Showing posts from September, 2016

Keynote Whiteboarding

"If you stumble, make it part of the dance."  —Unknown
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. Usin…

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 fa…

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:
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 …

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, motivat…

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:

Schoology plans to engage more software companies to program their products to work seamlessly with Schoology (much like Google currently does). 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 Everythin…

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…

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.

2. How Technology Should Have Already Changed Your Teaching 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.
3. 15 Things Every Teacher Should Try This Year 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 …

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 …

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 tec…

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 …

Apple Teacher Professional Learning for PDH Credit

At the beginning of September 2016, Apple announced Apple Teacher, a new program created to support and celebrate educators. The program provides self-paced learning experiences with tips, inspiration, news, and learning materials to help teachers use the iPad, Mac, and built-in apps in the classroom. Teachers can earn badges and an official “Apple Teacher” recognition to share the achievement with the world.

Joe Robinson, our Director of Instructional Technology, and I have completed the Apple Teacher program and both of us highly recommend it! We believe that this program is an excellent starting point for any teacher—and it reaffirms the skills of teachers with more technology integration experience with recognition. At the same time, the process for earning badges is set up to suggest classroom activities for even advanced Apple technology users. Teachers can choose to pursue either iPad or Mac training paths—or complete them both.

Technology Integration Foundations for iPad and Ma…