Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obtuse and Clever student videos

OC3AtomLearn.flv_.thumbnailFor two years the technology department with the assistance of student actors produced  videos for the students and faculty of District 219.  Informing them of new technology initiatives services and resources. Loosely based on the Mac/PC advertisements, they were a big hit among students and faculty.  The library of videos is here.

Bringing you the latest news and events

channel16_0District 219 operates a public access cable channel for some local cable subscribers.  The line up regularly showcases student productions and projects as well as event schedules and important school information such as office hours, calendars and emergency contact information.  Please follow this link for the latest programming schedule.

Internet Safety

District 219 is addressing internet safety challenges and raising awareness by offering parent workshops and student/parent resources. As part of new State legislation, all District 219 students will have an internet safety curriculum delivered to them during Homeroom activities.  To find these resource and read the curriculum, follow this link to D219 Internet Safety

Going Green with the Help of the Web

Attendance and Grade Reporting - The teacher Gradebook is 100% online which streamlines grade reporting, athletic eligibility tracking, progress report delivery, reduces technical issues, and allows remote access for teachers. Student attendance throughout the buildings and resource areas is recorded through a swipe card system and stored directly into the grade book. With online Gradebook, grades and attendance information is available in real-time to students and their parents.

ILP - Through the online Individual Learning Plan (ILP) students can set and maintain goals - academic, extracurricular and personal - and review standardized test scores and academic history. The ILP user interface is customized to the student, parent, teacher or counselor level. RtI (Response to Intervention) and common assessment modules are in development within the framework of the ILP.

Fee Payments and Registration – District 219’s parents can pay their student’s fees through an online interface which connects to the student’s record. For summer school parents are encouraged to use the online system to register their students for summer school classes and camps. This system tracks student fines and generates notices to the students and parents. If fines aren’t paid, such as library fines, the student’s grades will not be released. This online system makes it convenient for students and parents to stay on top of payments

Webpages - All teachers are required to maintain a webpage with course information, classroom policies and procedures. The District has provided SharePoint-based templates which populates instructor schedules from the scheduling database.

Web-based Textbook and Library Management – Moving to 100% online textbook management enables the District to, one day in the near future, move towards paperless classrooms. District 219 employs a textbook management system which provides electronic versions, if available, of the textbooks we purchase for our students. The libraries (IRCs) are benefitting from a similar system which extends its resources beyond the building walls.

Personnel Management - Every employee is provided access to an online portal to manage their attendance, benefits and other professional and personal information. Teachers and staff have access to commonly used forms, Institute Day program registration and can also reserve and order curricular materials. Teachers and Administrators can access class lists and standardized test scores through their Portal as well.

Web-based District Wide Shared Calendars – Parents will benefit greatly from the addition of a dynamic online calendar. This calendar system allows the end user to tailor the calendar to fit their needs by filtering events. Users can also subscribe to the calendar and get automatic updates through RSS feeds and emails. An especially useful feature for registered users is the door-to-door directions to events.

10 Years ago, the i-net was born


During the 2000-2001 school year, the Village of Skokie acquired a brand new high-speed fiber-optic-cable network running underground throughout the village. This was the “I-Net” (short for Institutional Network). For more information regarding this 10 year partnership follow this link for the Skokie I-Net

Friday, December 17, 2010

Google Apps and Resources Linked to D219 Account

2010-12-17_0934 If you look under the "more" link at the top of your Google page and "even more>>" under that you will find a large number of Google applications that you and students can use to enrich your internet and web 20 experience.  The advantage of using these tools is that they are linked to your d219 Google account and your login and password information are transparent.
We have opted "not to enable" some of these products, do to the nature of the product and/or their inconsistency with the educational mission of the District.   These products are;

  • Orkut - a social networking application similar to Facebook.
  • Igoogle - a personal dashboard that host a variety of widgets and gadgets.  Note: We are investigating an alternative that will provide the same experience, but deliver content consistent with District policies
  • Desktop - is a host for Google gadgets.  They were not enabled for the same reason that IGoogle and that they are applications that are installed on the local machine. 

As new applications are added by Google, they will automatically appear in the list, but they may not be linked to your D219 account.  Each new app will be evaluated before it linked to your D219 account.

All of these applications have a substantial amount of on-line help and training provided by Google.  There are also a good number of them that are in included in our AtomicLearning subscription.   If there are specific things that you need help with to employ the use of some of these apps in your classes, the PDC are there to help. 

Enjoy the new resources.

Breaking News: Bye Bye Delicious

CaptureYahoo has announced its plans to shut down the Social Bookmarking site delicious.  Follow this link for suggestions on how to prepare to transfer your Delicious content to another Social Bookmarking service. Currently, no shut down date has been announced.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tech 1, Test-out Option

This option is intended for teachers who are unable to take the “Tech 1 Face-to-Face” or the “Tech 1 Hybrid” courses.  By “testing out,” teachers can demonstrate proficiency in the material covered in Tech 1 that many faculty and students use. These teachers will not receive a permanent netbook unless they enroll and complete the Tech 2 course.

Teachers who wish to “test-out” must submit the following materials to Phil Lacey, Director of Instructional Technology Services, for review.  Make arrangements with Dr. Lacey to share your portfolio.

Please submit a minimum of 3 lesson plans.  Your 3 lessons must use: 
  • Google Apps (any of the following: mail, docs, calendar, sites, etc.)
  • Moodle
AND three of the following:
  • Social Bookmarking: Develop a collection of on-line resources using a social bookmarking tool and tagging techniques.
  • Digital Citizenship: Discuss the benefits and dangers of on-line social networking in an education environment
  • Wikis: Develop a wiki for classroom use (share a link)
  • Blogs: Demonstrate the use and resources that you gather using a RSS aggregator.
  • Podcasting: Develop an engaging podcast of a classroom lecture.
  • Digital storytelling: Develop and engaging video for classroom use.
  • FOSS: (Free and Open Source Software): Produce and exhibit an article which was created with an open-source tool
The lessons or materials should align to the International Society for Technology in Education’s NETS standards (

Teachers are encouraged to go to the PDC and/or get help from Tech 1 trained colleagues to modify their lessons before submission, if needed.

New Google Apps Are Here


Checkout the new additions including Reader (an RSS feed aggregator), Blogger (a Blog authoring app), Picasa Web Albums (Find, edit and share your photos) and a host of others.

You will find these under MORE in your Google Apps toolbar, easily accessed from Mail, Documents and Calendar. Take some time over the holidays to explore these new additions.  

Administering Common Assessments with PCA

pinnacleCurriculum As the Freshman curriculum re-write gives way to the Sophomore re-write, the Freshman Common Assessments will be processed through a new program called Pinnacle Curriculum and Assessment (PCA). This brief video introduction to PCA will provide an overview of the new program and the process for administering common assessments.  A written detailed guide will be available to teachers administering common assessments with PCA.

Moodle Down Time

We wanted to reiterate what was in the last Technology newsletter about the Moodle upgrade that will occur over winter break. 
We will be upgrading Moodle to a newer version as well as giving it a fresh new look.  While we will be upgrading the Moodle system, it will be OFFLINE starting the end of the school day on Friday Dec 17th - Thursday Dec 23rd. 

Please do not schedule any assignments for your students to be completed within Moodle during those specific dates.  Moodle will be available again at the end of the day on Thursday Dec 23rd.

AAL Plan’s Progress Update

aal logo On Monday, December 13, 2010 the Board of Education was presented with a report, updating progress on the AAL program. The report confirms that District 219 is trailblazing in this area. Implementation has been moving along smoothly, with little modification and exceeded expectation in almost every facet of the plan.

Read the report

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nice Mini Conference

SAVE THE DATE:  Saturday, January 29, 2011  8:00 am - 1:00pm
WHAT:  NICE Mini-Conference (chance to learn more about using technology tools in the teaching and learning process, stay current, be savvy!)
WHERE:  Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL
HOW MUCH:  $5 (a GREAT deal for PD at a low cost!)
WHAT ELSE:  Spread the word...pass it on...COME!!  It's not just for members only.
Oh yeah...and if you come, you may have a chance to WIN fabulous RAFFLE prizes

Happy Holidays from Atomic Learning

Dear Educator,
In recognition of all your efforts this past year to move education forward, Atomic Learning would like to offer a heartfelt thank you.
In the spirit of the holiday season, we're showing our appreciation by offering a complimentary Holiday Connections eBook. The eBook is a creative guide to keeping in touch this holiday season, and is our gift to you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NETS: Explained

iste_bmp In response to the exciting instructional technology trends within District 219 and in the larger educational community, we’ve taken a look at the NETS Standards for Educators in effort to enhance, fortify and broaden our own classroom instruction. As English teachers, we are continuously on the lookout for innovative ways to engage students with literature, writing and the language arts. So in effort to better understand some of the different dimensions of technology integration, we interpreted the NETS Standards into manageable, teacher-friendly language below. In doing so, we realized how, broadly interpreted, these pillars can be applied to virtually any curriculum.
1. Creativity & Innovation
This a place where students can take existing knowledge and demonstrate it in new and creative ways.  Students can use video, audio, games--anything really to convey their learning in a way that is unique and reflects them.
2. Communication and Collaboration
Students can use various methods and tools to work together when they’re outside of the classroom.  Not only does this promote digital literacy, but it also provides you with increased contact time, as students can do their research and collaboration outside of class. 
3. Research and Information Fluency
Students now have the ability to carry a library around with them in their backpacks.  Students can research, analyze, and synthesize on their own terms using tools that work for them. 
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
Demonstrating a thorough understanding of the WEB 2.0 paradigm, students routinely develop innovative solutions to problems inside and outside of the classroom, decipher between and among tools and make informed decisions as to how to approach an assignment, project or task.
5. Digital Citizenship
With the influx and pervasive ubiquity of digital expression, cyber-dialogues and virtual networking, both social and professional, students are exposed to digital best practices and can articulate, in their own words, the fundamentals of the Appropriate Use Policy with regard to cyber-bullying, preservation of intellectual property and online etiquette.
6. Technology Operation and Concepts
Students recognize their mobile computing device(s) as another tool in their toolbox to build a 21st century skill set. Moreover, students comprehend and put into practice the quintessential underpinning of WEB 2.0 culture and workflow - accessing, drawing from and contributing to the “cloud” anytime and from anywhere.
Posted by, Ivan Silverberg and Dan Quinlan