technology related posts.


Middle School South Students Receive Chromebooks

The technology department, the maintenance crew, and several staff worked together to provide each Middle School South student with a Google Chromebook on August 30. Each grade moved through the process in less than 10 minutes. The students are extremely excited to have their devices and begin using them for Personalized Learning.


Students Excited to Receive Chromebooks

Middle School North students were excited to receive their Google Chromebooks this morning. Middle School South students will also receive them this week. Students are able to take them home every night and use them as tools to extend learning and collaboration.

PowerSchool Student Portal

In preparation for the Personalized Learning Initiative, students will now use their Google usernames and passwords to access their PowerSchool Student Portal accounts.  Students should not include “” in their usernames. 
Students who access the portal via mobile app will need to log out of the app and then back in again using their Google credentials.

Personalized Learning

When learning is personalized for students, they become the leaders of their own learning and work at a pace that’s right for each of them. Hawthorn teachers have been working on the Guaranteed Viable Curriculum (GVC) for the last three years, which identifies our desired results for all students. Personalized learning experiences allow students to approach the GVC in a way that will make them successful. To enhance their learning experiences, Hawthorn middle school students will be issued a Chromebook next year. This tool will expand opportunities for personalized learning both within and outside of the classroom to meet their individual needs and inspire a love for learning.

Please click here to read more about the direction in which Hawthorn is heading.

Personalized Learning 1:1 at the Middle Schools

On November 28 the Board of Education approved a Personalized Learning 1:1 program initiative at the middle school level. All students in grades 6 through 8 will receive a 2900 series Dell Chromebook II at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. The Personalized Learning Technology Fee for Grades 6 through 8 will be $75. Thank you to the School Board for their ongoing commitment to providing the students of Hawthorn 73 with the highest quality education possible.

Board Considers 1:1 Environment

About seven out of over 35 Lake County school districts do not offer their students their own personalized electronic devices. Hawthorn District 73 is among the few in Lake County that fall into that number, but the Board of Education is considering moving to a 1:1 program within the district.

At a recent meeting, the Board of Education received a presentation from Superintendent Nick Brown on personalized learning in a 1:1 environment. Hawthorn 73 has been investing in upgrading the technology infrastructure in the district as well as purchasing new devices for students and teachers. This has all been to support the appropriate integration of technology into the learning experiences of students.

After a careful study of the need to offer students their own devices, the Hawthorn Technology Planning Committee believes going 1:1 will only enhance personalized learning districtwide. The presentation provided to the Board of Education shared the “Why” a 1:1 program enhances the learning experiences for students.

The Board of Education listened to a presentation titled “Personalized Learning:  Why we should consider a 1:1 program?” and after Board consensus, the Technology Committee was instructed to delve into the “How” to accomplish a 1:1 program at the middle school level.

The committee will work to answer many questions on how to accomplish such a task.

Because there are many surrounding districts that have already moved to a 1:1 environment, the committee believes it can learn how other districts worked through many of the same questions Hawthorn District 73 has about the potential project.

“Research shows technology helps improve student engagement through personalized learning. These devices will only serve to prepare our students for the world in which they live,” said Superintendent Brown.

Mr. Brown also pointed out that 1:1 devices compliment the district’s recently adopted strategic plan, which states the district will provide motivating and engaging learning opportunities that inspire joyful learners. The strategic plan also states that the district believes in students becoming self-directed, responsible learners. Personalized devices will support the efforts for students’ to develop these needed attributes.




Students Move to Increase Heart Rate

Hawthorn Middle School South students head into the locker rooms with what appears like a skip in their step. They quickly change into gym uniforms, which also include a Polar H7 heart rate monitor.

In the gym PE teachers Chris Crandall and Brian Rude have the students’ names projected on a giant screen and on their iPads.  The heart rates of all students are tracked using the Polar GoFit app.

The monitors are being introduced this year to Middle School South seventh and eighth graders. Whatever they are doing in physical education class – basketball, fitness testing, cardiovascular equipment, soccer – students wear the monitors and track their physical activity. Typically students are expected to be between 140 to 200 beats per minute for 20 minutes during their physical education period.  This technology allows physical education teachers to take the guesswork out of deciding which students are truly physically active in class.  Grading is more “objective”.  It also allow teachers to differentiate instruction.  Students are all at different levels of fitness.  The Polar technology allow students to work at their own activity levels.

During Health classes, part of the curriculum allows students to track their food, calories, nutrients, and physical activity through  They analyze and create a plan to improve their findings.

“We purchased the monitors because we wanted to motivate the students to improve their workouts and subsequently heighten their heart rates,” said Mr. Crandall. He said the decision came out of the national movement of the high rate of childhood obesity and heart disease being the number one killer, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The result?

“Students are motivated to increase their heart rate and keep it elevated for longer periods of their gym class,” said Mr. Rude.

The teachers have found the heart rate monitor a huge motivational tool for students. On the sidelines of a team game students can be seen doing jumping jacks or push-ups, they said.

In the Middle School South classrooms, teachers are noticing the benefits as well, said Principal Robert Natale. “Raising their heart rates gets that flow of oxygen going through students’ systems. They are in a better state of mind for learning and taking on rigorous academic instruction,” Mr. Natale said.

Teachers reported that students and parents can monitor daily workouts through personal accounts on the Polar GoFit website. According to the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 website, children should get 60 minutes of exercise a day.

What students have to say

“The monitors make me push myself harder,” said Damian Herrera, 12, “At home now I go outside and play soccer with friends as a way to keep my heart rate up longer.”

Jordan Krasner and Aiden Isaacson, both 12, participate regularly in sports outside of school. But seeing how high they can elevate their heart rates has made them tougher competitors on the basketball court.

“I was dumbfounded that I could get my heart rate so high. In basketball I feel like I can move faster and I don’t tire as quickly on the court,” Jordan said.

The goal is for Middle School South to offer Polar Heart Rate technology to all the physical education classes next year. Hawthorn School District 73 will consider expanding the program to Middle School North at a later date.




Multi Media Brings Classrooms to Life

Hawthorn eighth graders have been reading a book about the Auschwitz concentration camp. Teacher John Reid uses his iPad to flash onto Google Earth to view the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. He hands off the iPad to a student who can then highlight key passages in a book they are reading. After a brief geographical tour, Mr. Reid switches to an Apple TV documentary that the teacher airs from a supply of PBS documentaries on his iPad. This is the way of fast paced classrooms in Hawthorn School District 73. Like movies today, teachers must capture students’ attention with a quick paced classroom lesson using many multi-media tools.

The District 73 Board of Education invested this year in three key technology resources for every classroom. These tools allow teachers to engage students in learning by using interactive math and writing applications, three dimensional tours on Internet sites like Google Earth and access to Smithsonian and PBS documentaries that bring their lessons to life. These tools are an iPad, Apple TV and a projector.

“These technology resources are timely and relevant for students,” said Lisa Leali, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Dr. Leali sees so many educational uses for the iPads and Apple TVs. “Teachers can move around the room to ensure they capture students’ attention. They can use the devices to project students’ work onto a screen. To engage students in the back of the room, teachers can allow students to use the devices to answer math problems or correct grammar in sentences,” she said.

“These technology tools keep kids focused and alert. I switch back and forth with different apps instantly showing them where Auschwitz is on Google Earth. Then, we zoom into the book they are reading and then switch to a video clip of life in a concentration camp. This type of teaching allows me to reach many students who many have different learning styles from auditory or visual,” Mr. Reid said of his Middle School North students.

Added Townline teacher Kaitlyn Brennan, “The students are more engaged because they enjoy being on the iPads and visually seeing what they are learning. The students enjoy the creative ways that they can learn from having the Apple TV in their room.” She added that she believes it helps students retain information because they see concepts visually.