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Showing posts from 2017

Assistive Technology Resources Site

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Barrington 220 Assistive Technology Site Provides Resources for All Teachers
Kelly Key

Did you know you can take a picture of a worksheet with the iPad, have it read out loud, and then write, type, and highlight it? Are you familiar with all of the amazing accessibility features built into our iPad and MacBook Air devices? (i.e., clean up a website in Safari with a touch of a button, use your voice to write, read locked PDFs with the Snap & Read extension)?  Do you struggle with finding time to create core vocabulary materials for your students?

I have designed a Google Site full of resources to help you support your students that struggle with reading, writing, executive functioning, communication, and more. Visit the Assistive Technology website at bit.ly/220AT to explore these resources!

On the Assistive Technology site, check out all of  the topics on the left. Click on any of the titles or subtitles to find valuable resources. I update the site regularly and would love to add …

Tech Terms Defined Nontechnically

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“It’s like a fake ATM that prints out an error message when you try to use it, but in the meantime has taken your credit card details and PIN number.”

The Sideways Dictionary does not offer direct definitions of technology terms, but instead provides analogies, cultural references, or other non-techno-babble to explain terms to general audiences. The “fake ATM” example above is the Sideways Dictionary’s explanation for phishing, a nefarious tactic that has been on the rise lately in school districts, businesses, and the general public.

Another example is 2 factor authentication, a security protocol for users of systems such as your Apple ID that requires additional information beyond a username and password to access a service:

“It’s like meeting a blind date. You arrange the time and place (something you know) and agree to carry a red rose in order to recognize each other (something you possess)” (excerpted from Sideways Dictionary).

If the first analogy doesn’t connect with you or o…

To Update or Not to Update: Revisited

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One of the most often-asked questions I get from teachers and administrators is whether or not to update (or upgrade) software when it’s released. This question applies both to district-issued Macs and iPads, as well as personal iPhones and other devices. Last year, I wrote a short article on the topic.

In addition to questions, I often see teacher devices with a tell-tale red numeral on the App Store icon (indicating that updates are available), or an operating system clearly stuck one, two, or more versions in the past.

In each situation, my advice would be the same: update your device. 

The author of a recent article on one of my favorite tech blogs, Michael Potuck of 9to5Mac, agrees with this notion. He states, “App and operating system updates typically provide bug fixes, security updates, and introduce new features. While it’s possible that installing an update may cause an issue, it’s also possible that not installing the update could cause problems.”

Potuck goes far beyond giv…

Congratulations to Department of Technology & Innovation Members!

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Please join the Department of Technology & Innovation in congratulating Joe Robinson and Charlie Parkinson!

Apple is pleased to welcome Joe Robinson, Barrington 220 Director of Instructional Technology, to the Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2017. The Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Program began in 1994, when Apple recognized K–12 and higher education pioneers who use a variety of Apple products to transform teaching and learning in powerful ways. Today it has grown into a worldwide community of over 2,500 visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. Learn more about this group of innovative educators at www.apple.com/education/apple-distinguished-educator.

Barrington 220 recognized Technology Support Technician Charlie Parkinson as a Communications Ambassador this week. Morgan Delack, Barrington 220 Director of Communications, said, “Charlie Parkinson focuses on customer service before anythin…

PARCC and MAP on iPad

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My name is Shawndra Shelton, I am the District Technology Assistant for Barrington 220. I work closely with Joe Robinson, and the Library/Technology Assistants (LTAs) to provide instructional technology support for teachers and students. I am responsible for onboarding, set-up, troubleshooting, and training for all subscriptions and apps utilized in the classroom.


The rollout of iPads in the elementary schools this year brought teaching and learning to a new level for teachers and students. With the world at their fingertips, students have the power to create, practice, teach each other, and learn together. Students and teachers alike are experimenting with new technology tools and enhancing their learning experiences. For many, integrating the iPad into everyday lessons has been a smooth and seamless process.

As always, testing plays a large role in the lives of elementary and middle school students and teachers. Testing season is upon us, and our technology support teams are gearing…

Upgraded Staff Laptops on the Way

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Part of sustaining our district’s One to World initiative includes regular updates to staff devices. Currently, our teacher laptops are all the same model, a MacBook Air 13-inch laptop, but the specific specifications vary depending upon the year they were purchased.

An opportunity recently arose that will allow our district to update all our MacBook Air teacher laptops, synchronize future teacher device acquisitions to a single cycle, and greatly offset the cost of a new purchase by selling our current teacher laptops to an asset company for a significant revenue.

Newly purchased MacBook Air laptops for teachers will again be the same model as our current laptops, MacBook Air 13-inch. However, the specifications of new laptops for teachers will include double the RAM (8GB) and new batteries that will allow longer use (5–7 hours on a full charge). Depending on the model you are using currently, other specifications will either remain the same or increase (new model specification: 13-i…

PDH (formerly CPDU) Credit for Apple Teacher

On Friday, February 17, 2017, teachers of Barrington 220 students in Grades 6–12 participated in a variety of breakout sessions as part of a district professional development day. Over 70 teachers signed up to participate in a breakout session dedicated to Apple Teacher, an online program created by Apple to help teachers learn the basics of Apple devices and apps.

Among Apple Teacher participants, all signed up for the program, downloaded at least one digital book from the iBooks Store, and began the learning on at least one of the topics. The vast majority of participants were able to earn at least one badge, with many earning multiple badges.

Teachers in the program commented on the usefulness of the books, and also noticed that the quizzes that end each of the topics are not only well-written, but also offer ideas for using apps in class activities.

Perhaps best of all, Barrington 220 offers PDH (formerly known as CPDU) credit for completing the Apple Teacher program.

Learn more a…

Listed: Barrington 220 Teachers on Twitter

The 2016-17 school year has marked a dramatic increase in teachers in Barrington 220 using Twitter to connect with high-impact resources and inspirational colleagues across the world. Barrington High School teachers continue to share timely photos, videos, and tweets with their students through Twitter. Teachers from Station and Prairie use Twitter to highlight activities in their lessons for their parent community to see. Students in some of our elementary schools even handle sharing the work of the day and their personal goals through their teacher's Twitter account.

Over the past few years, teachers have shared their desire to know about the exciting lessons and ideas teachers across our district practice each day. Twitter has provided a perfect solution for Barrington 220 teachers to connect across our district.

Over the past couple of months, we have worked together to gather a comprehensive list of the teachers across Barrington 220 using Twitter so we can all connect.

Here …

Tips from Our Techs

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Our Barrington 220 Techs provide support for everyone in the district...from the most advanced pro user to those just getting comfortable with technology. We asked our Techs to contribute one tip each, based upon their vast support experiences. The results below are a practical and immediately useful collection of ideas that you can begin using right now.

Kim

Mac
If an app on your Mac stops responding and you can't quit the app, you can "Force Quit" the app. On the keyboard press Command + Option + esc at the same time to bring up a menu. Or you can pull down the Apple Menu and select Force Quit. Select the app that is misbehaving and click Force Quit.


Charlie

Mac
Please remember to back up all your files! There are many options to do this: Google Drive, P Drive, Hard Drive, Flash Drive, etc. If you need assistance do not hesitate to call x. 1500 and ask for help.  This can save a lot of frustration!


Justin

Mac
For a quick and easy way to find what you are looking for on your …

ICE 2017: Barrington Breaks Through!

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In the past four years, Barrington 220 has been well represented at the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) conference.

This year marked a spike in the number of staff members who were chosen to present at this prestigious conference that draws participants from all over the Midwest. The conference offers opportunities for educators to network, learn about new software and hardware directly from vendors, and validate the tremendous impact that educational technology has on learners.



Barrington 220 staff members dotted the ICE registration booklet with at least eight different presentations this year, a record number in the four years I've been in the district. Please feel free to contact these teachers to learn more about their presentations, described below.

Robotics Playtime
Becky McDowell and Beth Nelson, our STEM coaches for Grades 4 and 5, led a three-hour workshop designed to provide teachers the opportunity to learn about the many different robotics that can be used to help s…

Barrington 220 Welcomes 2 New Techs

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Please join the Barrington 220 Department of Technology & Innovation in welcoming two new Technology Support Associates to the team, Adam Fajnor and Kaitlyn Pankiewicz. When you call x. 1500 for technology support, you are likely to speak to either Adam or Kaitlyn. You can learn a bit more about our new Techs below.

Adam Fajnor
Technology Support Associate

The Steve Jobs keynote speech announcing the iPhone 4 was when I became really interested in tech. When I was in high school, I would jailbreak* devices and try to understand the ins and outs of the devices. I graduated from Western Illinois University in 2016 where I majored in Network Technologies and minored in Information Systems. I worked 2 summers at Barrington 220 and thought it was a great atmosphere in which to work. When I graduated from college, I saw there was an opportunity to work in the district as a tech and I couldn’t pass it up.

I love watching/playing basketball (go Bulls and Bucks) and football. I also love to …

Easy Access to Student Plans

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A recent enhancement to Infinite Campus makes it easier for teachers to stay informed regarding an individual student's Health Plan, 504 Plan, or Individualized Education Plan. The following steps allow a classroom teacher to view plans for students rostered to one or more of their classes.

Step 1: Navigate to Campus Instruction

Step 2: Scroll to the bottom of the left index column and select Custom Links and Reports

Step 3: Select Student Plans

A listing of all classes will display in period order.  From this listing a teacher can access 504 Plans, Health Plans, and IEPs—all from one roster! Before a teacher views a plan for the first time, there will be a NEW PLAN designation in the appropriate column for students with a plan.

Step 4: Click on the most recent file associated with the desired planto create a PDF of the 504 Plan, Health Plan, or IEP.

The date the plan is read will now appear on the teacher roster and in the Infinite Campus database. When a new plan is created by the a…

Spear Phishing in February

Are you a clicker?

This is a simple yes/no question, but in our context it may be the difference between just another day at school and something far worse.

KnowBe4 is a security company that specializes in "Security Awareness Training." They report that 91% of successful data breaches start with a Spear Phishing attack. KnowBe4 refers to “Clickers” as those who are most likely to click on a link within a bogus email message, subjecting themselves and their employers to a malicious phishing or virus attack.

So what is Spear Phishing? Spear Phishing is an email message sent by cyber criminals that appears to be from a trusted source, but is not. The email message is designed to steal confidential information through deception.

There are untold number of ways to deceive via email. A popular method in Illinois school districts is this one: “Subject: A document has been shared with you.” The message goes on to say that someone you know is trying to share a document with you and…

Combatting Fake News

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How do we combat the onslaught of news these days? 
In addition to filtering the news items, how do we evaluate the news to know if it's true before we hit the share button? Information analysis is an integral part of the District 220 Library/Information Literacy Curriculum. Students are taught the basic elements of evaluation:
Authority: Who is the author of the information? What are their qualifications?Purpose: What is the purpose of the information? What's the message?Objectivity: Is the information biased? Is there conflict of interest?Accuracy: Is the information accurate? Has it appeared elsewhere? Can it be triangulated, found in 3 different unrelated sources?Current: Is this information current? Or, is this old information being recirculated? Have you looked at the data embedded in the document, image, or video to find the author, date of origin? This critical skill is developed throughout our students' education beginning in elementary and carrying through high s…

Lists of Barrington 220 iPad Apps and Subscriptions

In an effort to consolidate and communicate the apps and subscriptions our staff and students can access, we created lists for each. These lists can be accessed easily using these websites:

Barrington 220 Approved Apps: bit.ly/220apps

Barrington 220 Subscriptions: bit.ly/220subscriptions

Each website is designed so staff and students can easily:
Find explanations of each app or subscription.Sort by tool function or content area.Sort by grade level access. This video by Shawndra Shelton (@SSheltonBSD220) demonstrates how to access, sort, and navigate the list of Barrington 220 Approved Apps. 

The list of Barrington 220 Subscriptions can be accessed, sorted, and navigated in the same way.
We continue to update the resources available on both these sites.
If you find any errors or any resources we can access that did not make the list, please contact me: jjrobinson@barrington220.org.

Snapchat! Carpool Karaoke! SAMR! Your Winter EdTech Links

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Every so often, I share the best of what I've curated from the web. I usually come across these links on Twitter and in those cases, I've included the source so you can follow along.



Booksnaps-Snapping for Learning
By: Tara Martin
@TaraMMartin on Twitter

Snapchat! The forbidden fruit of social media, referenced as a learning tool?!?! That's right, Snapchat, for all it's tumultuous press, especially in education, can function as an engaging, productive tool for many classroom activities. Caroline Milne (@MrsMilneBiology), a Barrington 220 teacher, uses Snapchat for her students to demonstrate learning during labs and more. In this article, @TaraMMartin describes several ways she uses Snapchat in her classroom.




Classroom Environment Ideas (Padlet)
By: Laura Meehan
@laurameehan04 on Twitter

Our very own Barrington 220 iDAL coach, Laura Meehan, in conjunction with a few other iDAL coaches, began curating some great ideas for teachers to maximize their classrooms as learning spa…

Schoology and Google Classroom

The development of online classrooms in Barrington 220 has followed a winding path. Many veteran teachers may remember building their first websites and online classrooms using tools like COMPLIMENT and Moodle. The adoption of Schoology signifies a new era of organized and functional use of a unified Learning Management System (LMS) in Barrington 220.

In the time before Barrington 220 adopted Schoology as our official, district-wide LMS, many teachers explored the use of other online classrooms and LMSs. Canvas, Haiku Learning, Google Sites, Google Classroom, Edmodo, and Schoology were used throughout the district. Teachers choose tools with a wide range of specific functions and user interfaces. In an effort to streamline communication and organization among students, teachers, and parents, the District Technology Committee recommended that we choose a single LMS to use throughout the district and ultimately recommended Schoology.

Where an online classroom provides a place for teache…

Barrington 220 Hosts One to World Showcase Event on 11-24-17

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On Tuesday, January 24, 2017, Barrington 220 hosted a showcase event for regional education leaders featuring our One to World program. The event was well-received by participants and had far-reaching coverage on social media.

The purpose of our One to World Showcase was to provide an in-depth view of our district’s one-to-one learning initiative to educational leaders in our region, spotlight several of our classrooms using effective technology integration, and further expand our district’s network of professional learning contacts.

Apple provided online registration services and identified the Showcase as an official Apple Education Event. The event accepted over 90 online registrations from over 40 school districts, and more than 20 additional attendees visited who were not pre-registered.

Attendees visited from as far north as West Salem, Wisconsin (near La Crosse), to as far south as Arcola, Illinois (south of Champaign). Attendees included technology support staff, teachers, ins…