Wednesday, September 17, 2014

“In the Air” - Barrington 220 Wireless

It doesn’t seem all that long ago (OK, it was truly a decade back) when some of the first wireless laptops were deployed in Barrington 220. Wireless connectivity to the Barrington 220 network was provided to these laptops via wireless access points that were mounted directly to laptop carts. Back then we had a whopping 7.7 Mbps (Megabits per second) connection to the Internet that seemed to meet the needs of all Barrington 220 users. 

Much has changed since then, and the changes in our wireless systems are coming at an exponential rate. With the deployment of our One to World program this school year, we have added over 100 additional wireless access points to our district network this past summer. We now manage a total of 388 access points district-wide, with 162 of these “APs” located at Barrington High School. That 7.7 Mbps access to the Internet ten years ago has now increased to 1,000 Mbps, doubling the bandwidth we had available last year.

I took a brief look at our wireless systems this morning and found 4,360 devices connected to our system at that moment in time (2,570 of these devices were located within the walls of Barrington High School).

Staff and students can now connect to our wireless systems using a myriad of computing devices, from any classroom throughout the district and expect robust connections to Internet-based, on-line learning tools and educational content.


All of us in the technology department are already looking forward to and planning for the rollout of our One to World program at the elementary schools in coming years.

Meet Matt Fuller, Barrington 220 CTO

When I arrived in Barrington 220 on July 1, 2014, my feeling was that I had walked into a theater in the middle of a very exciting movie. The story had already begun, many major characters were entrenched in a complicated plot, and the majority of the cast would not arrive for quite a while. Luckily, several people had explained the scenario in advance and I wasn’t completely unprepared for the action that would follow.

On July 1, I began in Barrington 220 as the district’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). This position is a newly restructured role that incorporates the technical support staff with instructional technology and library staff. I work directly with June Nilles, our Database Coordinator, who heads our Infinite Campus Student Information System; Joe Robinson, our Instructional Technology Coordinator, who works with our district’s Technology Support Specialists; LeeAnn Taylor, our Director of Media Services, who works with our Librarians; and Russ Vander Mey, our district’s Network Operations Manager, who manages our technology infrastructure and works with our district Computer Technicians. I also work with the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents as part of the Executive Council. Finally, I work very closely with our Curriculum and Instruction department, including our Curriculum Directors and Digital Age Learning Coaches.

Previously, I served as Technology Director in school districts across the Chicago suburbs including The Winnetka Public Schools, Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District, and the Wilmette School District. I recently completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. As part of my doctoral program, I wrote and published three studies, each available (for free) in the iBooks Store:

I began my education career as a band director and elementary music teacher after earning my Bachelor of Music from DePauw University (Greencastle, Indiana). I’ve been an Apple Distinguished Educator since 2007 and I frequently present at schools and educational technology conferences sharing research findings and providing professional development sessions.

I sincerely thank the entire staff at James Street, where my office is located, for assisting me in my transition. Everyone whom I have met so far across Barrington 220 has been immensely helpful, professional, and gracious.

I very much look forward to meeting and working with more and more Barrington 220 teachers, staff, and administrators. With the amazing cast and crew I have met so far, I fully expect this film to be a blockbuster cinematic event.

School of the Future

Over the course of the past several months, multiple groups within Barrington 220 have been getting ready to put devices in the hands of our students in Grades 6–12. I am proud to work with such a dedicated team, as this was not an easy task. The coordination, preparation, and most importantly curriculum integration work needed to embark on our One to World journey, gives us the opportunity to re-invent "how we do school."

video


As we continue our work in this Digital Age, we look forward to partnering with our parents and community to foster all-important digital citizenship skills and guide students to use technological tools they grow and personalize for their learning experiences.

Our libraries offer a variety of ebooks and audio books, online databases, and resources for use on district-issued or personal devices. Visit your school's library website for more information. Keep an eye out for upcoming Parent University opportunities to learn more about these tools.

Thank you for taking this journey with us and supporting District 220's desire to give our students equitable access to the digital world.






Update Your Infinite Campus Staff Information

Congratulations to our teaching staff on a great transition to Campus Instruction in Infinite Campus!

Most staff members have configured Infinite Campus settings to allow direct access to Campus Instruction. However, there is one important task all staff members need to complete in Campus Tools. Since Infinite Campus is the source for accurate staff contact information, please log in to Infinite Campus and complete the following steps as soon as possible:

1. Access Campus Tools

2. Choose Census from the left menu (open the Census menu option)
                         
3. Choose "My Data"

4. Choose "Request Demographic Update"

5. Enter a description "Staff Update"

6. Choose "I am adding or correction my information"

7. Scroll to the bottom are of the Demographic page and review email address and phone number.  Enter any data edits desired. Users may login out of Campus Tools if no data edits are required.  Thank you for checking!

8. If edits are required, enter the corrected/updated information and  click Save Request.

Please note:
The requested edits do not become final until approved and processed by the HR Department.  The information shown on the screen will not change immediately. Staff will receive a notification in the IC Inbox once the request has been processed.


HELPFUL TIPS:

1. The Primary email address is used by Infinite Campus Messenger.  Be sure it is a barrington220.org email address.

2. You may enter a personal secondary email address if desired.

3. Delayed school openings, school closings, and other emergency information is delivered by email, phone, and text to the options chosen by staff members. Be sure to check that the Emergency column contains at least one phone number indicating voice and/or text.

4. Other important messages are delivered using email addresses and phone numbers checked in the Priority column. Staff members should have one phone number checked in the Priority column.  Options include voice and/or text.

5. General messages are sent from time to time.

In the event an emergency message is sent, the auto dialer will call all numbers checked. If three phone numbers are checked, three phone numbers will be dialed, unless the person receiving the call stays on the line to confirm the call.  (0#) Confirming a call will cancel all additional calls.

A test of the emergency calling system is scheduled to take place at the end of September.

Staff members with questions or in need of assistance should contact the Help Line at 847-842-3580.

Technology Kickoff

An amazing technology deployment process allowed every Grade 6–12 student to receive a district-issued iPad or MacBook Air before the start of September!


Barrington 220 schools began with teachers working with students on procedures, introductory lessons, and reviews of previous materials. At the beginning of the 2014–2015 school year, those activities included the use of technology almost from day one as students at the middle school and high school received their devices during the first week and a half of school.

The photos below lend a glimpse into many of the year's technology preparation activities.

Staff receive training on their MacBook Air laptops.


Curriculum & Instruction, Library, Technology, and Technology Support staff prepare iPads for deployment to middle school students during the summer, well before our students arrive.




Students receive basic training on the use of their new devices.


Teachers put the new devices to use immediately, allowing students to create meaningful and authentic learning experiences.





























Both students and teachers shared their excitement about the incredible opportunity to use their new iPads and MacBook Air laptops to enrich content, access quality resources, and demonstrate learning through the myriad of technology tools available.


Welcome to bsd220tech!

Welcome to Issue 1 of bsd220tech, an online newsletter that brings instructional technology news and information to Barrington 220 staff.

This publication will arrive every other week and feature content written by Barrington 220 technology leaders, including:
Each issue will follow a similar format. An email will arrive with headlines and short descriptions of each story in the issue. Each short description is followed by Click the link to read more..., followed by a link. This format allows recipients to get an idea of the content of each story and allows interested readers to follow the link to read the entire story. The complete stories are published on a blog, bsd220tech.blogspot.com, so readers can easily access previous content.

The Blogger platform is a part of Google Apps for Education and is available to every student and staff member in Barrington 220. Blogger allows multiple contributors, custom layouts, and a simple user interface for including writing, images, and video in posts. We hope that you will consider the Blogger platform for your own class communications or future student projects.

The contributors of bsd220tech will provide timely information that is useful to staff and, when possible, respond to current issues related to instructional technology in the district. If you are a Twitter user, we will post using #bsd220tech.




Please feel free to email authors directly or use the Comments section below to leave a message!

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