Thursday, February 4, 2016

Have Your Device Type What You Speak

Speech Recognition Options for You and Your Students Using our Everyday Technology

Here's how to access Speech Recognition with the technology devices you already have in Barrington 220.

MacBook Air Laptop (or Other Mac)

Launch System Preferences (in the Dock or under the Apple menu) and select Dictation and Speech.

Turn on & check Use Enhanced Dictation.

Once activated, open your writing application document, e-mail, etc.  
Press the fn key twice (lower-left corner of the keyboard) to bring up the Mic to begin dictation (this key can be changed in System Preferences). 

Google Docs Voice Typing

Pull down the Tools menu and select Voice Typing
Add it as an add-on: Click here to learn how to add the SR add on in Google Docs

Tap the mic to begin.

Google Add-On

Google Docs Speech Recognition

iPad (or iPhone) Speech Recognition

Use the microphone built into the keyboard to speak sentences, punctuation, and simple commands.

Make sue Siri is turned on in Settings to access this feature.

Please Note

It is important if a student is going to use these features as an accommodation on their 504 or IEP, that you:
  1. Teach the student to use the tool.
  2. Collect data to assess if this is an appropriate accommodation.


For more information on how to teach this to students, download my e-book here!

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, training needed, or individual consultation.

Kelly Key, Assistive Technology Coordinator

I Need More iPad Storage!

YES! It's Thursday afternoon—which everyone knows as the day each week when Apple refreshes the apps featured in the App Store—and you've just discovered an app that will completely transform your instructional practices and, therefore, change your life forever.


You quickly begin downloading the app. And everything begins to go horribly wrong...



Ah! Even joking about this makes me sad.


If you're like me, you could use a few strategies to balance the storage space available on your Apple iOS devices and the Apple devices the students use in your class.

Two TSAs, Connie Martindale from Hough and Shawndra Shelton from Grove designed the following video to give you options for handling storage space on your iPad devices:

On iPad devices (and iPhone devices), most storage solutions involve deleting apps, removing songs, and/or uploading or downloading images and videos. Given the availability of cloud storage, simply moving these files from your device into the cloud allows you to gain space on your device without losing access to the files. Apps can be re-downloaded from the App Store at any time (for no additional cost) after they've been removed from a device. Photos can be uploaded and downloaded freely from free services like Google Photos or Shutterfly. Similarly, videos can also be uploaded and downloaded freely from free services like Google Photos or YouTube.


For a detailed tutorial on managing storage space on iOS, read this article from idownloadblog or contact your TSA for one-on-one assistance.

No Phishing in Barrington 220

Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is when an email spammer “fishes” for information by sending an email that appears to come from a trustworthy source and attempts to get you, the email recipient, to provide your username and password.

If you provide your username and password, someone else can use your account for illicit activity (such as sending out more spam to other recipients or using your username and password to access more of your accounts).

Here are some signs that you are being phished.

The best way to deal with a phishing email is to delete it.

Contact x.1500 if you need help identifying a potential phishing email.

Bits and Bytes: Looking Toward Next Year

With the second semester in full-tilt, we are already looking at backend Barrington 220 network and system revamps for the next school year. Wow, this is going to be fun!

A minimum of 151 new wireless access points are needed for our elementary school One to World program. Scott Moore and his trusty team of two college students will be up and down many a ladder this summer, installing this equipment. We currently have 457 wireless access points throughout the district and 138 of these are due for replacement, they are EOL or "End of Life." More work for Scott and his team! With so many wireless access points deployed at Barrington 220, the current wireless access point controllers are no longer capable of full redundancy—if one controller fails, they all fail and wireless goes down. This would make a lot of unhappy campers here. Do we bite the bullet and upgrade the controllers (offering 20 Gbps connectivity to our all-powerful data center Nexus core switch)? Now this is an upgrade that is making some sense to me.

Have I bored you with this update yet?  If not, let me keep going…

Another one of my whiteboard sketches. Would someone help me figure this out?!!

Bandwidth to the Internet needs to double next year! At 2 Gbps (2 billion bits per second) speeds, this calls for new firewalls that can support 10 Gbps connection modules. Why do we need 10 Gbps firewalls when we are looking at 2 Gbps bandwidth? Connections! Port connections come in 10 Mbps (10 million bits per second—old school), 100 Mbps (newer old school), 1 Gbps, and 10 Gbps speeds. To get a 2 Gbps connection to the Internet, we have to overcome the issue of our current firewalls having only 1 Gbps ports.  There is a way we can make this happen, but it is what we would call “rigged” and not a best-case solution.

Here is the issue: we are approaching "cutting edge" with what we are trying to do with network technology on our Barrington 220 network.  Oh, to be a corporate IT guy who plans only for static wireless in cubicles and some dynamic wireless changes in a few conference rooms. We have dynamic movement of wireless devices within our campus that is unheard of in the corporate environment. Our bandwidth needs are going through the roof! Put this all together: Complex! The good news: Federal E-Rate dollars might now be used to help us defray some of the purchase costs of this equipment.

Still hanging in there with this tech talk? If so, we are now getting to the good stuff. It’s still a long way off until the start of the next school year, but we are already starting to strategize in regard to new device deployments. Our Technology Support Supervisor Mark Polzin and his team will be deploying about 700 new iPads for incoming sixth grade students at the middle schools. In addition, we are slated to deploy approximately 2,250 iPads at the elementary schools. Throw in about 750 new MacBook Air laptops for incoming high school ninth grade students. Wow!

I could ramble on some more about proposed network and device upgrades, but my head is swimming in bits and bytes. Thanks for listening and letting me share. If you look at the sketch of mine and have any low-cost, reliable security solutions with uber-connectivity, please ping me!

Next Steps for Our One to World Program

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, we had the opportunity to present to our Barrington 220 School Board on the topic of our One to World program. This presentation allowed us to update the Board on the progress of the program, provide information about technology integration, and showcase four examples of classroom use of technology across the district.

The Barrington 220 One to World program is in its third implementation year. Year 1 (2013–14) included the BHS MacBook Air pilot. Year 2 (2014–15) was the first full implementation year for MacBook Air laptops at BHS and a large-scale iPad pilot with all of Grade 6. This year, BHS continues to use MacBook Air laptops, all our middle school program is fully implemented with iPads, and we have pre-launched iPads in select classrooms across Grades PK–5 in all elementary buildings.

Our District Technology Committee (DTC), comprised primarily of teacher representatives in all buildings and grade levels, meets monthly to discuss technology integration issues affecting teaching and learning in Barrington 220. One of our activities was to create a learning-focused definition of our One to World program.

The Barrington 220 One to World program:

  • 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.

Also during the Board presentation, Joe Robinson, our Director of Instructional Technology, expertly provided an explanation to Board members of the many facets of instruction that a teacher must consider, plan, and design to create and deliver an effective technology-integrated lesson. Joe’s example used an extended explanation of a current activity being taught by Tim Kramer at BMS-Prairie. Tim Kramer’s students are using iPads to research and create infographics to support an upcoming debate about the military power behind ancient cultures.

School Board members were then able to virtually visit four Barrington 220 classrooms during the meeting. In Kim Gillengerten’s (Barbara Rose) Grade 3 class, students used iPads to work individually and in pairs to solve multi-part math problems using bar modeling. Jen Parisi’s Grade 4 class (Countryside) used iPads along with Schoology for an online discussion about literary characters. In Katy McCullough’s Grade 7 Social Studies class (BMS-Prairie), students used iPads to work on several aspects of a project while Katy facilitated a small-group discussion using a blended learning rotation model. Finally, in Caroline Milne’s BHS Human Biology class, students documented their learning in small groups using the built-in cameras on MacBook Air laptops to create movies [warning: sheep hearts dissected in this video]. Watch the videos here:

After the technology integration presentation, we presented a variety of options for Grades PK–5 to continue our One to World program next year. The Board asked us to move forward with the next steps of obtaining pricing and formal quotations for 1:1 iPads at Grades 1–5 and 2:1 iPads at Grades PK–K. Pending Board approval, we will soon begin to implement the next phases of One to World in Barrington 220.

Download and/or view a PDF of the entire 2-2-16 Board presentation.

The excellent work of the members of the DTC and the teachers involved in the PK–5 LaunchPad initiative was imperative in the formulation of this presentation and to the continued success of the One to World program. Thank you to all of the teachers, staff, and administrators on the DTC and involved with LaunchPad!

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...