Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Barrington 220 District Tech Committee Members Share Resources

Recently, members of the Barrington 220 District Technology Committee shared several tips, tricks, apps, and systems that helped them improve teaching, learning, or professional practice in their classrooms or buildings.

The Google Drive Assignments App built into Schoology enables teachers to assign Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Slideshows, and Drawings from directly within the Schoology platform. Once assigned, students can make their own copies of the content to work on and submit, and the teacher can provide feedback and grade the assignment, all without leaving Schoology (description adapted from Schoology). Learn more on the Schoology website. Ben Rodriguez, BHS iDAL Coach, discovered Google Drive Assignments and shared it with Mitch Beck, BHS English Department Chair, who described Google Drive Assignments as a “game changer” and “life saver.”

Mary Marks, Hough School Teacher Librarian, recently began using Tweetdeck, a part of Twitter that allows users to set up a customized display of various Twitter content, including hashtags, trends, mentions, searches, and more. Check out Tweetdeck and set up your own custom views!

iDAL Coaches Mary Stec, BMS-Prairie, and Erika Inka, BMS-Station, have been working to “gamify” instruction. Each of the Coaches have used concepts of gamification with students and learned concepts from the book, Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich, and Elevate Your Learners with Gamification and Game-inspired Course Design by Michael Matera.

Lucia Dvorak, BHS English Teacher, shared how she recently used The Moth Podcasts in class. The podcast features the “most beloved tales and the stories behind the stories” from The Moth Radio Hour. Recent episodes include “The Vietnam War,” three stories from the Vietnam War Era; “The Universe of Impossible Things,” and “Me, Myself, and I: Stories of Questioned Identity” (adapted from themoth.org).

Grove ELL Teacher Noelle Erickson was elated to use Seesaw over the summer when she taught a science class. For the last few years, Seesaw has been used by many Barrington 220 elementary teachers for its ability to easily allow students to “independently document what they are learning” and “show what they know using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links” (adapted from Seesaw). However, Spanish teacher Sheila Soss reported using Seesaw with her Barrington High School Spanish students.

EdPuzzle was recently discovered by two different DTC members at different levels: Grade 3 and High School. Mary Scotillo, BHS Science Teacher, recently began using EdPuzzle, an online tool that allows a teacher to set up an online video with specific pauses for questioning and other learning opportunities. Mary has used the tool for teaching Chemistry concepts. Sarah Dowdy, Grade 3 Teacher at Lines notes that EdPuzzle is very user-friendly and could be used for blended learning experiences, adding, “it is an awesome learning tool that could be implemented into any learning environment!”


Jennifer Walsh, BHS Teacher Librarian, shared a recent find, XQ Super School, "a community of people mobilizing America to reimagine Public High School." She described the resource as a way to learn about super-schools all over the U.S. and how to bring the US education system into the 21st century, preparing students with meaningful, real world experiences.

Justin Stroh, BHS Science Teacher, recently discovered Boomerang, a Gmail add-on that allows emails to be sent out on a pre-specified future date and to set reminders. Among other features, Boomerang allows you to “write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time,” select to only be reminded to “follow up within a specific time frame after sending a message,” and “take messages out of your inbox until you actually need them” (adapted from Boomerang). Learn more from Boomerang.


Grade 5 Teacher at Roslyn Road, Jeremy Wemhoff, has been using digital books provided by both myON and Epic! to add depth about the material he is teaching. Jeremy appreciates that we have access to “big sets of books with a wealth of knowledge.” Please speak with your building LTA to learn more about accessing myON and Epic! at our elementary schools, or visit the "Read" section of your building’s Elementary Launchpad (on your school’s barrington220.org website, click the STUDENTS tab and select Elementary Launchpad.

A few DTC members have recently begun using Apple Clips to document learning and create custom soundtracks for other video projects. Ty Gorman, BHS Associate Principal and Teacher, recently used Clips to document an event. Matt Fuller, Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Innovation, and Samantha Ptashkin, Director of Communications, used Apple Clips to create custom music soundtracks. Here are two methods to use Apple Clips to make music for your next video project.

Joe Robinson, Barrington 220’s Director of Instructional Technology, shared his favorite educational podcasts, including:

  • The Wired Educator Podcast, interviews by Kelly Croy with EdTech gurus
  • 10MT: The 10-Minute Teacher Show, the 5-day-a-week podcast for remarkable but very busy teachers by Vicki Davis
  • Well PlayED, a podcast about playful learning, #gamification, game based learning, and game inspired course design by Michael Matera
  • EdSurge On Air, a weekly podcast with insightful conversations about EdTech and the future of learning, hosted by Jenny Abamu and Jeffrey R. Young
  • ASCD Learn Teach Lead Radio, engaging conversations between ASCD Emerging Leaders and leading authors, experts, and practitioners on the topics that matter to today's educators and impact the success of each child

If you are interested in following the work of the Barrington 220 District Technology Committee, you are invited to visit the DTC website at any time. The DTC maintains each meeting's monthly agenda for the year and during the meeting, notes are added to each topic.

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