Showing posts from 2017

2017-18 Instructional Technology Software Updates

We have several instructional technology service announcements to prepare for 2017–18!

PK–12 Teachers & Students

For our online technology tool training needs, we will be subscribing to this year (in place of Atomic Learning). provides users with video clips to help learn different technology tools, such as Schoology, iPad, Evernote, Keynote, and many more. You can access
Navigate to http://www.lynda.comTeachers and students login using or email address and passwordPK–8 Teachers & Students

Our subscription to Defined STEM ended on Friday, June 30, 2017, since the elementary Science Steering Committee has completed their work using these resources.

Due to a very low usage rate, we are discontinuing access to Gizmos, virtual science simulations, at BHS.

We are shifting from RAZ Kids to Epic! for students in Grades PK–2 and myON for students in Grades K–5. We will continue to have access to RAZ Kids for students in Grades …

Seesaw for Schools

Seesaw for Schools is new for 2017–18. If you use and love the free version of Seesaw, you will find this new option very exciting. While the look and function of Seesaw will be the same, the new subscription offers more features including: school-wide analytics and management, unified portfolios that follow students from class to class and grade level to grade level, a Seesaw for Schools dashboard which offers actionable data at a glance, and formative assessment tools.
All current Seesaw users will be connected to our paid subscription automatically. New users will be added in the next few weeks. Seesaw for Schools is scoped for all staff and students in Grades K–5.
Click here to view the Seesaw for Schools Brochure.
Click here for more detailed information about Seesaw for Schools. 
Access Seesaw for Schools Navigate to (access teacher dashboard and classes).Existing Teacher accounts will be added to our subscription by domain ( New accounts wi…

Get Amped for Schoology AMP

Schoology AMP is an Assessment Management Platform that is tied directly to Schoology. The tool encourages you to expand your usage of Schoology as a Learning Management System to include easy access to meaningful and aligned assessment data. Assessments can be created or added from an exterior source, and content can be aligned to standards or rubrics with a direct link to curriculum.  AMP offers easily accessible actionable data right at your fingertips. Schoology AMP will be available for all users 9-12 district-wide.

Schoology AMP includes these added functions:
Collaborate and author assessments or import third-party item banks.Use new, technology-enhanced item types.Align assessments to standards and curriculum.Align assessments to rubrics giving teachers the ability to use the results for grading.Use a versioning tool for easy revisions and updates pushed to sections or courses.Improve student outcomes by analyzing individual scores, as well as aggregated data.
Access Schoology …

New Math Apps and Services for Grades PK–5

At the start of the 2016–17 school year in Barrington 220, we subscribed to the following math software subscriptions throughout the district: FASTT Math, Xtra Math, Math in Focus, IXL, Compass, Quick Math, Dreambox, Splash Math, Reflex Math, and TenMarks. That's too many. We have amazing teachers and given the explosion of technology access and subsequent growth of digital math resources, we found many effective ways to engage students with more math practice.

As our district continues to focus on the best tools for learning, we have acknowledged the need to more closely vet the use of digital math resources to align to Barrington 220 math standards.
Our elementary Math Steering Committee formed a subcommittee including Bridgette Hurst (Grade 5 teacher at Grove), Lisa Christianson (teacher at Arnett Lines), Jeff Simon (Grade 1 teacher at Arnett Lines), George Vlasis (Kindergarten teacher at Hough), Shawndra Shelton (District Technology Assistant), Loretta Johnson (Instructional D…

New eBook Services for Grades PK–5

This quote from Stacey Riedmiller (@literacybigkids) and tweeted by our very own Instructional Digital Age Learning Coach, Katie Muhtaris, explains the steps we took regarding access to digital texts for our elementary students.
Barrington 220 students love to read, and they read a staggering number of books. Students in our elementary schools can check out up to 5 books in a given week. Students ready voraciously in their English Language Arts class throughout their PK–12 experience. Thanks to the work of our amazing teacher librarians, students read traditional print books and they also access digital texts through services like OverDrive, Follett Shelf, and more.

Current research, best practice, and teachers across grade levels understand the common wisdom that surrounding students with nonfiction and fiction texts supports learning concepts in every content area. Need to understand a concept like symbiosis? A teacher might direct you read a nonfiction textbook explaining the defi…

Apps and Subscriptions in Barrington 220 Q & A

Barrington 220 manages well over 1.3 million app licenses and software subscriptions for our staff and students as of May 2017. We have made it easy for teachers to:
discover which apps and subscriptions we have (by grade level and topic).learn about app and subscription options and access.request new apps and subscriptions.
Please use this handy Q & A to learn more.

Q: How can I see which apps my students can download from Self-Service?

A: is a complete list of apps available in Self Service (an app on Mac and iPad Barrington 220 uses to make most apps available to students and staff). The list includes a brief description of each app. Apps can be sorted by categories such as grade level, video creation, science, ELL support, and more. This document is open for anyone in Barrington 220 to access and sort. Updates are made every two weeks when apps are approved to be "scoped" (made available for a specific group of users to download).

Q: How can I see which …

Barrington 220 "Storyboard That" Pilot

Have you been searching for an exciting new option to re-enforce English, history, special ed, STEM, ELL, & foreign languages; create graphic organizers; or create and deliver presentations? Storyboard That may have what you’re looking for. It’s a comic book, it’s a graphic organizer, it’s a versatile tool. Students can unleash their creativity, tell a story, create a visual representation, and model their thinking. Storyboard That is web-based, iPad-friendly, and great fun for teachers and students. 
Barrington 220 has been invited to participate in a pilot program that includes access to countless lesson plans and teacher guides for Grades K–12. Many of these have been created and shared by teachers just like you. Some examples include: assess student understanding of concepts and vocabulary in the book, Sarah Plain and Tallcreate a visual explaining math concepts

The user-friendly interface of Storyboard That makes it easy for students and teachers to get going immediately with…

Still Time to Complete Apple Teacher for PDH Credit

Barrington 220's Apple Teacher for PDH Credit program has been very well-received this year! We have had around 100 teachers participate in Apple Teacher for PDH Credit—but many, many more who completed the Apple Teacher program on their own or as part of a school-based initiative.

The Apple Teacher program includes excellent online, self-paced training that is specifically geared to classroom use for both iPad and Mac:

Pages for iPadKeynote for iPadNumbers for iPadiMovie for iPadGarageBand for iPadProductivity with iPadCreativity with iPadMac Online ActivitiesMac
Pages for MacKeynote for MacNumbers for MaciMovie for MacGarageBand for MacProductivity with MacCreativity with Mac
There is still time to complete the Barrington 220 program for PDH Credit!

If you are finished with your Apple Teacher badges...

We have added an extra date in the summer for the final meeting; thus, you may select one of two remaining options:
Thursday, May 25, 2017, 7:30–8:30 AM, James Street Main Confere…

Online Registration is Open

It is the time of year parents of students planning to return to Barrington 220 schools are asked to complete the annual registration process and update student and family information, while reviewing and accepting annual requests for parent permission.

Barrington 220 transitioned to online registration at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year and has continued to incorporate additional data collection into one single step for district parents. Parents have expressed appreciation for bringing everything to one source for their review and input. Online registration also increases efficiency by automatically bringing student and family data into Infinite Campus. This eliminates not only reams and reams of paper, but also many hours of data entry.

We are happy to report registration was processed for 978 students during the first 48 hours of online registration this year. You might find it informative to consider the different data collected and available for reporting from Infinite C…

New Staff MacBook Air Laptops Have Arrived!

As mentioned in a previous post by Dr. Matt Fuller, staff members who currently have a MacBook Air laptop will be switching to a new MacBook Air laptop prior to the close of the school year.  These new MacBook Air laptops have an Intel I5 processor, 8MB RAM, and 120GB solid state drives. That's plenty of "horsepower" for any apps that come our way! The best news is that we can now spec apps and systems based on one MacBook Air model that is used by all staff members.

The exchange process is already underway and is nearly complete at several of our schools including Countryside, Hough, and Barrington High School. With the help of building LTAs and district Techs, the transition has been quite smooth so far. Laptops are exchanged, data is moved, and the older laptops are placed in storage for several weeks for any “just in case” circumstances.

Your MacBook Air swap will take place within your building and your email inbox contains an email message from Mark Polzin asking y…

Flexible Learning Environments

Barrington 220 teachers have long used classroom funds, and sometimes even personal funds, to create comfortable and functional classroom spaces. More recently, flexible learning environments have become more of a focus in education. As adults, we understand how choices we make about where we work can influence our productivity and creativity. Now, more and more teachers are helping students learn to make the same choices.

Last week, Becky Wiegel, Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning, hosted a visit from Northbrook School District 28 at Barbara Rose with principal Derek Straight. The visit, organized by Instructional Digital Age Learning (iDAL) Coach Eliza Aliotta, featured a presentation about how flexible learning environments play a vital role in both our teaching and learning programs. In addition to our One to World program's focus on flexible learning environments, we are currently exploring the future of facility design through our current Blueprint 220 planning ini…

Apple's Newest App: "Clips"

Apple recently released Clips, a new creation-based video app. Clips makes video creation and editing, SO easy. Teachers and students of all ages and levels of experience can use Clips to easily create short video clips.

Here's a quick introductory video about Clips (from MacRumors):

Here are some of my favorite features about Clips:
Allows users to create short videos (or take photos) by pressing a big, red button and holding it for the duration of the clip.Overlays spoken text during a video clip recording on the screen. (This is amazing!)Provides filters (similar to Instagram) for both videos and photos.Allows the addition of stickers that can be resized and placed anywhere on the screen for taking photos or videos (similar to Snapchat).Allows text-only title screens.Easily allows deleting or reordering photos and video clips.Shares videos to Explain Everything, Book Creator, Seesaw, Schoology, the Photos app, and many more. Check out this awesome video, created by iDAL Coaches…

Assistive Technology Resources Site

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 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

“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

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!

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

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

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

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

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.


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.


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!


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

ICE 2017: Barrington Breaks Through!

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

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

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

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:

Barrington 220 Subscriptions:

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: