Friday, January 15, 2016

Ziemke Visit Amplifies Barrington 220 Technology Integration Direction

Kristin Ziemke, co-author (with Barrington 220 iDAL, Katie Muhtaris) of Amplify and Connecting Comprehension and Technology, two inspiring and brilliant books about educational technology integration, visited Barrington 220 this week. Kristin's motivating and validating ideas energized our elementary grade level and special teachers, our elementary principals, and our parent community.

If you're interested in how technology can amplify the success of curricular resources and instructional practices, Kristin is a must-follow on Twitter at @kristinziemke.

Several Barrington 220 Instructional Digital Age Learning Coaches (iDALs) took to Twitter to share messages and spur conversations with their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs):

By "amplify," Kelly refers to Kristin's and Katie's shared belief that using technology magnifies and strengthens the quality of resources available to students, opportunities to demonstrate learning, chances to collaborate, and to personalize the learning experience.

Here are some additional nuggets shared on Twitter:

In short, Barrington 220's commitment to using technology to amplify the educational experience for our students includes more than just purchasing more devices. We have resources, professional development opportunities, and curricular and instructional goals planned that will empower our students to become stronger learners.

Barrington 220 Tech Support Offerings - Reloaded

How about a two-minute refresher on how to contact our tech support staff at Barrington 220?

As the number of computing devices used throughout Barrington 220 exceeded the 10,000 mark, we realized that we would need to revise the way we provide technology support to district staff members. Beginning this past year, we centralized most of our "tech team," providing technology experts a central office to call home. From this office at Barrington High School, the team provides technical support and expertise via telephone, our ticketing system, and our new Bomgar remote support system. This is all in addition to the on-site technical support that is provided to each school building throughout the week.

Here are three ways to get tech support for your Barrington 220 computer, iPad, iPhone, printer, or other network related issues during school hours:

  • I need help now! SOS!: Please contact the tech team by picking up a district phone and dialing extension 1500.  From outside the district call: 224-655-1500. Calling this extension during school hours is a sure-fire way to get a Barrington 220 computer tech on the phone to help you with your technology issue. Your call will be answered by a personable and friendly colleague of yours—a Barrington 220 employee who has a passion for working with technology.
  • I need some assistance in the near future (I'm just beginning a teaching period or attending a meeting): You can open up a tech support case by accessing our ticketing system at: You will need to enter your network name and password and then provide a brief description of your issue. This method of initiating a tech support case is perfect if you have a busy schedule in front of you and your issue is not "earth shaking." Our team will get back to you in short order, working around your schedule as best they can. This same link is also provided on our district and school websites. You can find the link by logging in to the website and hovering over the “Staff” menu and then choosing the "Tech Support" link.
  • I’m on my computer and I am ready to chat with a tech support representative now:  Our Technical Support Portal can be accessed at: From this website, you can initiate a tech support “chat” session by quickly filling out the “Issue Submission” details and clicking submit.

We also receive tech support requests through more unlikely venues.

  • I just received a district-wide, 1,250-recipient email message from an administrator, and I was reminded about a tech issue that I meant to get resolved last month:  Click “Reply” or “Reply All” to this administrator’s email message, noting your technology concern. Although the tech support issue will eventually get forwarded to the appropriate tech support person, we implore you to please use one of the more direct approaches listed above.

Our tech team has processed just shy of 6,000 tech cases in the past year. They learn, they grow, and they evolve with you—our fellow colleagues—in mind. Hopefully, the last time a tech team member provided you with tech support, you were pleased with the results. If this was not the case, would you please give us another shot? Mark Polzin heads up the team and can be reached for comment via email or telephone:

Mark Polzin
Technology Support Supervisor


Russ Vander Mey
Systems Administrator 

Blended in Barrington

Barrington 220 is exploring blended learning to enable our district to continue to allow students to demonstrate strong character, independence and resiliency, think critically and creatively, solve problems, and collaborate effectively throughout a global society.

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is defined as a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part 
through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace, at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home (school). The modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

How will Blending Learning opportunities be implemented across the district?

A team of district leaders began blended learning discussions last spring. In late fall, a team of 20 BHS teachers met to professionally develop and discuss the implementation of blended courses at BHS next fall. At this time, interested members of the study group are submitting ideas for courses that can take place in a blended instructional model for the 2016–2017 school year.

Middle school teachers will have an opportunity to hear more about Blended Learning during the professional development time on Wednesday, January 27, 2016.

At the elementary level, members of the District Technology Committee (DTC) will be helping define the best venue for blended learning discussions and development.

Blended opportunities at BHS will allow the opportunity for students to control aspects of the time and place of their learning. For example, a student may be scheduled in a biology course every day, but only be required to report to the classroom 2–3 days a week. On days where students do not meet with the teacher, the teacher will be available to support small groups and individual students. At the elementary and middle school level, students may be required to report to the regular classroom setting on a daily basis, but will be given more choices on the path or pace of their learning.

Look for more information on Blended Learning in future issues of this newsletter.

Mac Tips and Tricks for Teachers

There are many articles online that provide Mac tips and tricks and most often, each resource attempts to target a specific audience. This article is my contribution to that genre: OS X tips for teachers.

I am one of those users who stores many of my documents on the Mac Desktop. There is nothing wrong with this practice—as long as you stay organized. I like to keep my current project documents on the Desktop so they are easily accessible, and later I file the completed documents in folders so they are organized, but out of sight.

Preview Documents with 1 Click

With files all over the Desktop, it can sometimes be challenging to locate a file by name alone. On a Mac you can easily see a preview of the contents of a document without opening an application: click one time on any document and press the space bar. A preview of the document appears immediately. Press the space bar again and the preview disappears.

Create a Screen Capture of the Entire Screen

To capture an image of the entire Mac screen, use the keyboard combination Command+Shift+3. The screen capture file will appear on the Desktop with a title in the format:
Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.38.47 AM.png

BONUS TIP: Create Screen captures on iPad or iPhone by simultaneously pressing the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons; the screen capture appears in Photos.

Create a Screen Capture of Part of a Screen

To capture an image of part of the Mac screen, use the keyboard combination Command+Shift+4. The cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag a rectangular outline around the part of the screen you wish to capture. The screen capture file will appear on the Desktop.

Search for Files with Multiple Criteria

To perform a search for a file on the Mac, click the Spotlight magnifying glass icon in the upper-right corner and type in the search box.

This method searches both the Macintosh HD (Hard Drive) and the Internet.

To perform a search just on your hard drive with more specific search criteria, use the keyboard combination Command+F in the Finder and then use the pop-up menus in the upper-left corner of the Search window.

Capture a Photo on the Mac

It's easy to forget that your Mac has a camera built in. To easily capture photos using your Mac’s camera, use the PhotoBooth app. Click the PhotoBooth app in your Dock to launch it. (If the PhotoBooth icon is not in your Dock, open the Macintosh HD, open the Applications folder, find PhotoBooth, and double-click the app icon to launch it.) Capture a photo by clicking the camera button (you will see a 3-second countdown before the photo is captured).

Capture a Video on the Mac

The same Mac built-in camera can also capture video (with audio). To easily capture videos using your Mac’s camera, use the PhotoBooth app (see above to find and open the app). Capture a video by clicking the video button (you will see a 3-second countdown before the photo is captured). Press the stop (red square) button to end the video.

BONUS TIP: The PhotoBooth app is also available on iPad (but inexplicably, not on iPhone).

Type Diacriticals (Accent Marks and Other Characters)

To easily type accent marks on a Mac, press and hold a key on the keyboard to see available diacritical mark options and then click a character to select it.

BONUS TIP: On iPad or iPhone, tap and hold a key on the on-screen keyboard to see available diacritical mark options and then tap a character to select it.

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...