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Showing posts from April, 2017

Assistive Technology Resources Site

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Barrington 220 Assistive Technology Site Provides Resources for All Teachers
Kelly Key

Did you know you can take a picture of a worksheet with the iPad, have it read out loud, and then write, type, and highlight it? Are you familiar with all of the amazing accessibility features built into our iPad and MacBook Air devices? (i.e., clean up a website in Safari with a touch of a button, use your voice to write, read locked PDFs with the Snap & Read extension)?  Do you struggle with finding time to create core vocabulary materials for your students?

I have designed a Google Site full of resources to help you support your students that struggle with reading, writing, executive functioning, communication, and more. Visit the Assistive Technology website at bit.ly/220AT to explore these resources!

On the Assistive Technology site, check out all of  the topics on the left. Click on any of the titles or subtitles to find valuable resources. I update the site regularly and would love to add …

Tech Terms Defined Nontechnically

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“It’s like a fake ATM that prints out an error message when you try to use it, but in the meantime has taken your credit card details and PIN number.”

The Sideways Dictionary does not offer direct definitions of technology terms, but instead provides analogies, cultural references, or other non-techno-babble to explain terms to general audiences. The “fake ATM” example above is the Sideways Dictionary’s explanation for phishing, a nefarious tactic that has been on the rise lately in school districts, businesses, and the general public.

Another example is 2 factor authentication, a security protocol for users of systems such as your Apple ID that requires additional information beyond a username and password to access a service:

“It’s like meeting a blind date. You arrange the time and place (something you know) and agree to carry a red rose in order to recognize each other (something you possess)” (excerpted from Sideways Dictionary).

If the first analogy doesn’t connect with you or o…

To Update or Not to Update: Revisited

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One of the most often-asked questions I get from teachers and administrators 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 iPhones and other devices. Last year, I wrote a short article on the topic.

In addition to questions, I often see teacher devices with a tell-tale red numeral on the App Store icon (indicating that updates are available), or an operating system clearly stuck one, two, or more versions in the past.

In each situation, my advice would be the same: update your device. 

The author of a recent article on one of my favorite tech blogs, Michael Potuck of 9to5Mac, agrees with this notion. He states, “App and operating system updates typically provide bug fixes, security updates, and introduce new features. While it’s possible that installing an update may cause an issue, it’s also possible that not installing the update could cause problems.”

Potuck goes far beyond giv…

Congratulations to Department of Technology & Innovation Members!

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Please join the Department of Technology & Innovation in congratulating Joe Robinson and Charlie Parkinson!

Apple is pleased to welcome Joe Robinson, Barrington 220 Director of Instructional Technology, to the Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2017. The Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Program began in 1994, when Apple recognized K–12 and higher education pioneers who use a variety of Apple products to transform teaching and learning in powerful ways. Today it has grown into a worldwide community of over 2,500 visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. Learn more about this group of innovative educators at www.apple.com/education/apple-distinguished-educator.

Barrington 220 recognized Technology Support Technician Charlie Parkinson as a Communications Ambassador this week. Morgan Delack, Barrington 220 Director of Communications, said, “Charlie Parkinson focuses on customer service before anythin…

PARCC and MAP on iPad

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My name is Shawndra Shelton, I am the District Technology Assistant for Barrington 220. I work closely with Joe Robinson, and the Library/Technology Assistants (LTAs) to provide instructional technology support for teachers and students. I am responsible for onboarding, set-up, troubleshooting, and training for all subscriptions and apps utilized in the classroom.


The rollout of iPads in the elementary schools this year brought teaching and learning to a new level for teachers and students. With the world at their fingertips, students have the power to create, practice, teach each other, and learn together. Students and teachers alike are experimenting with new technology tools and enhancing their learning experiences. For many, integrating the iPad into everyday lessons has been a smooth and seamless process.

As always, testing plays a large role in the lives of elementary and middle school students and teachers. Testing season is upon us, and our technology support teams are gearing…

Upgraded Staff Laptops on the Way

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Part of sustaining our district’s One to World initiative includes regular updates to staff devices. Currently, our teacher laptops are all the same model, a MacBook Air 13-inch laptop, but the specific specifications vary depending upon the year they were purchased.

An opportunity recently arose that will allow our district to update all our MacBook Air teacher laptops, synchronize future teacher device acquisitions to a single cycle, and greatly offset the cost of a new purchase by selling our current teacher laptops to an asset company for a significant revenue.

Newly purchased MacBook Air laptops for teachers will again be the same model as our current laptops, MacBook Air 13-inch. However, the specifications of new laptops for teachers will include double the RAM (8GB) and new batteries that will allow longer use (5–7 hours on a full charge). Depending on the model you are using currently, other specifications will either remain the same or increase (new model specification: 13-i…