Friday, January 12, 2018

The Cashless Campus

The Business Services and Student Information Offices are working together to create a "Cashless Campus" for each of our Barrington 220 schools. The goal is to free teachers from the task of collecting cash and obtaining permission for students to attend field trips/events. Transitioning to a Cashless Campus adds improved efficiency and transparency in school fee management and aligns with the district’s commitment to strong accounting practices.

Eliminating cash/checks handling by classroom teachers and school offices reduces paperwork, resulting in increased instructional time in the classroom. Securing parent permission for students to participate eliminates the time consuming task of collecting paper permission slips and allows for automated parent reminders. In short, a Cashless Campus saves teachers time.

What is the plan for achieving a Cashless Campus? In October 2017 the district partnered with RevTrak to transition to a newly designed and expanded web store. Each school office has been trained in adding items to the web store and communicating with parents through Infinite Campus regarding the event/item. Reports are available for monitoring who signed up to attend and/or has paid for an item or event.  School offices and PTO organizations, along with a handful of teachers,  have successfully utilized the new web store to streamline payments and parent permissions. 

Teachers will enjoy the fast and simple method of adding items to the web store for purchase. Parents enjoy the option to make payments for additional school items such as trips, club/athletic fees, spirit wear, and more using their existing online payment account. Parents enjoy the convenient and secure option of paying for school items online using their credit card or checking account anytime 24/7, from any computer or mobile device.

The next time you need to collect money for a student event or product, please consider using the web store. Teachers and sponsors are encouraged to transition to using the web store for all student related purchases. Cashless is the goal!

A variety of training resources exist for staff. Take a moment and review the step-by-step instructions and learn more about using the web store for student purchases. Click here to review sample web store items. When you are ready to create your first item or event you may want to view one or both of the following videos:

How To Build a Web Store Product

Field Trip Tutorial

Building administrative assistants have experience working with the web store. BHS teachers can contact the department administrative assistant or Linda Ryan. Additional questions and feedback can be directed to LeeAnn Taylor and/or June Nilles.

#BSD220TwitterAward for December 2017

Twitter continues to grow as a fantastic tool for teachers to share the exciting events happening in their classrooms and to connect with other educators around the world. This month, we continue a series honoring those who use Twitter to share the tenets of our One to World Vision and Mission.

Each month, we honor four Twitter users:
  • One Staff Member, Grades PK–5
  • One Staff Member, Grades 6–8
  • One Staff Member, Grades 9–12
  • One Administrator Grades PK–12

December 2017: Staff Member, Grades PK–5, Twitter Award
Congratulations, @Lines4MG!

December 2017: Staff Member, Grades 6–8, Twitter Award
Congratulations, @BMSHistSchmitt!

December 2017: Staff Member, Grades 9–12, Twitter Award

Congratulations, @Waxler81!

December 2017: Administrator, Grades PK–12, Twitter Award
Congratulations, @MrsKristenPaul!

As always, you can find all of the Barrington 220 accounts by searching the hashtag #bsd220 or searching my Twitter handle, @iJoeRobinson, navigating to Lists, and then following the #bsd220 List.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Learning on the Go with YouTube Subscriptions

YouTube is used to share home videos, opinions on the latest Star Wars movie, highlights from sporting events, and much more. Educators use YouTube to share insights into their teaching strategies, resources they've created, and technology tools. At the same time, many education service providers use YouTube to deliver training, inspire teachers, and introduce new technology.

How can we keep up with it all?

By subscribing to YouTube channels from some of the brightest minds and the most helpful services, teachers can more easily keep up. YouTube subscriptions are easy to access and follow.

Here I demonstrate how to subscribe and share some of my favorite YouTube subscriptions.

Barrington 220 Revamps Printing System

Barrington 220 is bringing a new, fully managed printing system to each school building. Based upon the success of a first-semester pilot program at two of our schools, our fleet of aged printers and copiers is being removed and new "managed" multi-function printing devices are being placed in our buildings.

Changes that affect the completion of daily tasks can be disruptive. Disruption, however, is not necessarily a bad thing if it pays off with some conveniences or other benefits, seen or unseen.

Here are the immediate goals of this new district-wide managed print system:
  • Create a district-wide printer/copier solution for all district staff that’s easy to use and greatly reduces (or eliminates) equipment down-time.
  • Increase copying/printing services in the district and provide devices that match the volume necessary for teaching, learning, and operations.
Over time, we hope/expect to see:
  • A printing/copying system that is easy to use.
  • Less printing/copying in buildings (over a period time).
  • More large-volume printing/copying in Copy Center.
Advantages for you, the user:
  • The ability to print, copy, or scan at any Barrington 220 printer/copier.
  • The ability to print a job from your computer and then release the print job at any printer district-wide within 48 hours.
  • The ability to review and track your own prints and copies.
Staff members at our two pilot schools returned in August 2017 to the busy start of this school year, and at the same time were asked to adapt to a new way of printing and copying. A few weeks into the pilot, we asked staff a number of questions about the printing system being piloted at their schools.

Here are a few of the results:

Overall, we found these initial results mostly positive. We carefully reviewed any questions and concerns brought forth to us and tweaked the pilot program devices and system to address as many reported concerns as possible.
The rollout is currently in process and will finish in early February. I trust that your building principal and/or building LTAs have been communicating with you regarding our new printing system. 

If you have not installed printer software on your Mac (using the Self Service app) or scanned your employee ID at one of our new printers, please stop by your school library and discuss this with an LTA. They will be glad to answer any questions you may have and assist you in any way they can.

Our tech team is also available to answer your questions! Contact us at x. 1500.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Assistive Technology Supports for Students Who Struggle in Reading & Writing

If you have a student with an IEP or 504 Plan who struggles with reading or writing, we have three excellent tools in district that may help! These are all available as iPad apps or Chrome extensions through our district licenses.

Co:Writer Universal
Co:Writer Universal uses grammar and vocabulary smart word prediction to help students better express their ideas in writing across devices. It is terrific for students who struggle with spelling, idea generation, expanding writing ideas, increasing typing speed, and more!

Click here for more information including video demonstrations.

Snap & Read Universal
Snap & Read Universal will read text aloud, level text to what meets the student’s needs, convert text to make it readable using OCR (optical character recognition), highlight, outline, and create citations!

Click here for more information including video demonstrations.

Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a non-profit organization that produces and maintains a library of accessible audiobooks. Students must have an IEP or 504 Plan and must qualify under the categories of visual impairment, specific learning disability, physical impairment, or reading accommodation.

Click here for more information.

Please contact me (Kelly Key) to inquire about getting these supports for your students. I am also happy to provide individual or class training to students and staff!

–Kelly Key, Assistive Technology Coordinator

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Earn PDH Credit for Apple Teacher in Barrington 220

With Apple Teacher, teachers learn and build skills on iPad and Mac that can be used in the classroom with a self-paced learning environment that provides tips, inspiration, news, and learning resources. Teachers can earn badges and an official Apple Teacher recognition. In Barrington 220 teachers may earn official Professional Development Hour credits (PDHs, formerly known as CPDUs) that can be applied toward teaching certification renewal. Over 100 Barrington 220 teachers participated in this program for PDH credit already and many, many more earned Apple Teacher recognition without applying for PDHs.

In Barrington 220, we call our blended learning course Technology Integration Foundations for iPad and Mac. The online learning part of the course is the Apple Teacher program, comprised of online training sessions that can be completed over a period of time. The face-to-face part of the course is a meeting with a Barrington 220 facilitator and other teachers who have completed the training. During a one-hour final meeting, teachers share activities completed with students using the content learned in the online training modules.

iPad Online Activities
Each activity is credited 30 minutes:
  • iPad
  • Pages for iPad
  • Keynote for iPad
  • Numbers for iPad
  • iMovie for iPad
  • GarageBand for iPad
  • Productivity with iPad
  • Creativity with iPad
Mac Online Activities
Each activity is credited 30 minutes:
  • Mac
  • Pages for Mac
  • Keynote for Mac
  • Numbers for Mac
  • iMovie for Mac
  • GarageBand for Mac
  • Productivity with Mac
  • Creativity with Mac
Barrington 220 teachers can sign up for the Technology Integration Foundations for iPad and Mac course, which includes completing the Apple Teacher program, logging online hours, and attending a one-hour meeting. Teachers who successfully complete the Technology Integration Foundations for iPad and Mac may earn up to 10 Professional Development Hours (PDHs):
  • Complete 8 Apple Teacher iPad online sessions (30 minutes each) and attend a one-hour meeting = 5 PDHs. 
  • Complete 8 Apple Teacher Mac online sessions (30 minutes each) and attend a one-hour meeting = 5 PDHs.
  • If you complete both the iPad and Mac online sessions and attend one one-hour meeting, you will earn 9 PDHs. 
  • Participants who complete the iPad online sessions and attend a one-hour meeting, and later decide to complete the Mac online sessions and attend another one-hour meeting, can earn up to 10 PDHs.
How to Earn PDHs in Barrington 220

Step 1: Sign up for the Apple Teacher program
Use your personal or Barrington 220 Apple ID to sign up for the Apple Teacher program.

Step 2: Log each of your Apple Teacher learning experiences
Sign in to log each module as you complete each digital badge.
(Educators outside of Barrington 220 may view a version of the non-interactive sign-in page here.)

Step 3: Sign up for one monthly face-to-face meeting
Using the log, sign up for one of the monthly face-to-face meetings with a Barrington 220 instructor and a group of your peers. Scheduled meetings for 2017–18:
  • Thursday, January 25, 2018, 7:15 – 8:15 am, James Street Engleking Room
  • Thursday, February 22, 2018, 3:00 – 4:00 pm, James Street Main Conference Room
  • Thursday, March 22, 2018, 7:15 – 8:15 am, James Street Main Conference Room
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018, 3:00 – 4:00 pm, James Street Main Conference Room
  • Thursday, May 24, 2018, 7:15 – 8:15 am, James Street Main Conference Room
Step 4: Attend the face-to-face meeting
You may attend any face-to-face meeting after you have completed your online training to complete the course requirements to receive PDH credit.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Seesaw Activities, Flipgrid Ideas, and an Epic! Dictionary

Several new and exciting features are now available from Flipgrid, Seesaw, and Epic!

Students become more engaged and feel empowered when they are given an opportunity to own their learning. Flipgrid ideas is a brand new feature that allows students to think outside of the "grid." The ideas section is automatically created with each new grid. Teachers need to activate ideas for existing grids. Ideas is a space independent from the assigned grid or topic that allows students to record experiences, thoughts, or other items that they would like to share. The fifteen-second time limit encourages students to unleash their creativity while prompting concise, thoughtful content. Click here for more information from Flipgrid.

Kindergarten Students at Barbara Rose try out Seesaw activities.
Seesaw activities is an exciting new feature that allows teachers to assign items to students to complete within the Seesaw app.

Teachers can create their own, or they can access the activity library from their Seesaw Dashboard. Students simply tap the activity icon and then click add to get started. Once the student has completed the assignment, he or she will submit it to their journal. As always, teachers will need to approve each response. Click here for more information from Seesaw.

Thanks to a collaboration with Merriam Webster, Epic! has just released an exciting new resource called Dictionary look up. Students simply tap on any word in the book that they are reading for a spoken pronunciation, and a pop up kid-friendly definition. This new feature applies to every book in the Epic! library.

The Cashless Campus

The Business Services and Student Information Offices are working together to create a "Cashless Campus" for each of our Barringto...