  If you would like to join the AT Committee, please e-mail Kelly Key! Anyone is welcome, but we are still looking for representatives from; Grove, Rose and Prairie.

AT Toolboxes

In each school, we have boxes or a cabinet filled with low tech tools to support your students. Items include visual timers, adapted paper and writing utensils, noise cancelling headphones and more! If you want to check out an item to try with a student, simply sign out the item, try it out, and if it works, the ordering information is located in the binder in the box. Some items include: visual timers, noise canceling headphones, pencil grips, adapted paper, etc! Come check it out! If there is an item you would like to see added, please contact one of us. Ask your AT Point people any questions you have or to find out where your building toolbox is located. Check out what is in the High School toolboxes here!

Kelly Key, Assistive Technology Coordinator

If you have a student with an IEP or 504 plan that you would like additional support with feel free to contact Kelly Key. I am happy to provide training to your class, your staff,  or individual students.  For individual student consideration support, the first step is to fill out the Staff AT Consideration form  that can be found here:  and send the parent form home as well Parent form here

AT Website

We have a new Google Site filled with resources for reading, writing, organization and more!  We have app resources for the iPad, Chrome app and extension resources for the computer, core vocabulary resources to print and use and so much more! To access this site, go to

E-mail Kelly Key once the SETT form is filled out and send the parent form to Kelly Key as well to begin the process.


Everyone in district has an Infinitec account (this is where we watch the mandated presentations from HR).  Infinitec has a TON of resources for you to search including videos that you can get PDH credits for!  Check it out at be sure to sign in to access all of the great resources.

App Request for iPads

If you need a specialized app for a student to meet their IEP or 504 accommodations, please fill out this google form to request the app for each student you need the app for.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Planned Student Absences in IC

Barrington 220 has added a custom attendance program to the standard Infinite Campus attendance program, and the feature grows in popularity daily. The custom feature allows parents to report student absences via the Parent Portal 24/7. Parents enjoy the convenience of reporting absences at any hour of the day and they have the option to report absences for more than one day at a time. Many parents have already reported upcoming planned student absences for Winter Break.

To access the feature, parents log in to the Parent Portal, select their student, answer a couple of questions, and enter the date(s) the student will be absent from school. The parent receives a confirmation email regarding the absence, and the school office receives the absence report for immediate processing, eliminating the need for parent phone calls. The custom program works best when parents, office, and teachers have processed attendance prior to the automated absence calls generated at 10:00 a.m. daily.

Some parents have been surprised to learn that teachers were not learning of the planned student absences until the date of the absence. Parent interest in communicating earlier with teachers, using the one-stop method through the Parent Portal, has led to the increased use of another custom program designed for blended learning courses.

The addition of blended learning classes created the need for tracking the days students would have the option of attending class. Blended learning teachers are provided an additional grade book link to report blended learning days for individual students and/or class. The same custom program was expanded to allow for tracking the days BHS students attend an ARC class.

Today we are making the custom program available to all Barrington 220 teachers for the purpose of viewing student absences reported days or weeks in advance. Classroom teachers may choose to use the Custom Links and Reports features to View Future Absences and Enter BL Attendance, to allow teachers to know in advance how many students have a future planned absence reported by parents. Only absences reported in advance by parents display. 

Step-by-step instructions on using the custom link to View Future Absences and Enter BL Attendance can be found here.

We hope you enjoy the new option for staying informed regarding future student absences. Stay connected to learn more about planned enhancements in this area!

Barrington 220 Welcomes Justin Edge

Please join the Barrington 220 Tech Team in welcoming our newest member, Technology Support Specialist Justin Edge.

Justin writes, "I have always loved technology and helping others, and I found Barrington 220 to be the perfect home to use my talents. I graduated from Illinois State University in 2010 with a degree in Graphic Design. Shortly after graduating I began working for Apple as a 'Genius' Technician. I then moved on to work in Lake Zurich School District as a member of their Apple Tech Support Team before landing here in Barrington 220."

When Justin is not at work, he loves spending time with his wife and 7-month-old son—and hanging out with his close friends.

ICE 2017

Each year, the Illinois Computing Educators (@ice_il) host a conference in late-February to highlight advances and best practices in using technology in education. The four-day conference includes two days of half-day and full-day workshops and two days of hour-long introductory sessions and access to a large vendor showroom.

The workshops are designed to introduce new ideas and tools while offering attendees the opportunity to explore and implement new practices and lessons. The sessions showcase examples of technology integration.

Real-life teachers propose and lead most of the workshops and sessions at ICE. We have several teachers from Barrington 220 who proposed sessions at ICE and will present during the ICE Conference this year.

The ICE Conference takes place at Pheasant Run, in St. Charles, IL from Tuesday, February 28 until Friday, March 3, 2017.

This year, those interested in the ICE Conference can apply to attend by completing the ICE Conference 2017 Google Form: We will give preferred status to attendees who are part of their building administration, District Technology Committee, TPACK Team (DAL and iDAL coaches, Librarians, and Library/Technology Assistants), and, of course, anyone who is presenting at ICE. (Please note: Presenters are granted one free day of registration to ICE, but many of our approved presentations include more than one presenter. If you are presenting and are not the presenter granted the free day of admission, we will take care of your registration). Substitute availability will also play a major role in determining who can attend.

Please apply to register for ICE by completing the Google Form by Friday, December 9, 2016.

Art in Instructional Technology

Art plays an important role for students as they design infographics, create presentations, and write blog posts. Teachers use artistic skills to design their flexible learning spaces, create project examples, and publish online newsletters and tweets.

Two outstanding education resources to learn more about how to incorporate art in the classroom and improve your artistic skills are recommended here:

1. Tricia Fuglestad, an elementary art teacher, creates videos using iPad apps and green screens to help students create art and learn art concepts. She's a great twitter follow at @fuglefun and has a great website that explains all of her techniques and ideas.

2. Cathy Hunt, an Apple Distinguished Educator, infuses technology regularly in her art classes. She's on twitter at @art_cathyhunt and has a great website. You can also check out an awesome episode from The Wired Educator Podcast, hosted by Kelly Croy (@WiredEducator).

Everyone Can Code!

This week is Hour of Code Week both nationally at here in Barrington 220! This week, each of our schools will give our students opportunities to learn how to code.

Students learn to code the Dash Robot

Swift Playgrounds: a free app for iPad for first-time coders with a complete set of Apple-designed Learn to Code lessons that make getting started fun and interactive.
Swift Playgrounds: Learn to Code 1 & 2 Teacher Guide: a guide that provides lesson plans, evaluation rubrics, downloadable presentations, and more to help any teacher bring Swift Playgrounds into the classroom.
Video Lessons for Swift Playgrounds on iTunes U: a great new course featuring helpful videos for anyone learning or teaching with Swift Playgrounds. Videos include classroom lesson instruction, puzzle overviews, and hints for making the most of the Learn to Code curriculum.
App Development with Swift: a multi-touch book that presents students with the tools, techniques, and concepts needed to build iOS apps from scratch using Mac.
App Development with Swift: Teacher Guide: a guide designed for use with high school and college students who are new to programming that provides lesson activities, presentation tips, and student reflection questions.
Students in the Gir1 C0de Club at Barrington High School

Several resources are available for teachers interested in coding, including:
Students code their LEGO Robot

Apple released a program designed to give all students the power to learn, write, and teach code with the Swift language. Swift is the language app developers use to code their apps in Apple's App Store. Here's more information about Everyone Can Code:

Apple states, "We created Everyone Can Code because we believe coding is an essential skill that everyone should have the opportunity to learn. Learning to code teaches students how to solve problems, work together in creative ways, and build amazing things that bring their ideas to life. Swift is easy to learn and powerful, so your students can grow their skills to build their own apps and more. We've created free teaching and learning materials that make it easy for you to bring coding with Swift to your school."
Free materials are available for download on iTunes.
In addition:

Megan Ryder (@mrsryder58), an Apple Distinguished Educator from neighboring District 58 in Downers Grove created a fantastic podcast episode about getting started with coding, From Clueless to Coding.

If you're looking for more information about coding, for any grade level, I recommend following Brian Aspinall (@mraspinall) on Twitter and reading a few of these articles:

First Tuesday for Teachers in Deer Park Apple Store (and Others)

You are invited to First Tuesday for Teachers at a few of Chicago’s Apple Stores, including the Deer Park location. Sessions are free and offered on the first Tuesday of each month, addressing a different topic each month that is useful in the classroom.

December's topic is Storytelling in the Classroom with iMovie.

Space is limited, please reserve your spot in advance:

Impact Portraits Present Google Education Success Stories in Schools

This week, Google released the results of a study conducted by Evergreen Education Group regarding the impact of Google technologies in the classroom. During a sixteen-month period, over 100 educational leaders in six countries participated. The results of the study are relevant in Barrington 220 since our district uses many of Google’s apps, now collectively known as G Suite for Education.

Among the findings of the study, researchers found that “when considered alone, technology equals nothing. Technology is a tool that can be used well, or it can be used poorly.” However, when technology is combined with the four key factors of Planning, Professional learning, Patience, and Support, it can help schools flourish (Watson & Pape, 2016).

In addition, researchers noted a theme apparent here in Barrington 220: “When educators speak of their success, they rarely lead with technology. Instead they talk about personalization, student engagement, and the role of teachers—all of these supported by technology” (Watson & Pape, 2016).

To read an extended version of the results, visit Google’s Education blog. For additional findings and to hear the stories from other schools and districts, visit


Watson, J. and Pape, L. (2016). Impact portraits: Success stories with Google for Education. Retrieved from

Barrington 220 Releases One to World Multi-Touch Book

Barrington 220 is proud to announce the availability of a multi-touch book in the iBooks Store that describes our district’s One to World program in detail. The book offers a concise history of Barrington 220’s One to World initiative that describes our journey through five lenses: visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence of success, and flexible learning environment.

Visionary Leadership
Barrington 220’s One to World initiative was inspired by the community and is supported by leaders at all levels—​from the Superintendent, to district directors, building principals, and classroom teachers.

Innovative Learning and Teaching
Personalized Growth is more than just Barrington 220’s thematic goal for 2015–17, the concept permeates the culture of the district in the classroom, in our instructional design, and in our innovative programs across all grade levels.

Ongoing Professional Learning
Professional learning in Barrington 220 is personalized and ongoing. Teachers and administrators use technology to amplify student learning as they continuously improve instructional practice through reflection, collaboration, and innovation.

Compelling Evidence of Success
Barrington 220 measures what matters. The success of the One to World initiative is aligned with the district’s Cohesive Plan and tied directly to our vision for learning in the digital age.

Flexible Learning Environment
As the Barrington 220 One to World initiative progresses, systems and infrastructure improvements keep pace with program implementation to help support the transformation of teaching ​and learning.

The iBooks Store describes the multi-touch book:
Barrington School District 220’s One to World program is a teaching and learning program steeped in curriculum, pedagogy, and professional development that integrates 24/7 availability of technology devices, provides ubiquitous access to the Internet, and delivers a set of innovative apps and services for learning. A multi-year rollout has fully equipped every student from Grades 1–12 with MacBook Air laptops for high school students and iPad for middle and elementary students. Teachers use iPad and Mac to rethink teaching and learning and implement new forms of classroom instruction, supporting personalized learning opportunities for all students. Barrington 220 is a public school district serving approximately 9,000 students in Grades Pre-Kindergarten–12 located 35 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois.

The free book is available on iPad, iPhone, and Mac at

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

One to World Teacher Survey

During the 2015–16 school year, Barrington 220 administered surveys and focus groups to students regarding the One to World initiative. This year, we are administering surveys and focus groups to teachers and administrators. The survey was created by a District Technology Committee subcommittee. Survey responses are anonymous. The survey collects approximately 30 data points and takes about 12 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, teachers interested in participating in a focus group may follow a link to a separate survey.

To take the survey, please check your email for the survey link. The survey email was sent on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at 4:00 PM.

This survey will be open November 9–22, 2016.

Barrington 220’s One to World initiative is a teaching and learning program that integrates 24/7 availability of technology devices, provides ubiquitous access to the Internet, and delivers a set of devices, apps, and services for learning. The One to World initiative:

  • Stimulates creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
  • Creates opportunities for students to participate as global citizens.
  • Provides real-world learning experiences.
  • Facilitates personalized learning.
  • Encourages timely and meaningful feedback.
  • Guides responsible use of technology.

The Barrington 220 One to World initiative began as a pilot during the 2013–14 school year at Barrington High School. This school year marks our full implementation of the initiative:

  • Students in Pre-Kindergarten–Kindergarten have access to 1 iPad per 2 students.
  • All students in Grades 1–8 have a district-assigned iPad.
  • All students in Grades 9–12 have a district-assigned MacBook Air laptop (11-inch).
  • All teachers have a MacBook Air laptop (13-inch), and teachers of students Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 8 have an iPad.

One to World teacher survey and focus group results will be compiled and published during the 2016–17 school year. One to World student survey and focus group results from 2015–16 are available here.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Digital vs. Digitized Learning

Dr. Tom Clark (@byotnetwork) recently published and tweeted a post explaining the difference between digital learning and digitized learning. How students interact with technology helps determine the role they play in a lesson, but it's the teachers who afford students the opportunity to use technology in meaningful ways.

Digital vs Digitized Learning
Image from @byotnetwork

In the graphic above, Dr. Clark lists five different examples of lessons from both a digitized and a digital perspective. Digitized learning uses technology, but, to call upon the theories of Dr. Ruben Puentedura who created the SAMR Model, the use of technology does not transform the learning experience for students, nor does it give students control over how to interact with content or demonstrate learning.

Digitized learning uses technology to complete Substitution- and Augmentation-level lessons in which each student simply regurgitates content through assignments chosen by the teacher. Students do not control the learning experience or the assessment of learning.

Digital learning uses technology to complete Modification- and Redefinition-level lessons in which each student must gain understanding of concepts and creatively demonstrate learning. Students control both the learning experience and the assessment of learning.

Image from @alicekeeler

Fundamentally, the difference between digitized learning and digital learning lies in the instructional practices of the teacher. Technology cannot save a lesson that does not provide a meaningful, personalized learning experience. Likewise, poor use of technology can undercut a great lesson.

Is technology going to be additive or transformational?

Dr. Clark offers the following advice for integrating technology:

"Review some of the learning experiences that your are providing for your students that involve technology. Consider what level of the SAMR Model are you addressing with your instructional tasks. One simple way of moving to more truly digital learning experiences, instead of solely digitizing learning, is to provide open-ended assignments that encourage students to make choices. Until they have more practice and experience, students often prefer digitized learning activities because they require less effort, and we have taught them how to succeed by following basic directions. Districts and schools can assist teachers by providing the necessary digital resources, a sustainable digital curriculum, consistent professional learning, and achievable expectations. Likewise, multiple opportunities for on-going feedback, support, and collaboration with a variety of digital tools and content can help your students become effective and creative digital learners."

When the Students Are Away, the Hough-Lines Teachers Play

On Friday, November 4, 2016, teachers from Lines and Hough met at Lines Elementary School and participated in a half-day professional development event following the “Playdate” style. According to the Playdate website, a Playdate "is a space for [teachers] to come together and collaboratively explore these tools we’ve always wanted to learn more about." Teachers may "join together...sit in a room for a few hours and just play."

The Hough-Lines Playdate was organized by themed rooms during specified time periods. Teachers interested in a theme met together and discussed, practiced, or otherwise interacted with the topic. For example, during the first Playdate period, topics included:

  • Connect & Manage Resources with Schoology
  • Create Digital Portfolios with See Saw
  • Share your learning with Explain Everything
  • Digital Storytelling with iMovie
  • Write, Draw, and Record with Notability
  • Reimagine with Flipped & Blended Learning

A Google Doc arranged in a matrix allowed teachers to organize their time and sign up for each time; however, if a topic wasn’t meeting expectations, participants exercised “The Law of Two Feet” and walked to a new room with a new topic. Similarly, participants could change sign-ups at any time throughout the experience.

For each topic, a Resource Guide was provided in advance. The Resource Guides could serve as a starting point for a group, but many groups decided to skip the guide and talk about real-life experiences they had with the topic.

The experience ended with a “Share Slam” during which teachers shared what they learned throughout the morning. Congratulations to Barrington 220 iDAL Coaches Laura Meehand and Katie Muhtaris for organizing this inspiring and highly successful event!

To get a better feel for this professional development experience—and the Playdate style—please take a look at this 2-minute video:

Illinois Curriculum Leaders at Apple

In October 2016 I participated in an Illinois Curriculum Leaders Briefing hosted by Apple. The Briefing focused on defining the best practices and ideals in instructional technology. Several district administrators from districts across Illinois participated, and over the course of the three-day event, we learned much from Apple and from each other.

Here are a few of the main ideas I wish to share:

Apple began the briefing by referencing Simon Sinek's TED Talk about finding the "why" before you move forward with initiatives. The discussion made me proud of be a part of Barrington 220 as our "why" is clearly outlined in our Strategic Plan; and, as a member of the Department of Technology and Innovation, our "why" is defined through the One to World Vision and Mission statements. Understanding the "why" drives how we provide professional learning, what we choose focus upon in our professional learning offerings, which devices we implement in our classrooms, and most importantly, how we teach and how students learn.

Created using 
Through a series of activities framed by the John Dewey quote (from 1916!), "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow," our group focused on making instruction engaging, with plenty of time on task. We shared statements, such as, "If it's not student-centered, it's not engaging," "Students need to own the learning process," "Technology should go to where the learning is taking place....students shouldn't be tied to learning where the technology lives," and my favorite, "The role of the teacher is to create conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge."

We discussed the idea of homework and how technology can play a vital role in reshaping how we assign and value homework. We decided homework should be catered to the progress and interests of each student. We challenged each other with questions like, "Why are we afraid to send students home with with challenging homework?" and "Why are we sending homework home? What's the 'why' of homework?"

We defined technology as anything that wasn't around when you were born. For our youngest students, that means an iPad is not technology. It's not new to them—it's what they've grown up with.

The next topic centered on professional learning offered to our teachers. We came to two conclusions that led to our main discussion:

  • Students need to use technology in schools each day because it's engaging and offers students more time on task
  • It's not the students who constrain the use of technology in creative and innovative ways in schools. 

Based upon those two statements, we questioned whether the professional learning offered to teachers really met the needs for teachers. Are we providing professional learning that is for technology or for best practices in instruction?

To manage change, we examined Apple's analogy of two islands separated by water. Three types of people start on the first island and behave differently to the introduction of the second island. The second island represents change. The first type of person (the swimmer) dives into the water without provocation and begins swimming to the second island. The second type of person (the shark-spotter) is definitely willing to swim, but has spotted some sharks (i.e., potential problems) and would rather wait it out before starting off for the second island. The third type of person (the pole-hugger) clings to the flag pole planted in the first island and has no interest in moving to the second island.

We discussed the value that each type of person brings. The swimmers help move change and courageously find the issues and work towards resolving those issues for the other two types of people. The shark-spotters help smooth the transition of change. The pole-huggers make sure we keep the values from previous changes in mind as we consider new changes.

Barrington 220 One to World Named Apple Distinguished Program

Barrington School District 220 is pleased to announce that our One to World program has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program for 2015–2017. This recognition is due to the district’s innovative approach to integrate Apple technology for students and staff from preschool through grade 12.

The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.

“Our goal as a district is to prepare students to be successful in their future endeavors, and that would not be possible without the One to World program and the opportunities it provides our students,” said Dr. Brian Harris, Superintendent of Schools.

The selection of Barrington 220’s One to World program as an Apple Distinguished Program highlights our success as an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment.

Barrington 220 identified that the best possible method to deliver a global education, provide individualized learning, and ensure optimal time for learning in the digital age includes 24/7 access to technology devices, ubiquitous availability to the Internet, and a set of innovative apps and services for teaching and learning. The rollout of One to World over a three-year period has been extremely successful, with final implementation at the elementary level taking place during the 2016-2017 school year.

The One to World program has enhanced our students’ ability to communicate, collaborate, create, and develop critical thinking skills. The program plays a significant role in making Barrington 220 a destination school district.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Keynote Whiteboarding

"If you stumble, make it part of the dance." 

Sometimes, in the midst of trials and/or failures, you can accidentally come across something brilliant. I have a new technique to share that you may find to be exceptionally useful—maybe even brilliant!

As part of an Apple Academy professional learning program in which I participated this summer, I gave some examples of how technology can be used to transform instruction. My example included using any Apple iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch) as a tool to present Keynote presentations using the presenter control features. Presenters can see the current and next slides, view presenter notes, make drawings on slides, and use a laser pointer effect to ditch your laser pointer. Those features alone are worth sharing with teachers.

But wait, there's more.

My new idea, which I call "Keynote Whiteboarding," allows teachers and students to wirelessly share their ideas on a digital whiteboard using Keynote. Using a Keynote presentation with blank slides built in allows students or teachers to use the highlighting and drawing tools to write on slides wirelessly as they walk around the room. The screen capture function (press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously) allows you to save the whiteboard ideas in your camera roll.

The following video demonstrates how to set up your iPad and MacBook Air for "Keynote Whiteboarding."

Current Research and Recommendations on Screen Time

In my seventeen years in educational technology leadership, the issue of “screen time” has been ever-present and often controversial. As technology device access and use rises among all Americans, including school-age children, the news media and popular culture increase coverage on the topic. At the same time, more and more schools continue to implement 1:1 technology device programs as the cost of devices falls and access to high-quality digital learning material increases.

Schools often find themselves caught in the middle in the screen time debate. The news media has an affinity for demonizing the idea of screen time, but often fails to explain or define the details and issues behind the supposed ill effects. Further, many screen time web and newspaper articles are written from a non-education perspective, but fail to mention this—or any context—for the studies, findings, or recommendations.

Not all screen time is bad. Devices are not manufactured imbued with some unnamed “evil factor” that is gradually released into human eyes over time. A child (or adult) sitting in a near-catatonic state watching Adventure Time in rapid succession is having a very different screen time experience than a child (or adult) writing, recording, editing, and sharing an original movie using an iPad.

Further, the defintion of “screen time” is seldom discussed in doom-and-gloom media coverage. In nearly every medical context that provides a definition, lack of physical activity is the primary issue of screen time. For example, the National Institutes of Health ( state, “Screen time is sedentary activity, meaning you are being physically inactive while sitting down. Very little energy is used during screen time.” Using this logic, reading a book would present the same health risks as screen time.

If you find yourself in a screen time discussion, please consider reading a short article I researched and wrote on the topic of screen time. Please feel free to share the article with parents, teachers, and anyone else who may need more information about screen time.

To Update, or Not to Update...

Over the past few weeks, Apple has been busy issuing updates to both iOS (for iPhones and iPads) and macOS (Mac laptops and desktops). On a Mac, available updates are shown in the App Store app (Updates tab), while on iOS, available updates are shown on the Settings app (Settings > General > Software Update).

In the tech department, we often get the question, “Should I update?” when new updates are released. The simple answer is, “yes!” Updating is important to maintain security and consistency across the district. At the same time, flexibility is available on when to apply the update.

Early Adopter

If you are a user who loves to have new features the moment they are available, you are likely in the category where you will update immediately. Two downsides are apparent for the early adopters:
  1. While Apple tests updates extensively, often months before release, there is an occasional problem identified on the day an update is released. These issues are usually fixed immediately and a small number of users might be affected.
  2. You may find that a specific Barrington 220 system has a conflict with the new system. For example, an update last year caused our iPrint printing system to stop working.
When a significant district-level issue is identified, the tech department will issue a district email with the information as soon as we know about the problem.

Cautious Majority

The technology adoption life cycle model identifies both “early majority” and “late majority” as separate categories, but for the purpose of this discussion, the “majority” is more cautious than the early adopters. The issue becomes how much time to wait before updating.

Since issues are identified usually on the first day of an update, more cautious users should wait at least a day. However, since district issues may take a few days longer to identify, waiting one week is probably as cautious as is necessary. One week will likely allow the district to identify and solve any potential problems.

Please note that if a significant issue is discovered, the district tech department will send an initial email stating the issue with a recommendation to users, and if necessary, send a later email explaining next steps or the suggestion to upgrade.

Bottom Line

When an update notification appears, update your device(s). To avoid a potential problem, wait a week.

2016 ISTE Recap

Every year I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of sessions offered at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference. This year in Denver, CO, I spent my time in sessions taught by those whose Twitter accounts highlight my timeline. I also chose to attend a few sessions led by people I didn't know, as long as they focused on the topic of blended learning. If you've been to the annual Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Conference, you're aware of how difficult it can be to make a choice between two or more interesting sessions in a specific time slot. Multiply that feeling by at least a factor of ten, and you understand the weight of the decision I faced at the start of each session. Thanks to a strong culture of sharing resources and a well-constructed app, the materials for most sessions can still be accessed regardless of attendance.

I began ISTE by selecting an "Ignite Session," 75 minutes worth of 5-minute, hyperactive, motivational proclamations meant to trigger creative ideas for improvements in education. I love "Ignite Sessions." I find them disruptive and validating at the same time, a balance between a call for creative innovation and righteous support for the ideas I share about the direction of instruction in 220. My favorite ignite speech by Michael Roush (@mdroush) focused on the rules of education being broken. Rather than follow the "rules" of teaching a lesson, assigning homework, giving a quiz—he fancied an analogy about Monopoly. He pointed out that although most people claim to play Monopoly by the rules, nobody has ever claimed to have read the rather lengthy instructions booklet, in 6-point font. He argues that it's good that we make up our own rules because they make the game better and more fun. Our lessons should provide the same fluidity and ability to change the rules.

Gizmos and Gadgets for Use In (but mostly Out) of the Classroom
I don't mind completely admitting that I am a gadget nerd, but Steve Dembo (@teach42) of Discovery Education and Adam Bellow (@adambellow) of eduTecher, eduClipper, WeLearnedIt, and more, make me look cool. They cruised through an hour's-worth of the latest and greatest technology toys available for purchase or pre-order. I included this session in my summary specifically for three reasons. First, I hope we can all claim a little technology nerd in us to best connect with an increasing population of technology nerd-students. Second, this session demonstrated the value of opportunities for all people to share their passion. The energy Steve and Adam injected into the session just from their own personal excitement about the topic catalyzed interest throughout all of the attendees. Third, there are some really cool technologies in the works specifically for education. My favorite is a set of in-ear buds that connect via Bluetooth to a device and simultaneously translate any language being heard into the language of choice in real time! A student who only understands Mandarin could use these ear buds to translate anything a teacher speaking English says into his native tongue as s/he says it! Incredible! For the low price of $200 a set, I am tempted to pre-order a pair just for myself.

Fear the Sitting Dead: Bringing PD Back to Life
The "Fear the Sitting Dead: Bringing PD Back to Life" session introduced a few quick tips for leading technology-based professional development for teachers, but I found that many of the strategies could also be used in the classroom as a way for students to share different educational apps and tools with their peers. Steve Dembo (@teach42) and Adam Bellow (@adambellow) the following ways for sharing ideas:

Allourideas—The All Our Ideas website allows leaders to provide choices for the entire group to “choose” by casting electronic votes through the All Our Ideas website. Teachers or students can, therefore, differentiate their message to their audience. This would especially benefit presenters working with a largely unknown audience.

Ignite—As mentioned above, Ignite sessions cover a larger number of topics with short, on-point presentations from different teachers or students. This provides the audience with multiple, excellent ideas in a short period of time. From a leadership perspective, the Ignite sessions can give any and all teachers the chance to share something from their lessons without the pressure of preparing anything more than five minutes worth of material.

Speed Dating—Speed Dating is a learning method that allows to half of the group to prepare something short to share with others and the rest of the group to rotate through the presenters. This method provides participants with plenty of tested ideas. Just like the Ignite sessions, any teacher can prepare and share a speed dating topic as it only requires a couple of minutes of sharing repeated several times.

Sketch-noting—Sketchnoting refers to taking notes on information by drawing images and words in an artistic way to best represent important information and learning. To find great examples of sketchnoting, perform a Google search for Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth) and refine your search to images. In addition to being a great follow on Twitter, Sylvia has defined sketchnoting in education through sharing her own sketchnotes.

Sketchnoting for Beginners from @sylviaduckworth

Any professional development experience should answer three questions:
  1. What would you learn if you had the time?
  2. How would this help you grow professionally?
  3. How would this help your students grow?

I loved this conference. I highly recommend ISTE to anyone interested in attending in June 2017. If you have any questions or want to know more, please let me know:, 224.230.8520, or @ijoerobinson

What's NEXT for Schoology?

The Schoology #NEXT Conference this past summer heightened my awareness to additional ways to use Schoology to transform our classrooms. I will review some of the best sessions I attended at Schoology NEXT below:


During the keynote address, several Schoology executives presented the exciting changes they plan on implementing to the Schoology program during this school year. Two of these advances stood out from the rest for Barrington 220:

  1. Schoology plans to engage more software companies to program their products to work seamlessly with Schoology (much like Google currently does). 
  2. Schoology plans to offer a new assessment tool with increased options for assessing students.

Opening Schoology to more software companies will continue to streamline Schoology’s role in a classroom centered on creativity. Right now, certain programs and apps only allow links, rather than actual project files, to be posted to and open in Schoology. For example, an animation created in Explain Everything can only be posted as a link to the animation, rather than posting as the actual animation directly on the page on Schoology (for now).

The next session I attended described the new assessment options available within Schoology courses.

AMP: Assessment Management Program

Schoology’s new Assessment Management Program (AMP) incorporates some slick new options for assessing and tracking student learning using the Schoology formative and summative assessment tools.

Some of the highlighted additions featured included the ability for Schoology Administrators to measure all students across a district on common assessments offered through Schoology. This could be a tremendous addition to our data analysis practices for our department chairs at the high school, curriculum leaders at the middle schools, and the steering committees at the elementary schools.

Assessments can now be offered throughout an entire district rather than shared only by teacher to teacher. Assessment Coordinators can edit and revise those district assessments. Mastery grading options and live updates help teachers using standards-based assessment practices best communicate student progress to students and parents. All assessments now include the options to send alerts via notifications to keep students and parents up to date.

The assessment questions also received a boost as new question types will be added. Grading features will also be added to allow for anonymous grading, peer grading, and distributed grading.

Bill Nye Keynote

Bill Nye spoke eloquently with great humor about three main ideas to consider when thinking about how to use Schoology in a blended learning model.

  1. Dr. Nye advised that teachers spend a great deal of time and effort on the design of the lessons. He compared the importance of design to how NASA spends time preparing the designs of their rockets, satellites, and shuttles before ever building them to ensure their success. Once the design is made, it becomes more difficult to make changes.
  2. Dr. Nye stressed the importance of never blaming the students. He reiterated the importance of the design of lessons, whether online or not, leading to the success of students. When lessons are not successful, it probably speaks more about the lesson design than the students.
  3. Dr. Nye encouraged everyone to be optimistic. He exuded a pleasant spirit throughout his address, exemplifying this message. He connected this idea to being passionate teachers and even referenced “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess.

How Apple Caught My Eye

Apple continues to catch our eye with innovative, eye-popping, user-friendly devices and apps. Recently, I spent an entire week at the Apple Campus in Cupertino, CA. What I learned and experienced impacted me on a much deeper level than hardware and software. The Apple Educator Training helped shape my instructional passions.

The week began with meeting about 20 colleagues from around the United States along with our Apple Educators for the week. We then learned about our Apple Educator Training course objectives:

I personally related to the first and third objectives the most. Barrington 220's One to World initiative requires that we become acquainted with our new Apple MacBook Air and iPad Air devices. However, the intention of the One to World initiative has never been solely to provide students with devices. The intention is to open learning opportunities and experiences not possible without the use of a device. The One to World initiative is about instructional practices more than hardware and software. Therefore, the first objective, "Ensure educators understand the qualities and behaviors of learning excellence," leapt off the screen and into my heart. We need to build capacity for how technology can truly transform and—to borrow a term from Kristin Ziemke—amplify our instruction.

The third objective relates to the sheer size of our school district. Our many teachers cannot all rely on just a few people throughout the district to relay the messages of how technology impacts best practices in instruction. Rather, we need a growing number of layers of educators who understand the many paths to success and can help to bring others along to serve as an additional layer of support. Through our District Technology Committee and our LaunchPad program, we established our foundational teachers to "Enhance the readiness of individuals for their role in leading ongoing professional learning in an Apple learning environment." We now need to build additional layers.

Our initial Apple training activity embraced the idea that learning happens on two sides: an emotional side and an instructional side. 

We viewed the following video to dissect the emotional and instructional aspects of what we learned.

Here are some of the emotional connections we made about the iPhone:
  • Everyone can relate to waiting for something exciting.
  • Waiting can be frustrating.
  • Cookie Monster's actions make the commercial funny and likable.
  • We all at least smiled, and a smile during a commercial has positive ramifications.
Here are some of the instructional connections we made about the iPhone:
  • You can activate Siri with your voice, without pressing a button.
  • You can ask Siri to set a timer.
  • You can ask Siri to play music from a playlist.
  • You can ask Siri to check a timer.
This learning experience, in the form of a commercial, filled both the emotional and instructional halves of learning and struck two chords. On a personal level, the tone and character made the experience memorable. The learning content was embedded within the experience. Thus, the commercial married the emotional content with the instructional content. We reflected that when you verbally share this commercial with someone who hasn't seen it, the emotional half of the experience cannot be shared without also remembering and sharing the instructional half of the experience.

In the second activity, we covered the assessment part of a lesson. 

The list of activities that qualified as evidence of a learning experience includes:
  • Shares knowledge
  • Connects learning experiences
  • Lets others know it's okay to risk
  • Recognizes incremental accomplishments
  • Accepts and links multiple perspectives
  • Finds answers through perseverance and sleuthing
  • Reflects on and assesses learning
This list opened my eyes to the idea that not all lessons end in a product. Further, not all lessons require an element that is measured using the SAMR model. There's more to this line of thinking, ending in a discussion about portfolios, but that's another post for another day.

We summarized our experience on learning by piecing together a definition.

Great learning occurs through an ongoing process of meaningful inquiry, connecting prior knowledge, leveraging personal interests, and addressing the unique needs of the learner.

Throughout the rest of the week, we experienced and modeled these aspects of the instructional and assessment parts of learning while creating infographics, videos, slideshows, documents, music loops, shared albums, and more using Apple's apps: Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Photos, iMovie, Garageband, iTunes U, and iBooks Author. Taking a deep dive into creating with those apps helped me widen my scope for how those apps can be used in our classrooms by both teachers and students. We can stretch the use of these apps so much further!

From my personal perspective as a professional learning facilitator, I loved the framework we used while creating in our Apple Education environment:

This instructional design framework includes five steps: Introduction, Demonstration, Guided Practice, Summary of Learning, and Independent Practice. Immediately, I knew that I would adopt this framework when working with our district Library/Technology Assistants during the 2016–17 school year. We will continue to provide learning opportunities with our technology devices and apps, but we can also go further. The framework provides a pathway for teachers as they look to guide students during lessons. As a guide, the teacher does not need to lead all aspects of instructional design—instead, the student can experience a full spectrum of teacher support during any of these stages. In this framework, technology allows teachers to empower students to direct their own learning, while also giving teachers the chance to reach each student on an individual level.

The week came to a close quickly. I enjoyed every minute. But most of all, I look forward to spreading the knowledge, the passion, and the details of the Apple Education Training here in Barrington 220.

Summer Links

Twitter provided hundreds of links throughout the past summer related to innovative instruction. I have whittled the list down to a few that I think any teacher in Barrington 220 would benefit from seeing.

1. Breakout EDU
Breakout EDU is a classroom game designed to provide students an inquiry-based experience of solving problems in order to unlock different types of locks and open a mystery box.

This article outlines how access to technology can transform the emotional, instructional, and assessment aspects of student learning. While visiting Apple, I experienced how Apple Design Team members interact to shape ideas and implement them into action. That experience makes #8 on the list in the article my favorite.

This infographic/sketchnote includes some very easy ideas for teachers to implement this year to transform the learning experience for their students. The TPACK team in each building (Tech, LTA, Librarian, and iDAL coach) can help you with any of these easy, but meaningful experiences.

4. ISTE- Five Ways to Make Your Classroom Global
This article outlines five great, easy ways for teachers to expand the audience of their classrooms to include classrooms, experts, and people from around the globe.

5. Julie Smith on Mastering the Media
If you're looking for organic, real-life examples of lessons learned about digital citizenship, Dr. Julie Smith's website is a great place to start. She covers basic digital citizenship practices with examples and even scales up to current pop culture and time sensitive issues.

6. Edcamps
Edcamps are becoming all the rage. These grass-roots unconferences planned and run by teachers for teachers are free and popping up all over the Chicago area. This article outlines the idea behind Edcamps and leads to schedules of Edcamps in our area.

Infinite Campus: Campus Community

Your best source for IC training and support is at Campus Community. Log into Infinite Campus and use the link in the top-right to find Campus Community. The videos listed below are available in Campus Community along with a wealth of additional documentation.

Your Campus Community account requires an initial log in connecting you to the Barrington 220 School site.  Once activated accessing Campus Community is a single click when logged into IC.

Visit Campus Community
Log in to Campus Community
Navigate to and from Campus Application
Log off Campus Instruction

Send a Message 
View messages in the Message Center
Create a template for a general message to students and/or guardians
Send a general message to a user-selected group of students and/or guardians

HEAD-Grade Book Setup
Set up Grade Book
Configure Grade Book display settings

Explore the Planner
View schedule details in the Planner
View curriculum details in the Planner
Print schedule details
Print curriculum details in the Planner
Manage the to do List
View student attendance via teacher's schedule
View student attendance via teacher's curriculum planner
Print student attendance for a specific section via teacher's schedule
Print student attendance for a specific section via teacher's curriculum planner
Add an assignment via the Planner
Manage assignments via the Planner

Manage Assignments
Manage all assignments for a section
Manage assignment categories
Add a new assignment
Copy assignments between sections
View categories and assignments in a list
Manage assignments and categories via Assignment Overview
Enter student grades for a grading task and/or standard
Enter grades for a selected student for a grading task and/or standard
Generate list of assignments and standards to which each is aligned
Display all standards aligned to the course section
Manage scored assignment details and alignment in the Grade Book
Enter scores, flags, and comments in the Grade Book
View students' score statistics
View students' score trends

Student Groups and Seating Charts
Set up seating charts
Print seating chart
Group students who should receive the same assignment

Student Attendance
Complete attendance for a specific period
Generate report of student attendance changes for specific course sections
Generate student attendance data for a specific term
Generate summary of student attendance data

Post Grades
Post grades and standard scores

Grade Book Reports
Generate report of missing assignments for selected students
Generate report of Grade Book data for a section
Generate report of student scores for distribution
Generate report of student responses for a selected assessment
View section specific student information
Generate section specific student roster information
Generate mailing or student/teacher labels for a section

Generate the section roster as blank spreadsheet for use outside the application
Export Grade Book data for use outside application
Generate blank spreadsheet with student names

Next Year Course Recommendations
Create Recommendations for Future Enrollments

Student and Parent Portal
Monitor parents' and students' portal usage

Meet the Tech Support Team

Barrington 220 is pleased to welcome a few new faces to our Technology Support Team—and re-introduce some familiar faces. Although the team is based at Barrington High School, you will likely see our District Technology Support Associates, Technicians, and Specialists in all our buildings across the district. Meet the Barrington 220 tech support team...

Kim Martinez
District Technology Support Specialist

I started working in District 220 in 1995 as the library clerk at Sunny Hill. I have been a Computer Technician for the District since April 1999. Over the past 20 years we have gone from a Mac district to a PC district back to a Mac district. Providing quality customer service has always been one of the most important aspects of my job. Knowing that our staff and students trust me and my ability to service their needs has been very fulfilling.

My life outside of D220? It's all about family for me!

Jason Bryant
District Technology Support Specialist

If you ever emailed or put in a tech ticket request, then you’ve probably communicated with me, Jason Bryant. In 2007, I started my journey as a computer tech in Barrington. With over 20 years of computer technical background, I'm well versed in both Mac and Windows computers. I love all aspects of tech and how it works (and getting new toys to test).

When not at work, I spend most of my time with my loving wife and 2 kids.

Charlie Parkinson
District Technology Support Technician

I find my job to be extremely rewarding. I enjoy working in the school environment and assisting teachers and students with their technology needs. This is my first year in Barrington, and I look forward to creating great relationships with the students and staff here in Barrington 220.

I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University, and I married my best friend from high school in 2013. I am a sports enthusiast and am involved in softball leagues. I also enjoy fishing and billiards.

Josh Beatty
District Technology Support Technician

I moved to the Chicago area from the Oregon Coast in 1999. I completed a Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree from Pacific Lutheran University and earned a Systems Administration and Security Certificate from College of Lake County. My school tech support career began as a summer worker for Barrington 220 and later I worked as a substitute tech in the district. For the last two years, I was a Technology Support Technician for West Chicago Community High School and rejoined the Barrington 220 tech team this August.

I am also a private saxophone instructor for Barrington 220. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my wife and son, playing saxophone in several bands, taking photographs with my collection of classic film cameras, or pursuing the perfect cup of coffee.

Derrick Kovell
District Technology Support Technician

I have been doing technology support in an academic environment for almost twelve years. Previous to Rock Valley I worked in McHenry School District 15. I graduated from Western Illinois University and earned my Master's degree from DePaul University.

I took the position here in Barrington due to the appeal of Technology and Innovation, specifically the innovation. I am looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues, as well as other district personnel, in continuing to support and integrate district technology.

I live in Crystal Lake with my wife, Erin, and enjoy watching basketball and baseball, especially the Bulls and Cubs.

Summer Technology Updates (What We Did on Our Summer Vacation!)

It is hard to believe that we are starting year four of our Barrington 220 One to World program! This is the first school year where all students, Grades 1 through 12, have an Apple iPad or MacBook Air available to them 24/7.

While there was much to do on the curriculum side of technology to prepare for the rollout of iPads at the elementary schools, there were plenty of fun projects this summer to work through on the hardware and device side of technology.

  • Installed approximately 140 new wireless access points in the elementary schools. While the schools had wireless coverage, they did not have the wireless “density” to handle 20 to 30 iPads in each classroom. Venture into any school classroom within our district and you will now see an access point somewhere on the ceiling or a classroom wall. Each of the new access points is connected to our “wired” network system. Miles of new network cabling was needed to accomplish this task.
  • Replaced approximately 120 access points at Barrington High School and other locations, making sure that we have appropriate, high speed wireless technology within each classroom.
  • Worked with Comcast to install a new Internet connection to our district.  This connection provides double the speed at less cost. A bit of contract negotiation occurred with Comcast earlier last school year to help make this project a reality.
  • Deployed two new firewalls. These new network security devices were needed to handle the new higher Internet speeds.
  • Prepared our mobile device management system to deploy 3,000 new iPads and re-deploy 1,500 existing iPads without the use of Apple IDs. iPad apps can now be distributed to students without the need for parental approved Apple IDs.

These were just a few of our more noteworthy projects, but there were many projects on the list. The summer was busy and relatively short. We hope the work that our department was able to accomplish in a short time helps transform the way technology is used within Barrington 220, helping to make the 2016–17 school year a success.

By the way, do you have a technology issue that you need some help with? Our tech department is available at x 1500. Give us a call!

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...