iPad Family Engagement Events

In preparation for the upcoming school year, iPad Family Engagement Events have been planned for Northfield Middle School and Northfield High School during the week of August 18, 2014. Parents and students should attend together to learn about using their iPad for learning in addition to insuring, setting up, and picking up iPads for the coming year.

Additionally, the schools will provide parents with information and instructions for accessing their students’ courses and activities through Schoology, our online learning management system. This resource provides access to course calendars, documents, assignments, and announcements, as well as other tools for teachers, students, and parents.

Dates for the iPad Family Engagement Events are:

Northfield Middle School:
Monday, August 18th, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Wednesday, August 20th, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Northfield High School (dates coincide with student pictures and schedule pickup):
Tuesday, August 19th, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Thursday, August 21st, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

We anticipate a smooth process for families to set up and receive their students’ iPads. In order to facilitate this, please have your Apple ID and password ready when you arrive. Students who already have a personal Apple ID should continue to use that one. Students who do not already have an Apple ID will need to create one. Parents of students under the age of 13 will need to create an Apple ID with their students. Information regarding this process will be sent via email in the near future. For general information regarding Apple IDs, please visit https://appleid.apple.com. If you have forgotten your Apple ID and/or password, please visit https://iforgot.apple.com.

Insurance rates are $25 (reduced rates available for free and reduced lunch families). You may pay for insurance at the Family Engagement Event or pre-pay by visiting https://eps.mvpbanking.com/cgi-bin/efs/login.pl?access=55621. Insurance covers repair or replacement for non-intentional damage or loss of an iPad.

As always, our goal is to support all students families in achieving educational excellence. Please feel free to contact Kimberly Briske, Director of Technology Services, if you have questions pertaining to Transformational Technology or the use of iPads in general. You may call 507-664-3399 or email kimberly.briske@nfld.k12.mn.us.

Welcome Kim Briske!

The Northfield Public Schools welcome Kim Briske to the District as Director of Technology Services. Kim began her new position, focused on technology and its ability to personalize teaching and learning, on July 1st.


A resident of Northfield, Kim comes to us from the Farmington Public Schools where she was a Digital Learning Specialist. She was instrumental in leading that district’s customized learning plan that provided individual iPad tablet computers for all students in grades Kindergarten through 12th Grade.  Prior to her role as a Digital Learning Specialist, she taught Spanish for eight years at Farmington High School.

Kim will be leading the District’s next steps in the Transformational Technology initiative. She can be contacted by email at kimberly.briske@nfld.k12.mn.us or by phone at (507) 664-3399.

Welcome, Kim!

TransTech Initiative: Year 1 data via NHS stats class

The Northfield High School statistics class, under the direction of mathematics teacher Ray Coudret, conducted a study of the 6th-12th grade 1:1 iPad component of the Transformational Technology initiative.

The information in this presentation was compiled by the 55 Junior and Senior students in Probability and Statistics classes at Northfield High School.  The survey questions were generated by the students to measure perceived benefits, and challenges of the initiative, as well as the District goal of “substitution” as described in the SAMR model of technology adoption. The presentation is comprised of the best work available from a series of small group presentations.

You can view a larger version of the slides used in the presentation by clicking here.

iPad Collection Information 2014

Students will be turning in their school iPads this week (June 2nd).

It will be helpful if all students update their iPads to iOS 7.1.1 prior to submission.

Northfield Middle School

Students at Northfield Middle School will turn in their iPad and their iPad charger during the times listed below:

  • Grade 6: Monday, June 2nd
  • Grade 7: Tuesday, June 3rd
  • Grade 8: Wednesday, June 4th

Students will get the same device and charger back in the Fall. The distribution for Fall is being finalized and will be announced in June.

Northfield High School

Students will hand in their iPad at the end of their 7th period final examination on Friday, June 6th. Students who do not have a 7th period final exam will turn their iPads in at the end of the 6th hour final exam on Thursday, June 5th. In the unusual circumstance that a student does not have a final examination during either 6th or 7th period, he or she can contact the High School office for further instruction.
Students in 9th-11th Grade will turn in their iPad (and case) only. 9th-11th grade students will need to store their charger and charging cord at home for Fall use.
As part of the collection process, students will need to remove their passcodes, Apple ID (if they’ve used one), and erase the device. This will all be taken care of in the classroom as part of the collection process.
 2014-15 iPad distribution schedules for the 2014-15 school year will be released in mid-June.
Please contact Director of Administrative Services Matt Hillmann at (507) 645-3458 or by email at matt.hillmann@nfld.k12.mn.us with questions about iPad collection.

Transformational Technology Update Meetings

The Northfield Public Schools invite the public to share feedback regarding the first semester of the Transformational Technology initiative during two public meetings in January. The Transformational Technology project has provided iPad tablet computers for all students in Grades 6-12 and ‘pods’ of 4-6 iPad Mini tablet computers in elementary classrooms.

The meetings will be held:

  • Thursday, January 16th | 7 pm – 8:30 pm | Northfield Middle School Media Center
  • Tuesday, January 21st | 7 pm – 8:30 pm | Northfield Middle School Media Center

The meetings will include a short presentation about the successes, challenges, and opportunities the District has encountered so far with the initiative. Participants will engage in small and large group discussions regarding the initiative as well.

In addition, a survey will be sent to families in late January as another opportunity to share feedback about the Transformational Technology initiative. Please feel free to contact Director of Administrative Services Matt Hillmann (507.645.3458 or matt.hillmann@nfld.k12.mn.us) with any questions about the meetings or the Transformational Technology Initiative.

iOS 7 – update away!

We had asked that students hold off on updating their school iPads to iOS 7. At this point, students can feel free to update their iPads to Apple’s latest operating system.

Students do not have to update their iPads if they do not want to do so. We just want you to know it is acceptable to do so at this point.

You can download a PDF ‘cheat sheet’ to help you with the update process, We recommend you review the document before updating as it contains good information about what to expect for the update. Thanks to Middle School Workstation Specialist Sandy Fjelde for creating the document. Again, you do not need to complete the update at this point. We recommend you make sure you have your Notability files backed up using Google Drive and/or iCloud before completing any updates.

Some students iPads may have already downloaded a copy but did not install it. If you receive a ‘verification’ error, turn the iPad off and on in order to download the latest version of iOS 7 (7.02).

As always, please feel free to contact Director of Administrative Services Matt Hillmann at  matt.hillmann@nfld.k12.mn.us or (507) 645-3458 with any questions about the Transformational Technology initiative.

Mayor’s Youth Council ‘Wi Fi Bookmark’, Mindfulness Campaign

The Northfield Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) has compiled a list of locations in Northfield where students can access free WiFi. You can access the ‘bookmark’ here.myc-logo-011

I had a chance to speak with members of the MYC in August. This is an outstanding group of young people dedicated to serving their peers and supporting them in any number of ways. Their excitement about the Transformational Technology initiative has been channeled into ensuring responsible and balanced use of technology by teens. Take a moment to read the very thoughtful op-ed piece in the Northfield News by Scout Gregerson and see what I mean!

Way to go MYC!


iOS 7 update — hold off for now!

Apple will make the latest operating system for iPads (iOS 7) available for download sometime later tonight or tomorrow (the scheduled release date is September 18.) At this time, the District requests that students do not update their school issued iPads yet. Just tap ‘Close’ if you are prompted to update. images

While Middle School students cannot update or install their own apps, it is probable they still might be prompted by the iPad’s software update feature to upgrade. We don’t want students and parents to be confused by this message.

It looks like iOS 7 has some great tools that we will want to begin using — but we want to ensure that all apps students use on a daily basis are updated and working properly before we move to iOS 7.

We’ll provide instructions for updating at an appropriate time in the near future. As always, if you have questions about the Transformational Technology initiative, please contact Director of Administrative Services Matt Hillmann at matt.hillmann@nfld.k12.mn.us or (507) 645-3458.

Two weeks in…

We have completed two weeks of our Transformational Technology initiative with 6th-12th grade students having their own iPads for use every day at school…and we’re still upright!

I have described this process as clearing a series of hurdles — as soon as one is cleared, there is another that shows up pretty quickly. So far, we have been able to clear almost every hurdle that has been placed in front of us.

Our hurdles have included issues that have required tweaks to our wireless networks. The good photonews here is that the Xirrus system we have in place has tremendous flexibility and that has enabled our network manager to make necessary adjustments to improve service in some areas at the High School. We still have some additional improvements to make, but our overall infrastructure plan is working well.

We struggled downloading three of the digital textbooks we are using — the common theme here was the fact that these books were behemoths — two of them over 2 GB! We learned a lot in this process and I believe as of last Friday, all students had their textbooks downloaded. We have several other digital books that were a breeze to implement immediately — these books tended to be broken down for download by chapter, making it much more manageable for students to download quickly.

Our final most common issue was a normal one for the beginning of the school year — helping students with logins and passwords. We assisted many students with this right away during the first days and most have it down now. It was a great opportunity to show students that simple things – like transposing letters in your user name – can prevent you from accessing your accounts!

However, here is the good news with these problems – they provide an opportunity for us to see students problem solving skills in action. One teacher shared with me that she couldn’t believe how adaptive students were to glitches they encountered. Students often collaborated on an issue and solved it together — often before adults had even noticed it. As predicted, kids are being resourceful and solving many of their own issues as they arise.

Students are interacting with digital material – downloading assignments, annotating them, and submitting them to their teachers digitally through Schoology. They are taking notes using Notability. They are using the web to research topics right in class — without having to travel to computers labs (when they were available!) Some teachers are experimenting with online quizzing and testing in order to retrieve assessment data quickly. We have many staff have made a sprint for the ‘redefinition’ level of the SAMR model right away. While I am sure these staff probably feel they take a few steps forward and a step back, they are making great progress. We are modeling for students that it is acceptable to take risk, to encounter challenges, and to continue to push forward. I have been so proud of how so many teachers have moved forward with such gusto.

We are making good progress both in the implementation of the devices and their academic use. Our students and teachers are transitioning well. That doesn’t mean we haven’t had problems or issues (as noted above) but we are moving forward on a daily basis.

As always, if you have questions about the Transformational Technology initiative, please contact Director of Administrative Services Matt Hillmann at matt.hillmann@nfld.k12.mn.us or (507) 645-3458.


What apps has the District distributed?

Using our Mobile Device Management (MDM) system, we have been able to send several apps to students iPads over the past couple of weeks. Below are the apps we’ve sent to Northfield High School students to this point:

  • Destiny Questapps - HS
  • Follett Digital Reader
  • Google Drive
  • Haiku Deck
  • iBooks
  • iMovie
  • Notability
  • Overdrive
  • Pearson eText
  • Scan – QR Code Reader
  • Schoology
  • ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard

Our Middle School students have access to:

  • Google Drivemiddleschool
  • iBooks
  • Learn French
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Notability
  • Overdrive
  • Quizlet
  • Skyward Mobile App
  • Schoology
  • Scan – QR Code Reader
  • Science Friday
  • Student Clicker (Socrative)

At this point, we’ve only purchased two apps: Notability and iMovie. We have purchased iMovie for Middle School students as well. However, we had some difficulty ‘pushing’ this app to Middle School students due to its large size. In fact, some of you may see an iMovie app icon on your Middle School iPad that didn’t complete the installation process. We’re working with our vendor to develop a resolution to this problem.

We anticipate adding many additional apps as the school year begins.

Remember, tap ‘Install’ when you see a prompt from our servers, signified by ‘lsmdm.com’ similar to the screen shot below.


Northfield High School students will need to enter their Apple ID user name and password after tapping ‘Install.’ Northfield Middle School students do not have to enter a password since they are restricted from downloading their own apps.

If you click ‘Cancel’, do not worry! The MDM will check every so often to see if you have the apps provided by the District and prompt you again.

If you have questions about apps, installing them, or other TransTech related items, please feel free to contact Director of Administrative Services Matt Hillmann at (507) 645-3458 or matt.hillmann@nfld.k12.mn.us.