Thursday, October 30, 2014

Upgrading to Mac OS X, version 10.10, “Yosemite”

Since teachers of students in Grades 6–12 and students in Grades 9–12 are “administrators” of the MacBook Air laptop that has been issued to them, these users have the ability to open the App Store application and upgrade to the latest operating system. The new version of Mac OS X (pronounced Mac O S ten) is version 10.10 (ten point ten) and is referred to by Apple as “Yosemite,” named after the National Park known for its spectacular granite cliffs and wilderness areas.

Yosemite (the operating system) is the eleventh release of Mac OS X (the first version was 10.0) and represents a major overhaul of the look and feel of the software. Many of the features of the Mac operating system are designed to interact with and complement iOS 8, the new operating system that runs the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

While there is currently no requirement to upgrade to Mac OS X Yosemite, many users may wish to do so to take advantage of the new features. So far, the operating system has been very stable and works well on Barrington 220’s network. The only application that requires a bit of additional attention is GroupWise, our email and calendar system.

Upon launching GroupWise in Mac OS X Yosemite, you will see a message asking you to install an earlier version of Java. Below you will find a set of directions to help you install the software to allow GroupWise to run in Yosemite.

1. Launch the GroupWise app.


2. Click More Info...


3. Click Download and wait for the software installer to download.


4. Look in the Downloads folder for the file JavaForOSX2014-001.dmg and double-click the file to open it.


5. Double-click JavaForOSX.pkg to open it.


6. Click Continue (three times):


7. Click Agree.


8. Click Install.


9. Type your computer’s password. Click Install Software.


10. After installation, click Close.

LATER...

Because these instructions downgrade the Java version, the Mac will ask you to upgrade Java within a day or two. Make sure to resist the urge to upgrade since it will cause GroupWise to no longer work. When you see this screen, click Skip This Version.





Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Assistive Technology in Barrington 220 (VIDEO)

This post was contributed by Morgan Delack, Communications Specialist for Barrington 220. 

Barrington 220 is considered a leader when it comes to assistive technology both locally and across the nation. This video demonstrates just a few of the many ways technology devices, software and services are maximizing learning opportunities for our students. Special thanks to Kelly Key, Assistive Technology Coordinator, and Stephanie Giacchetti, Special Education Teacher at Station Campus.

You must be logged in to Google Drive with your bsd220.org account to view this video.

BHS Mobile Apps Class Featured on NBC5

The Mobile Apps coding class at Barrington High School (the topic of an article and video in the previous issue of bsd220tech) was featured on the NBC5 news that aired on Saturday, October 25, 2014, during the "Weekend Web" segment of the 8:30 AM local broadcast.

Students AJ Priola and Heather Nelson, along with BHS teacher Tom Bredemeir, represented our district well as they were interviewed by Art Norman about the Mobile Makers curriculum used in our Mobile Apps coding class.

Watch the segment.


Google Apps for Learning in Barrington 220 (VIDEO)

Google Apps deftly supplement stellar instruction and a wealth of curricular resources. Our teachers and students organize documents, collaborate on presentations, and give and provide timely feedback, thanks to the tools provided as part of the Google Apps for Education.

Google Apps offer a diverse group of applications, each with unique opportunities for teachers to design lessons, and for students to craft creative demonstrations of their learning. The basic Google Apps of Google Docs (for word processing documents), Google Sheets (for spreadsheets), and Google Slides (for presentations) give teachers and students three fundamental technology applications.
Google Apps: Docs, Sheets and Slides
Image via Classthink.com
These three Google Apps have features that set them apart from similar applications that have been installed on your computer's hard drive for many years. First, Google Apps allow users to share, collaborate, give and receive feedback, research within the document, and more. Second, Google Apps offer offline options for users to continue to work on documents started in school even if no Internet access is available. Third, Google Apps are constantly being updated, not just by Google, but also by third-party developers who offer additional Google Add-ons (tools to use within an application) and Google Apps (applications that allow teachers and students to create new projects).

These benefits of Google empower teachers to design lessons which integrate Technology as part of the TPACK model. The functionality of Google Apps allows teachers to climb the SAMR model ladder and teach transformational lessons centered upon Modification and Redefinition.

The following video features some students from Barrington Middle School Station Campus and Barrington Middle School Prairie Campus speaking about how teachers and students use Google Apps.

A Parent's View Into a Teacher's Gradebook

The Infinite Campus Parent Portal provides district parents with a gateway to their student’s school information from a computer or mobile device with a secure parent login. The Parent Portal is where parents update personal and emergency contact information; view absence records, assignments, and due dates; view grades in progress; and pay student fees and meal accounts. Many parents configure their personal mobile devices to send notifications immediately when an absence is reported, an assignment is added, or a behavior incident occurs. The Parent Portal is also the first step in setting up communications from teachers, principals, and the district office through Infinite Campus Messenger and Schoolwires.  

Currently gradebook information is available only for students in grades 6-12, but a wide range of other student-specific information is available for all grades.

Parent Portal usage for October 1–29 is as follows:

Student Accounts: 8,336 (Grades 1-12); October Logins: 158,708
Parent Accounts: 5,731 (Grade PK-12); October Logins: 39,502

Student District Enrollment: 8,921                 
Students with at least one parent with a portal login: 7,953

Grade level with highest percentage of student portal usage: Grade 10 
Grade level with highest percentage of parent portal usage: Grade 10

Teachers often ask, "what does a parent see?" The following links will allow you to see the parent's view from the Parent Portal:

How do parents access the Infinite Campus Parent Portal?




Managing Mobile Devices

It seems like it was just a few years back when the first-generation Apple iPad tablets hit the market by storm. That was in 2010 and these tablets quickly found their way into the education market, including a small number of iPads at Barrington 220. Designed by Apple as well-crafted consumer devices, they offered few capabilities to deploy and manage in quantities.  

Since that initial release of iPads, corporations and educational organizations alike have looked towards Apple for ways to deploy, manage, and secure these devices and to do so in quantities.  Apple has listened to these requests and has responded, continuously providing more features to help manage growing numbers of iPad tablets within corporate and educational organizations.

This year, Barrington 220 has partnered with Dell Corporation, leveraging their cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM) system to remotely manage mobile devices, including Apple's iPad and iPhone. Through the use of a "third-party" MDM system, Apple provides the ability to inventory, manage, and deploy apps, and do so without handling each device should a change be needed.  If a tablet or phone is lost, especially one that may contain sensitive information, we also have the ability to remotely "wipe" (delete all the information on) that device.

We currently have over 900 iPad tablets within Barrington 220, a number that is expected to climb significantly as our One to World program expands to our elementary schools. Effective device management and device security will continue to be important to our technology department, and as these device numbers grow, we will be continuously looking towards Apple and Dell to help us in this area.

If you are the primary user of a Barrington 220 tablet or device, you may at some point be asked to register your device with our management system. The process is fairly painless, and in return we can push free and purchased apps to your device with little intervention and still push the same apps out once your tablet or phone is changed or upgraded. Should you misplace your device, we can remotely wipe the device before your text messages or photographs are seen by others! Stay tuned for more information regarding device management...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Teacher Tech Toolkit includes SAMR

Barrington 220 teachers measure their technology integration using Dr. Puentedura's SAMR Model.

Photo via @slatkamarijana
(Marijana Jensen, District TSA Floater)
TPACK offers teachers an overarching philosophy for integrating technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge into daily lessons. Teachers use SAMR to measure how the technology aspect of TPACK is implemented.

The SAMR Model:

Image Rights Free

SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition and was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the Founder and President of Hippasus, a consulting firm focusing on transformative applications of information technologies in education.

The SAMR Model resembles a ladder with a clearly delineated top and bottom half. The bottom half includes Substitution and Augmentation, labeled as technological Enhancement. The top half includes Modification and Redefinition, labeled as technological Transformation.

The Enhancement rungs of the ladder allow students and teachers to add small, useful benefits to the curriculum and instruction of daily lessons. Substitution refers to practices such as a student practicing basic math facts through a game on an iPad versus completing a worksheet with the same practice. The use of the game on the iPad might provide some extra motivation or engagement for the student, but does not offer any tangible advantage. Augmentation allows for some improvement in practice, such as spell check on a writing assignment, or collaboration on the same slide while preparing a presentation, but the basic design of the lesson remains the same.

The Transformation rungs of the ladder afford teachers the opportunity to empower students to own the learning of each lesson (a reference to Dr. Alan November's work). Students gain self-advocacy and responsibility as they interact with new content and demonstrate learning with a myriad of technology tools. Modification refers to students being able to use Skype to interact with a peer living in San Diego to learn more about the impact of global warming through the droughts in California. In that lesson, students would learn about the meteorological, geographical, and socio-economical impacts without the teacher needing to provide that information by writing notes on the board or having students read paragraphs from a textbook. The task of learning about global warming is completely redesigned. Redefinition takes learning to the highest level by placing primary ownership onto the students with teachers serving as valuable guides in the process of learning. Students might be posed with an essential question or a problem to solve, such as: 

Increased rainfall and nearby landscaping has caused a river flowing behind a residential area to flood and make crossing the river unsafe. Families must send their students to school across the river. As the city urban design specialist, answer the following questions: How will you provide safe transport for the students? How will you communicate the plans, progress and completion of the project?  How much money will the project cost?  

This lesson incorporates many aspects of math, writing, science and social studies without overtly covering that material. Instead, the students use prior knowledge, access to curriculum, and creativity to solve the problem with the individual guidance of the teacher.

To learn more about SAMR, visit http://bit.ly/220SAMRModel and view this two-minute video:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Problem Solving and Resilience in Mobile Apps Class (VIDEO)

Tom Bredemeier teaches using the application Xcode. 
Last week I visited Barrington 220's new Mobile Apps class offered at Barrington High School. The class is taught both by Brian Mathien and Tom Bredemeier (“Mr. B.” to his students). I visited Mr. B.’s class on a Thursday morning. The class teaches students to “code” in a programming language called Swift that is used to create apps for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) and Mac. Like any language that is unknown to an observer, computer code can seem quite unfamiliar, and even a bit scary. But as two students explained to me, coding is just a way for a programmer to send instructions to a device—it’s a matter of learning the syntax a little at a time and combining several instructions together to make an app that does what you want it to do.

Students showed me examples of a recently completed app, a tip calculator (for calculating the gratuity for a waiter or other service). To create this app, students needed to write the code to allow a user to input cost, select the percentage for the tip, perform the tip calculation, and display the result. Some students also added an option to display the amount owed if multiple people were included on the same bill. Using a software developer application called Xcode, students write the code on their MacBook Air laptop and then click a "play" button that launches an interactive iPhone display that pops up on the screen.

I was struck by the many different approaches taken by students to both structure the app and design the user interface—the elements on the screen with which a user must interact to successfully use the app. For example, students needed to method for users to select how much of a tip to calculate. I observed three different approaches:
  • Some students allowed the user to type a numeral in a text field for the percentage they wish to tip.
  • Other students presented several buttons, or a “segmented control” with three connected buttons, displaying choices of 10%, 15%, and 20%.
  • A few students created "slider" control so the user can slide to select any percentage.
The student on the left used a slider while the student on the right used a segmented control, two of many possible user interface approaches.
Students in the class worked both independently and collaboratively with their peers and teacher. Mr. B. uses a color-coded clip system to ensure that he can easily prioritize his interactions with students. A collection of red, yellow, and green clips are available on each table. Students select the appropriate color to clip to the corner of their laptop as they work. Red clips mean, “I’m stuck and I need help right now before I can move on;” yellow clips mean, “I have a question, but I can still work on other things;” and green clips mean, “I have no questions at this time and I'm working on my project.” Students seemed to have little trouble finding help from Mr. B., their peers, or using online resources.

In my conversations with students, I learned that the logical approach to problem solving they were learning as coders was also translating to other parts of their life. Please take a look at the following video that features both Mr. Bredemeier and Emma B., a learner with no previous programming background before taking this Mobile Apps class.



Quick Tip: Zoom Your MacBook Air Screen

Disclaimer: My apologies to K-5 teachers currently without Mac laptops, this tip is aimed at 6-8 teachers. I promise to include future tips that are more inclusive (and maybe some just for K-5).

When I am presenting with my MacBook Air plugged into an LCD projector, especially during professional development, I sometimes need to zoom in to a particular part of my screen to allow the audience to easily see a detail. This is an easy task, but it requires a quick setting change. Here’s how to do it:
  1. Launch System Preferences (in the Dock or under the Apple menu).
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. Click Zoom in the left column.
  4. Click the checkbox Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom: (there is no need to change the modifier key from Control).
  5. Close System Preferences by clicking the red dot in the upper-left corner.

From now on you may press and hold the control key on the keyboard while using a 2-finger scroll up and down on the trackpad to zoom in and out of the screen. 2-finger scroll up zooms in and 2-finger scroll down zooms out. The zoom feature will zoom to wherever your arrow is pointing on the screen. You can move your arrow to the edges of the screen while zoomed to view different areas of the zoomed screen.


Change these settings then use the control key on the keyboard,
along with a 2-finger scroll up and down to zoom in and out.

Communicate Using Teacher Messenger

Teachers work hard to communicate with parents and students. Sometimes the communication is a Facebook post or a tweet. Sometimes the communication is in the form of a blog (such as this one), and often during the school year thousands of email communications are delivered quickly and securely to parents from the Infinite Campus Grade Book.

Teachers use the Infinite Campus Teacher Messenger to communicate with parents regarding upcoming events, current grades, or missing assignments. The location of Teacher Messenger changed with the transition to the new grade book, but this feature-rich tool continues to provide the communication methods teachers depend on for quick and dependable communications with parents and/or students. 

Today is a great day to review how all this works.

Click the link below for a simple, step-by-step guide about how to use the Messenger feature for your class. This guide has been written for Barrington 220. Additional information regarding the Teacher Grade Book and Campus Messenger is available in Campus Community.

Barrington 220 Teacher Messenger Documentation


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Network Storage Increasing this Week

As a friend and colleague tells me, "no one has ever complained about having too much data storage." With that in mind, this week we are upgrading our Barrington 220 Storage Area Network (SAN) system, providing additional data storage capacity for many of our servers that connect to this SAN system.

Our original Barrington 220 Storage Area Network was put in place in the summer of 2008. The SAN system is used to provide common hard disk space to a multitude of servers, making management and deployment of systems easier and more reliable.

Back in 2008 we added up all of the server storage used throughout the district. We calculated a number of around 1.5 terabytes (1,500,000 megabytes) of data stored on all servers within the district. Armed with that information, we installed a 20-terabyte SAN system in our data center. We also dropped in a 15-terabyte SAN system at our disaster recovery location.

Barrington 220's new SAN system
That original SAN system, as large as we thought it was, held for just several years, and before we knew it, we were in need of more storage capacity. We upgraded to 35 terabytes of data storage at our data center and presently we are provisioning 57 terabytes of raw data storage in our data center with 64 terabytes of storage at our disaster recovery site. We have progressed from 1.5 terabytes of actual data stored in 2008 to the potential of 57 terabytes of storage in 2014. Mind you, a good chunk of this storage is used for redundancies and backups, however, we are on a roll!

With the extra storage space, we hope to be able to continue our district-wide data and server consolidation efforts and also provision additional storage space to staff and students. Stay tuned!

Barrington 220 is TPACKed with Great Lessons!

If you need convincing about the impact technology has in education, you need only visit our classrooms in Barrington 220.

Photo via @slatkamarijana
Photo via @radiogirl271

Outside of Barrington 220, most conversations regarding technology integration focus on device choice, number of devices, and the total cost. Inside the school district, we concentrate on how those devices transform how students learn and demonstrate learning in school.

Enter TPACK:
Image Rights Free

TPACK stands for Technological, Pedagogical, And Content Knowledge and was developed by Dr. Matthew Koehler and Dr. Punya Mishra, both from Michigan State University. The TPACK model is a philosophical belief about the integration of technology in education. As the image above illustrates, technology, pedagogy (instruction), and content knowledge (curriculum) must work together in tandem to best serve students in the classroom.

When TPACK is implemented well, technology acts as the vehicle that drives the curriculum to the student, through best practice in instruction, AND offers the student a high quantity and quality of tools to use to demonstrate learning.

The best designed lessons cannot exist without the presence of all three elements working in concert.  For example, a great lesson requires a quality curriculum, and the teacher must have a solid handle on the content (Content Knowledge). A great lesson also requires best practice in instruction (Pedagogical Knowledge); a great curriculum cannot teach itself. And, a truly great lesson, one that differentiates instruction for all learners and allows students to practice 21st-century skills, can also include well planned and appropriately implemented technology tools.

Our teachers in Barrington 220 continue to work to understand the balance of implementing technology into their lessons. The iPad, for example, was first introduced just four short years ago. There will always be learning curve as educators both learn to use a device with all its versatility and how to incorporate the best features of the technology into education.

To learn more about TPACK, visit http://www.tpack.org  and view this two-minute video:


iPad ON in Grade 6 (VIDEO)

iPad ON sign at BMS Prairie
This week I had the opportunity to visit BMS Prairie Campus and watch iPads being used in classrooms. Before entering the room, it was clear to me (and the students) that iPads would be needed in that class today from the “iPad ON” sign posted outside the door.

Students began a math class by responding to a teacher-created survey in Google Forms and later accessed a YouTube video as part of a flipped-classroom lesson. Students in another class had recently completed a project using the Educreations app that allowed them to create an annotated video to explain their thinking as they completed math operations.

Later I met Nicholas C. and one of his teachers, Ms. Heather Bressett. Nicholas had recently discovered the iMovie app while at home, created a movie trailer using the app’s built-in, template-based movie trailer builder, and brought it to school to show his teacher. Sensing her student’s obvious engagement, Ms. Bressett connected this out-of-school student creation to an upcoming book trailer class project and decided to use iMovie in school. Check out this short video featuring both Nicholas and Heather Bressett of BMS Prairie:





Here to Help in the Library

Over the first six weeks of school, I have had the pleasure of visiting all of our school libraries. Although the physical spaces look different and the students span from preschool to twelfth grade, one thing remains the same, all of our library staff is focused on providing excellent resources to the school community. Students and teachers visit this space not only for physical books, but to gain knowledge of the many electronic resources, databases, and digital texts available.

Whether you are a first-time user of the Barrington 220 library system or someone who has partnered numerous times with library staff, we are happy to help! Did you know the following about your school libraries?
Download the OverDrive app on iTunes
  • Kindles are available for checkout in all our buildings. Through the generous donation of the friends of the library, our K–5 buildings are equipped with at least 30 Kindle devices.
  • A wealth of databases and other online tools are accessible to enhance the learning experience.
  • Librarians are available to help your curate resources, plan a research project, team teach, or work with you on almost any task that improves the learning experience for the students in your classroom.
  • We have a wide range of ebook and audio book options available.
If you are looking for a way to get started with ebooks, check out this short video on OverDrive, one of our ebook resources.




Doing More with the Teacher IC Grade Book

The number of parents and students across the district accessing Infinite Campus on a daily basis is growing quickly. Many students and parents access IC multiple times daily, often after receiving a notification on their mobile device that a new assignment, grade, or absence has been logged by a teacher. The increase in use of the IC portal has prompted teachers to ask, “Is there more I can do with the IC Grade Book?"

The answer is YES! 

The following Google Docs offer simple directions for teachers, students, and parents to do more with IC Grade Book:
Staff interested in knowing more may call 847-842-3503 or email me at jnilles@barrington220.org.

Passwords Are Now Passé

Logging in to a computer system generally requires a username and a "memorized secret." Most people refer to this "memorized ...