Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Infinite Campus Seeks Teacher Input

In August Infinite Campus released significant improvements to Campus Instruction incorporating both responsive design and a simplified way for teachers to report attendance and manage grading assignments. Today Infinite Campus is continuing to invest heavily in increasing the power and ease of use provided in Campus Instruction. To provide the best possible user experience, Infinite Campus is looking for teachers who would like to participate in usability testing.

Infinite Campus views teacher involvement in usability testing as a chance for the company's Teaching and Learning development team to better understand the teacher's experience using Campus Instruction and to receive feedback direct from classroom teachers. Usability testing is done outside the school day via an online meeting and takes 30-45 minutes. Infinite Campus will be compensating teachers for this time. An Internet connection and phone with handset or speakerphone is needed to participate.

Teachers interested in participating in the Usability Testing should complete the Usability Testing Registration. Click here to learn more and access the Usability Testing Registration. Infinite Campus will communicate with teachers who register to participate by email.

Update Your Staff Contact Information for Inclement Weather

Cooler temperatures and the return to reaching for a jacket before leaving the house remind us that inclement weather may not be far away. This is the time of year the district encourages all district employees to log into Infinite Campus and review personal contact information. District staff and parents have the option of designating which phone number(s) to call and/or text in the event of school closings due to inclement weather.

Requests for data changes will be processed within 72 hours. The data available for viewing does not change until processed by the Infinite Campus staff. 

Please take time to review your information prior to the Thanksgiving break. This short video provides instructions on how to review your contact information and request data changes, if needed.

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.

Help! I updated my iPad to iOS 11 and now an app doesn't work!

When a new app or system update or upgrade is released, students and staff should install it. These updates and upgrades allow better user experiences, increased functionality, and/or increased security. On rare occasions, an updated or upgraded app will not function properly, or at all. That can be very frustrating as often it leaves teachers and students without a tool instrumental in their learning experience. I'd like to explain some reasons how and why this might happen.

With Apple operating systems (iOS on iPad devices and macOS on MacBook Air devices), an announcement occurs and outlines some of the exciting new features in the soon-to-be-released operating system. For software developers, these announcements begin a timeline to prepare apps for the release of an upcoming operating system. Typically, Apple announces major changes 5–7 months before an operating system is upgraded.

Soon thereafter, a new operating system is released as a "Public Beta" through a program that requires an enrollment process with Apple. Individuals, companies, school districts, and other organizations can join these pre-release programs and begin testing software with the pre-released operating system. While Developers update code and functionality, individuals, companies, and organizations may test existing apps with the new operating system. Almost all of the companies we purchase software subscriptions or apps with follow this procedure and update software to work with the new operating system well before the release day.

Very occasionally, a company either chooses to not align their software with the new operating system or provides an update after the release of the new operating system. In the example of the latter, updating the app fixes any issues with the performance of the software. However, in the example of the former, the software may never again function as it did in previous operating systems.

Here are some actual current examples:

The Explain Everything iPad app provided an update the same day of the release of iOS 11 for iPad. After updating the iPad device and the app, Explain Everything worked flawlessly with a few upgraded functions aligned with iOS 11.

The Notability iPad app functioned properly after the release of iOS 11, but it wasn't until a couple of days after the iOS 11 release that an iPad app update was offered. After the Notability update, the app offered updated functionality provided by the enhancements in iOS 11.

The System 44 iPad app from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt did not receive an update at the time of the release and stopped functioning altogether after teachers or students updated to iOS 11. To this date, System 44 still does not function on iPad devices updated to iOS 11. I personally made several phone calls to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt requesting an update only to hear, "we're working a solution, but we have no timeline at this time." Thus, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt chose to not proactively use the 5–7 month lead time that other software developers used to update their app(s) in advance and, in essence, chose to leave us (and their other customers), with a non-functioning app.

So what can we do? Please continue to communicate with software companies that we made time, support, and sometimes monetary investments in their apps and systems, and we need the companies to do their job to keep their apps running on the devices and operating systems our teachers and students use. Phone calls, emails, and mentions through social media, like Twitter, help to clearly send the message to these these companies.

It is baffling to many members of the Department of Technology & Innovation as to why a major company would release an app and not maintain it or communicate with their customers given the months of lead time they have as developers to make updates. This especially applies to large educational publishers such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Follett, Pearson, and other companies past and present who disrupt the educational process by choosing a reactive—rather then proactive—course of action.

As of the time of this post, the following apps have still not been updated and do not function on devices running iOS 11:

These apps will remain available in Self Service if they are updated in the near future.

As always, you can find a complete list of the iPad apps available to students through Self Service, here: bit.ly/220apps



Tips and Tricks Using Respondus Lockdown Browser

"I heard about a browser that allows me to maintain the integrity of my summative assessment questions. Where do I sign up?"

According to Respondus, "LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within a learning management system. Used at over 1,000 higher ed and K–12 institutions, LockDown Browser is the top choice of educators for securing online exams in classrooms or proctored environments."

Many teachers at BHS and throughout Barrington 220 value these and many other functions embedded in the Respondus LockDown Browser. LockDown Browser connects with Schoology and offers apps for both iOS 11 on iPad devices and macOS High Sierra on MacBook Air devices and brings added functionality to any type of assessment. However, it is important to understand a few issues inherent when using Respondus LockDown Browser.

Several teachers, Teacher Librarians, LTAs, iDAL coaches, and others have combined forces to share some of the minor issues with the Respondus LockDown Browser, along with some ideas for avoiding major problems. Barrington 220 has already logged support tickets with Respondus for each of these issues.

Can the Respondus LockDown Browser be set as the default option when teachers create an assessment?
Since Respondus—not Schoology—created the Respondus LockDown Browser, Schoology does not currently have the capability to set the Respondus LockDown Browser as the default browser option for assessments.

Do teachers need to turn on the Respondus LockDown Browser manually for each section?
Yes, the Respondus LockDown Browser must be turned on manually for each section.

When students attempt to take an assessment in the Respondus LockDown Browser, they receive this error message, "No servers found for the institution that match the auto launch URL."
This error occurs whenever a student attempts to start an assessment through the Respondus LockDown Browser when they are not logged into Schoology. Students must be signed into the Barrington 220 Schoology portal to access an assessment created within a Barrington 220 Schoology course.

When a teacher creates an assessment in the Respondus LockDown Browser and limits students to one attempt, when they get locked out or kicked out of the assessment they cannot attempt the assessment again. How can we keep the one-attempt limit and still allow students back into the assessment?
This is a tricky one. We recommend setting the number of attempts to 2 or 3 for each assessment until after the assessment has been given. The teacher can then change the number of attempts to just 1 and remove the extra attempts in the test settings.

Sometimes teachers administer their assessments one page at a time to maintain a high level of integrity of their test questions. Can this be done through the Respondus LockDown Browser?
Yes, teachers can administer a test a single page at a time, but each page needs to be set up as an individual assessment.

Some teachers of world languages seek the ability to keep students locked within the assessment so they cannot access translation software like Google Translate during their assessment. How can teachers lock students into the Respondus LockDown Browser?
Teachers can use the Advanced Settings to ensure students are locked into the Respondus LockDown Browser by checking the box: "Lock students into the browser until exam is completed." 

Some students report their MacBook Air devices restarting without prompting upon submission of an assessment. Why is this happening?
We are currently testing some theories, but no concrete explanation for this issue. Please contact an LTA should a student experience this issue.

During an assessment, an embedded YouTube video within the Respondus LockDown Browser began buffering (taking a long time to load with no video playing) and the student was unable to view the video.
Embedded videos can cause loading issues depending upon the length of the video, the quality of the video, and the amount of bandwidth needed for the entire class to access the Internet at the same time. Please consider this possibility when embedding videos into an assessment.

Can students access pausable, rewindable Text-to-Speech within an assessment in the Respondus LockDown Browser?
Currently, the built-in text-to-speech options do not allow for pausing or rewinding within text being read. The audio can be stopped, but restarting results in the audio starting again from the start of the text. The macOS version of the Respondus LockDown Browser works with VoiceOver, a text-to-speech tool built into macOS, the MacBook Air device's operating system. Students can access these Accessibility options in System Preferences.

Why do students sometimes encounter problems downloading the Respondus LockDown Browser?
Problems might arise when attempting to download the Respondus LockDown Browser if the app already exists on the device. If a student has already downloaded the Respondus LockDown Browser, they do not need to download it again.

Why does the Respondus LockDown Browser not prevent access to the Internet or other apps after students submit their assessment? 
The Respondus LockDown Browser only locks students into the Respondus LockDown Browser during an assigned assessment. After students submit their assessment, they are no longer under the control of the Respondus LockDown Browser.

For more information, resources, and tutorials for solving some of the issues above and more, please consult our Troubleshooting the Respondus Lockdown Browser Reference Guide.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Updated Translation/Interpretation Request Form

Do you need a Spanish or Polish interpreter?

I would like to remind everyone that we have a new process in place for those staff members who may be in need of Spanish/Polish document translations or meeting/event interpretations.

As a part of coordinating technology and innovation within Barrington 220, we have made it easy to schedule all of your translating needs through a simple Google Form. The updated form can be accessed by either clicking here or by visiting barrington220.org, clicking the Staff tab (login required), and clicking the Request Translation link.

The form will allow us to receive and confirm appointment requests, as well as manage uploads of documents that you need translated into Spanish and/or Polish. This simple and effective process allows the translating team here at Barrington 220 to collaborate much more efficiently when it comes to meeting/document requests across our district.

We ask that you keep the following in mind before submitting your request:
  • Please allow a minimum of 5–10 business days for written translation requests to be returned.
  • Please submit your meeting interpreter request 15 days in advance (minimum) in order to secure an interpreter. 
  • Please note: It is likely that last-minute meeting requests will not be accommodated.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me, Hector Ontiveros, hontiveros@barrington220.org. Our translating team is happy to provide assistance, so please send those timely requests!

Team Up with Team Drive!

I would like to take just a minute or two of your time to tell you about the Google file sharing system called "Team Drive." Google Team Drive provides staff and students with some truly great group file sharing capabilities.

Why use Team Drive? 

Do you need to share a group of files that share a common theme with more than a few users? Do you want to take the worry out of file and folder ownership (i.e., what will happen to shared files when a staff member retires or leaves the district)? Do you want to provide access to files that specific groups of staff or students can access anytime from anywhere? If so, please consider Google Team Drive.

Here are a few Team Drive advantages over Google Docs file sharing:
  • Files in a Team Drive are owned by the "team" and not by an individual. Files are not deleted when the staff member or student who created the file leaves the district.
  • Google Groups can be used to automatically provide shared content to new staff members. For example, Sunny Hill staff members could create a Team Drive named "SH Shared Files" and add sharing rights to the Google group "All SH Staff."  When a new Sunny Hill staff member joins the district and are added as members to that particular Google group, they will immediately have access to all files within that Team Drive.
  • File sharing permissions are clear and concise.
  • A Team Drive shares a common "Trash" folder that keeps content for 30 days before permanently deleting it.
The setup of a Team Drive is simple and you can create new Team Drives as you wish.  Here are a few screenshots that show how to access and create a Team Drive using a web browser when you are logged in to Google:

















Using Google Team Drive from an iPad is just as simple. For a Google tutorial on Team Drives, click here.

With this new Team Drive system in place, we will soon be looking at eliminating one of our district servers which contains shared folders for our buildings: (i.e., BHS-Common, BR-Common, CS-Common, etc.). Our older system has far fewer features than Team Drive.

If you run into any issues with Google Drive, please stop by your library and visit with your LTA—they would be glad to offer assistance.  If you are having specific access issues with Google, contact your LTA or our Techs at x1500.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Meet the Department of Technology & Innovation

On behalf of the entire Department of Technology & Innovation, I would like to welcome everyone back to school for the 2017–18 school year.

The district-level members of the Department of Technology & Innovation work throughout the summer and most of us consider the summer months our busiest time of year in terms of implementing, preparing, upgrading, and updating. However, when teachers and students return, we shift our focus to supporting and planning for the many systems we manage in learning, teaching, and operations across the district.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the entire Department of Technology & Innovation district-level staff. Below you will find the department listed in text, and the post concludes with an infographic-style image that depicts everyone in our group.

Instructional Technology
Joe Robinson, Director of Instructional Technology
Joann Fullman, Administrative Assistant
Shawndra Shelton, District Technology Assistant

Technology Support
Russ Vander Mey, Systems Administrator
Scott Moore, Network Operations Specialist
Mark Polzin, Technology Support Supervisor
District Technology Support Specialists
     Jason Bryant
     Justin Edge
      Kim Martinez
District Technology Support Technicians
      Josh Beatty
      Derrick Kovell
      Charlie Parkinson
District Technology Support Associates
      Adam Fajnor
      Kaitlyn Pankiewicz

Student Information
June Nilles, Director of Student Information
Saif Ali, Applications Software Administrator
Karen Jasonowicz, Central Registrar
Megan Polzin, Transportation Specialist
Violet Jackson, IC/Business Office Liaison
Andrew Solomon, Data Assistant
Yazmin Aceves, District Translator

Copy Center
Steve Underwood, Coordinator of Document Systems
Charles Wells, Copy Center Assistant

Department Leadership
Matt Fuller, Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Innovation
Hector Ontiveros, Technology & Innovation Department Coordinator


Infographic



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Five Elements of a Perfect Tweet

The Barrington 220 response to using Twitter as a professional learning network (PLN) has exploded this school year!


Several schools have highlighted teachers using Twitter by adding posters or signs showing Twitter accounts outside of classrooms. Since more and more teachers are beginning to use Twitter regularly, I thought this would be a good time to review five elements of what makes the "perfect" tweet.


The perfect Twitter post has five key parts: the message, a hashtag, a tag, a link, and a photo or video.


The Message

Twitter is currently reviewing the number of characters allowed in a single tweet, but as of right now, you are allotted 140 characters per tweet. Therefore, word choice is a very important aspect of creating a tweet. Of the five elements, the most important aspect of a perfect tweet is the message.

The Hashtag

Hashtags serve as labels for tweets. Adding a hashtag allows others to search for and find your tweet. For example, adding the Barrington 220 hashtag #bsd220 to a tweet allows anyone searching for recent tweets from our district to find them easily. Searching the hashtag #sped would find tweets related to special education. Here is a list of educational hashtags as compiled by Jerry Blumengarten, @cybraryman1.

The Tag

Tagging someone in a post is like cc-ing (carbon-copying) them on email. It ensures that your tweet will trigger a notification for whomever you’ve tagged to see that tweet. Tagging someone with a tweet also allows those who are following you to learn about other accounts you might be connected with. For example, tagging @barrington220 in a tweet, would allow others to become aware of Barrington 220's Twitter account.

The Link

Most Twitter posts also include some sort of link. Examples of links include a resource, another person's post, or a link to a blog post. The link is the most optional of the five elements of the perfect tweet.

The Photo or Video

A really good tweet includes media. Adding a picture, video—or a GIF or Bitmoji—brings interest and intrigue to your tweet. Photos are great, but adding videos of 30 seconds or less allow followers to gain an even deeper understanding of your tweeted message. For example, this tweet, from Shilpa Vakayil, @shilpavakayil, shows a video of her class.


Fall 2017 Instructional Technology App Updates

We have several updates to share regarding software subscriptions and apps available for staff and students since our last update in August.


iOS and macOS Updates

Apple recently released new operating systems both for iPad and MacBook Air devices. 



iOS 11, the new operating system for our iPad devices, became available on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. You've most likely received onscreen prompts to upgrade. The upgrade is free and requires 50% battery, online access, and about 30–45 minutes of time to download and install. The iPad device is unusable during this time so we recommend completing the upgrade at home.


macOS High Sierra, the new operating system for our MacBook Air devices, became available Monday, September 25, 2017. If you haven't already, you will receive onscreen prompts to upgrade. The upgrade is free and requires 50% battery, online access, and about an hour of time to download and install. The MacBook Air device is unusable during this time so we recommend completing the upgrade at home.

For more information about when to upgrade recommendations, please take a look at the article, Upgrade Advice Part 3: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly



Newly Available iOS Apps


Touchcast Studio is a creation-based iOS app that allows users to add overlays for video. It has been scoped for all students in Grades K–12.

Goodreads is a book recommendations app for iOS that offers Netflix-like algorithms to help students find books they might enjoy. The app also allows students to connect safely and recommend books to each other. It has been scoped for all students in Grades 3–8.

Post-It Plus is an iOS app that allows users to take photos to digitize existing Post-It Notes for organization, sharing, and saving. It has been scoped for all students in Grades 1–2.

Abode Spark Page is a creation-based iOS app designed to allow users to create their own images, graphics, and text. It has been scoped for all students in Grades 3–8.

Requests for access to new or existing software and apps can be made using the Software and App Request Form (bit.ly/220SARF)


Unblock Websites the Quick & Easy Way

I love hearing stories of teachers who find great, timely resources from their Twitter feeds. Occasionally, even the best laid plans for using a link to that perfect website go astray when that website is blocked for students.

We have an easy solution...make a request to have the website unblocked using a Google Form at this address: bit.ly/220unblock.


After you complete the Google Form, the Technology Department immediately reviews the request, unblocks the website (if appropriate for students), and communicates the unblock back to the requesting teacher.

You may request websites to be unblocked using the link above beginning today.

Upgrade Advice Part 3: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

One of the most often-asked questions we get in the Department of Technology & Innovation 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 devices.

The Good

Our advice is to update your device when an update or upgrade is released. While the purpose of upgrades (e.g., iOS 10 to iOS 11) is generally to add new features, upgrades also often fix lingering issues from previous versions of software. Updates (e.g., iOS 11 to iOS 11.0.1) generally deliver bug fixes and/or security updates.

Often, a major upgrade is soon followed by an update to address major issues experienced by many users. A recent example of this happened when iOS 11 was released on September 19, 2017, and an update to iOS 11.0.1 was released just a week later on September 26, 2017. The update pop-up message explains that it "includes bug fixes and improvements for your iPhone and iPad."

The Bad and the Ugly

Unfortunately, sometimes updates or upgrades cause unintended problems. When these issues occur that affect Barrington 220, our Department of Technology & Innovation will send a message—usually an email from our System Administrator Russ Vander Mey—to all district users with our recommendation. These situations are rare.

The Bottom Line

With the exception of rare unintended consequences, we recommend to upgrade or update as soon as it’s convenient after the upgrade/update is released. Due to the time upgrades and updates often take to download and install, we recommend that you begin them when you know you will not need device access for around 30 minutes. We recommend that our students upgrade/update at home so no potential instructional time is lost at school waiting for downloads and installs.

The Barrington 220 tech support team is available to help you with updates and upgrades every school day. While in the district, simply call x. 1500 to speak with a Tech Support Associate.

Google Drive for Teams


When team members retire, take a leave or move on, it can be difficult to access important content saved to their personal Google Drive.  However, Google has released an excellent solution.

Google Team Drives are an excellent option for sharing important documents, folders, and other materials between team members. Simply create a team drive for your group, add members, and watch the shared contents grow. When files are moved to the Team Drive, the ownership of those files transfers to the team. This will eliminate the loss of files and the time consuming process of copying and sharing when staff members retire or move on. At this time Folders cannot be moved directly from an individual Google Drive to the team drive (without the assistance of a district Google Super Admin).

To access Google Team Drives, simply login to your Google account and navigate to Google Drive. You will find the Team Drives option in the upper left corner of your Google Drive Homepage.

Here are a few tips regarding Google Team Drive:
  • When a folder is moved from a personal drive to a team drive, a copy is created and ownership is transferred to the team.  
  • Any files shared individually within a folder moved to the Team Drive, retain rights to view, edit, etc.  
  • Shared folders become property of the team and must be shared again from the team drive to ensure appropriate access.
  • You may find files that you saved with the team in your "Shared with Me" and "Recent Locations"
  • All files are deleted from "My Drive" and all other folder locations EXCEPT the Team Drive location.

Apps and Subscriptions Update

We have access to an incredible list of apps and subscriptions that enhance and supplement teaching and learning in Barrington 220.

In an effort to both inform and organize our current holdings, we need your help!

Please let us know if you, your grade level team, your department, or your school has access to apps or subscriptions in addition to these lists.

Barrington 220 iPad Apps (bit.ly/220apps)
Barrington 220 Subscriptions (bit.ly/220subscriptions)

If you find an app or subscription not present in our records, please let us know by completing this Google Form: Missing Software and Apps (bit.ly/220missingapps)

Apple Teacher for PDH Credit in 2017-18

Last school year, Apple introduced Apple Teacher, “a free professional learning program designed to support and celebrate educators using Apple products for teaching and learning” (adapted from apple.com/education). Teachers may learn and build skills on iPad and Mac that can be used in the classroom using a self-paced learning environment that provides tips, inspiration, news, and learning resources. Teachers can earn badges and an official Apple Teacher recognition.

Also last year, Barrington 220 created a method to allow teachers to 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
Any teacher may sign up for and complete all or part of the Apple Teacher program and receive badges and/or Apple Teacher recognition from Apple.



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.
Online Learning

Each online learning session delivered through the Apple Teacher program includes a multi-touch digital book that is downloaded from the iBooks Store. These books are written specifically for teachers and include ideas for using Apple apps and devices in the classroom.



Teachers demonstrate mastery by completing a summative evaluation at the end of each activity. Each successfully completed module results in the teacher earning a digital "badge." The successful completion of all eight digital badges in the iOS category also allows the teacher to earn an "Apple Teacher" recognition.

The summative quizzes at the end of each online session incude several types of questions, including multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and drag-to-reorder questions. A few of the questions, especially in the productivity and creativity activities, suggest interesting ways of using apps in real-world situations.

This question presents potential uses for several iPad apps.

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. Schedules meetings for 2017–18:
  • Thursday, October 19, 2017, 3:00 – 4:00 pm, James Street Main Conference Room
  • Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:15 – 8:45 am, James Street Main Conference Room
  • Thursday, December 14, 2017, 3:00 – 4:00 pm, James Street Engleking Room
  • 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.

Schoology Course

You may also sign up for the Barrington 220 Schoology course:
  1. Log in to Schoology.
  2. Select the Courses dropdown menu at the top.
  3. Click on the Join link in the Courses dropdown.
  4. Enter access code 8KCNX-48FV4
  5. Click the Join button.
Future Opportunities

Whether you plan to only participate in the Apple Teacher program or also pursue PDH credit through the blended learning course, best of luck!

Monday, October 2, 2017

iOS 11 Improves iPad Classroom Workflow

Each fall, Apple releases a new operating system for iPad. the latest upgrade to iOS 11 includes several features to improve classroom workflow and day-to-day teaching and learning tasks.



Screen Recording

iOS 11 comes complete with options for you to record your screen. This is a game changer. Previously, you had plug your iPad physically into your MacBook Air, use QuickTime, and save your recordings to your laptop. To activate screen recording, add the feature to Control Center by going to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls, and enable Screen Recording. Then, from your iPad device, bring up the Control Center and tap the recording button to record your screen. When you’re finished, simply go back to the Control Center and press the record button to stop. The video will automatically be saved to your camera roll.


Annotating Screenshots

Another game changer in iOS 11 is the ability to annotate and send out screenshots directly from your screen, without accessing the camera roll. To take a screenshot simply press both the sleep/wake and the home button at the same time. Before iOS 11, the screenshot would automatically be added to your camera roll. However, in iOS 11, the screenshot is added to the lower-left side of your screen where you can tap it and use the on-screen tools to draw, add text, highlight, and share it.


Scanning QR Codes with the Camera App

In iOS 11, no special app is needed to view QR Codes. Just use the camera app and it will detect a QR code automatically.


Scanning Documents with the Notes App

Another app you can scrap is your document scanner. In iOS 11, the Notes app allows for scanning documents. You can then share the Notes document to any other app on your iPad device (or share with another user).


An Expanded Dock

iOS 11 includes an expanded dock. The dock will now hold 13 apps or folders, rather than 6 in iOS 10. The dock also includes your three most recently used apps. Maintaining the dock with the most frequently used apps is a great workflow for multitasking.



These changes allow for more robust use of the iPad device. If you've found more helpful workflows and updates in iOS 11, please let me know at jjrobinson@barrington220.org, or add them in the Comments section below.

A more in-depth look at iOS 11 on iPad is available here.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Passwords Are Now Passé

Logging in to a computer system generally requires a username and a "memorized secret." Most people refer to this "memorized secret" as a password. If you are using a password, may I suggest ditching the password and instead using a passphrase in its place?

Federal NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) guidelines that cover computer and systems authentication have been recently revised and the use of complex passwords is no longer recommended. Digital Identity Guidelines now recommend the use of passphrases to authenticate to computer and electronic systems instead of passwords. A passphrase is the use of a group of words, preferably chosen at random, used to authenticate to a computer-based system. Here is an example of both a complex password and a passphrase:

A complex password: St48761!

A passphrase: special holding compound

Why the change?

Complex passwords are sometimes difficult for us to remember. Consequently, they may end up written on paper or stored in an insecure way. Different complexity requirements for different computer and electronic systems may require us to remember multiple complex passwords. Again, we end up writing them down or storing them in an insecure way.

Complex passwords are sometimes created by changing common characters and rendering them less secure than we might think. These passwords could be subject to a system “dictionary attack” that accounts for common letter substitutions. One example of a complex password that is not very secure is Passw0rd!

While not every system we work with will currently support the new federal recommendations (i.e., Apple IDs), your Barrington 220 network account will support their use, as will the Google G Suite system.

To revise a Barrington 220 network “memorized secret” (your password), click here.

To revise your Barrington 220 Google account password, follow these directions.

When creating your passphrase, make sure that your passphrase is a minimum of 8 characters in length. Use random words strung together, not a common phrase. While a passphrase let the dog out is still stronger than many traditional complex passwords, the randomness of a passphrase such as interview garage focus is stronger against a potential system "dictionary attack" and is greatly preferred over common phrases found in books or everyday language.

For some interesting additional reading, check out the NIST Digital Identity Guidelines. A remark at the end of the document sums things up: "Length and complexity requirements beyond those recommended here significantly increase the difficulty of memorized secrets and increase user frustration."

Translation/Interpretation Request Form

I hope that the start of a new school year finds you well! As things begin to pick up, I would like to share some great news that could come in handy throughout our different departments when it comes to requesting translating services.

As a part of coordinating technology and innovation within the District, we have made it possible to schedule all of your translating needs through a simple Google Form. The form can be accessed by either clicking here or by visiting our Barrington 220 website under Staff in the tab entitled Request Translation.

The form will allow us to receive and confirm appointment requests as well as manage uploads of documents that you need translated into Spanish. This simple yet effective process allows the translating team here at Barrington 220 to collaborate much more efficiently when it comes to meeting/document requests across our district.

We do ask that you keep the following in mind before submitting your request:

  • Please allow a minimum of 5–10 business days for written translation requests to be returned.
  • Please submit your meeting interpreter request 15 days in advance (minimum) in order to secure an interpreter. Note: It is likely that last-minute meeting requests will not be accommodated.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. Our translating team is ready to provide assistance, so please send those timely requests!

Apple Clips, Your Custom Music Soundtrack Composer

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to learn about Apple’s new Clips app for iOS from the app’s product manager. Although Clips is very easy to use, I learned a few great tips and tricks, and I was fascinated to learn about a Clips-only feature, the Soundtracks tool.

Clips (currently) includes 47 different Soundtracks in seven different categories:
  • Pop
  • Playful
  • Chill
  • Sentimental
  • Retro
  • Action
  • Holidays & Events

Like other Apple apps with music soundtrack options, the tracks are high-quality, royalty-free, and may be uploaded to social media without infringing copyright. However, unlike other music soundtrack options, Clips soundtracks automatically adjust timing to create a perfectly synchronized music soundtrack for your Clips video.

In general, depending upon the Soundtrack selected, the track includes an intro, several varied sections (depending upon the length of your video), and an outro with an ending. Thus, the music doesn’t just cut off abruptly or fade at the end, it sounds like the soundtrack was composed with a beginning, middle, and ending—just for your video.

For a recent iMovie project, I found myself in my typical music predicament: I needed a royalty-free music selection in an appropriate style and at the appropriate length to play throughout the video. To make matters more challenging, I knew that I would be sharing a first revision of the video with several groups and that further edits would be imminent. It occurred to me...why not let Clips compose my music soundtrack for me?

After a bit of trial and error, I developed two methods for creating Clips music soundtracks for other video apps and created video tutorials for each. One method uses Clips for iPhone and iMovie on Mac, while the other method is an all-iPad solution (using Clips and iMovie for iPad). Using the ideas here, you may be able to adapt this idea for other video creation apps on other platforms.

Create a Soundtrack using Clips for iPhone and Use It in iMovie for Mac


Create a Soundtrack using Clips for iPad and Use It in iMovie for iPad

Google & Apple Service Outage Information

Like many districts, Barrington 220 uses the online services of several providers. Online systems occasionally experience service disruptions. Two of our primary providers, Google and Apple, provide very detailed web pages that list the status of their services that any user may check at any time.

Google currently provides status for 23 services, such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Maps, Blogger, Classroom, etc. Check Google status here:

https://www.google.com/appsstatus

Apple currently provides status for 53 services, such as various App Stores, Apple ID, iCloud Calendar, iCloud Drive, iCloud Notes, Documents in the Cloud, iMessage, Photos, etc. Check Apple status here:

https://www.apple.com/support/systemstatus

The Barrington 220 tech staff will report catastrophic outages from our providers if they affect all users and are expected to last an extended time. For minor outages that do not affect the majority of users, you may check these status pages at any time.

Of course, you may always call x. 1500 for Technology Support in Barrington 220 at any time during the school day.

Campus Instruction Control Center Designed for Mobile Devices

Infinite Campus has updated the home page of Campus Instruction and renamed it “Control Center.” This enhancement allows teachers to quickly view current tasks at a glance without leaving the screen. In addition, Control Center is designed with a responsive design to allow teachers the same home screen on a tablet, smartphone, or desktop computer.

Open Campus Instruction 

To open Campus Instruction, click the app switcher and select Campus Instruction in the menu that opens. Use the app switcher to return to the rest of Campus as well by selecting Campus Tools or to access the Campus Community. Be sure to Log Off when finished.


The app switcher in Campus Instruction is located in the top left of the screen. Click Tools to return to the rest of Campus Tools.


In Campus Instruction, choose the Year and School in the toolbar.  Teachers in schools with multiple structures should choose the appropriate structure, i.e., BHS or Pathways; Grade 06, Grade 07, or Grade 08.

You'll only need to select a Section when that context is needed, such as in the Grade Book or Roster. Other tools, such as the Planner, are not section-specific.

The top right corner of the screen is also where you access the Campus Community and where you log off of Campus Instruction. Account Settings are also available from this user icon.

Visit the Control Center for Easy Access to Attendance and Scoring Assignments

The Control Center allows teachers to view current tasks at a glance. Current day attendance and assignments to be score are sorted by period.

This tool has been optimized for use on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets.

Use the Control Center to take attendance and score assignments easily.

Taking Attendance

Sections for which attendance needs to be taken are indicated with a red dot and outline once the period has ended. Prior to the end of the period, attendance that will need to be taken during the day is indicated with an empty grey circle. Completed attendance is indicated with a green check. Click Take to enter student attendance.


Indicate if students are Present, Absent, or Tardy.


Mark the Present, Absent, or Tardy buttons to record student attendance. Enter Comments for absences and tardies if applicable. Click Save when finished.

If attendance has been recorded by the attendance office, the attendance code displays.

Scoring Assignments

The Assignments column allows teachers to score assignments due on or before the current day. To display, an assignment's End Date must be within the current Term. The number in parenthesis indicates the number of unscored assignments. Click Score to record scores.


Unscored assignments are listed by default, with options for All and Missing assignments.

In the panel that opens, unscored assignments are listed by default. Click All to view all assignments in the section or Missing to view assignments flagged as missing.

Click on an assignment to view students. For a specific assignment, view All students (including those with scores), only Unscored, or those flagged as Missing using the buttons at the top.


Score and flag students assignments

Filling Scores

Fill options display at the top of the scoring panel. Mark all assignments as Turned In and score all assignments. Anything entered in the Fill Scores area overwrites data entered on the current panel.

Scoring Individuals

Scores and flags can also be recorded for individual students. Enter numeric scores or select a score from the dropdown for assignments scored using Marks or Rubrics.

Assignments with multiple alignments display with multiple score fields.

Flags

To flag the assignment, click the Turned In button or use the flag dropdown list to select a different flag. Once a flag is selected, click it to remove it. Keyboard shortcuts, such as typing 'M' to flag as missing, cannot be entered in the Control Center.

The Turned In and Missing flags cannot be marked at the same time. If a score is entered for an assignment flagged as missing, options display for resolving the flag.

Student Information

Click on a student's name to open the student information panel. Basic information about the student is listed at the top, with sections for Contact Information and Today's Schedule.





Visit Infinite Campus for Barrington 220 to learn more of what's new in Infinite Campus.

Introducing...the Apple Classroom App

Apple recently released the second version of Classroom. The app affords teachers numerous opportunities to improve instructional practices while using iPad devices. Several middle school teachers piloted the use of Classroom their iPad devices in their classrooms. We are ready to release this great tool for use in all of our PK–8 classrooms. Classroom is available for teachers to download in Self Service on the iPad. Students do not need to download any apps to their iPad device for Classroom to function.

Check out Apple's website to learn more about the Classroom app.

What can teachers do with Classroom?

With the Classroom app, teachers can:
  • create their own classes and easily add nearby students.
  • share documents and links directly to student devices and have them open automatically on their iPad devices.
  • mute audio playing on a student device.
  • view the entire class of student iPad screens or focus on an individual's iPad screen to gather formative assessment data and guide learning.
  • launch apps, websites, or iBooks on all or individual student iPad devices.
  • project student work from their teacher iPad.
  • lock all or individual student iPad devices.
  • create small groups within Classroom app and add/remove students.

How do teachers get started with Classroom?

To get started with Classroom, teachers may download Classroom from Self Service. Follow the steps in this guide from Apple, and/or view the video below from 9to5Mac.

Getting Started with Classroom 2.0 (Apple PDF Directions)


It should be noted that students can choose to leave a class via the Settings app, and students may change settings that are preferred by the teacher on their iPad. For example, students can choose to Always, Ask, or Never allow a teacher device to lock apps and the device, or to use AirPlay or Screen View features. Students can also turn off Bluetooth or restart their iPad and be disconnected from your class. However, after a student has joined your class and attempts leave the class, their avatar turns grey on the teacher iPad device. This makes it easy for the teacher to address this behavior.

Please see any LTA for more information on getting started with Classroom.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dealing with Digital Distraction Episode 1: How Technology Amplifies Student Engagement, Accountability, and On-Task Behavior with Heather Chvojka

This is the first installment in Barrington 220's Dealing with Digital Distraction series. The series will highlight how Barrington 220 teachers and students continue to learn and use strategies to manage digital distraction.




Digital Distraction Strategies

Heather Chvojka is a math teacher at Barrington Middle School—Station Campus. Her math lessons focus on on-demand, individualized learning experiences that offer student choice. Like many middle school classes, this class includes students who sometimes veer off task and feel attraction to apps, games, and notifications that could easily cause distractions and affect engagement during the entire class period.

How does Heather deal with potential digital distractions? She highlights three key strategies for managing digital distraction:
  • Set device expectations in advance
  • Engage students by engaging with students
  • Create a learning environment of freedom and mutual trust




Classroom Highlights

During the final full week of school during the 2016–2017 school year, I visited Heather Chvojka's math class of Grade 8 students at BMS Station Campus during the final period of the day. This class was similar to other classes in late May—students entered the room with lots of energy and at a high volume.




Within minutes the students engaged in the lesson and remained engaged until the final bell signifying the end of the school day. This short video clip demonstrates that Heather's math class certainly didn't resemble the math classes I remember that were characterized by direct instruction; straight rows of seated students; and a methodical, algorithm-based, step-by-step delivery.




A couple of strategies stood out. After Heather explains the lesson objective and gives the options for how students can choose to demonstrate learning, students select where they wish to sit and with whom they will work independently. Students chose to work with friends, classmates of a similar achievement level, or independently.




Students work to solve problems using multiple modes of media including personal or wall-mounted whiteboards with dry erase markers, calculators, iPad devices, and paper/pencil.




IXL and Classroom help Heather's students students engaged, accountable, and on task. Using these two tools, she can monitor student progress and catch opportunities to provide just-in-time guidance for her students.



Heather uses proximity to guide students toward on-task behavior while simultaneously providing specific, timely feedback and instruction to other students using Apple Classroom.




With Apple Classroom teachers can see all student iPad devices in the classroom and zero in onto specific screens to monitor progress in real-time. When a student raised his hand for help, Heather used Apple Classroom to look at that student's iPad screen so she could respond with the exact instruction needed at that moment, based upon the work she saw on the screen.




Using the online math subscription service IXL, Heather can monitor the live progress of each student; she may also choose to connect the IXL Classroom Dashboard (the "teacher view") to the projector display. The IXL Classroom Dashboard is organized on the screen by Common Core math standards and by the number of questions each student has answered during the time period—all updated and displayed in real-time.


In general, Heather chooses to give students some choice and control, allows them to be engaged, and then supports them when they need on-demand feedback to continue learning.



I would like to convey a special "thank you" to Heather for taking the courageous leap to allow us a glimpse into her classroom, and for sharing her time and insights through her reflections.

The Apple Classroom app is free and built into the iOS 10 operating system installed on our iPad devices. Check out this post about Classroom. The tools described and shown within the IXL program are also available to teachers using other online subscription math programs.

Please see your LTA, Teacher Librarian, or Instructional Digital Age Learning (iDAL) coach for more information.

Monday, July 3, 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 Lynda.com this year (in place of Atomic Learning). Lynda.com provides users with video clips to help learn different technology tools, such as Schoology, iPad, Evernote, Keynote, and many more. You can access Lynda.com:
  1. Navigate to http://www.lynda.com 
  2. Teachers and students login using barrington220.org or bsd220.org email address and password
PK–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 K–1 or in literacy support classes. Read more about Barrington 220 digital texts here.

We are shifting away from Compass Learning and many other math software solutions for students in Grades PK–5 to Reflex Math and TenMarks. Read more about Barrington 220 math apps and services here.

The growth in use of KidBlog in Grade 3 spurred a decision to extend access to include students in Grades 3–5. Here's how you can access KidBlog after July 1, 2017:
  1. Navigate to https://kidblog.org 
  2. Click Login with Google and use your @barrington220.org email. Your email will automatically add your account to the Barrington 220 subscription.
  3. Students will log in and join a classroom using a code provided by the teacher.
You can see an updated list of our subscriptions here: bit.ly/220subscriptions.

Infinite Campus Seeks Teacher Input

In August Infinite Campus released significant improvements to Campus Instruction incorporating both responsive design and a simplified way ...