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.

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