Friday, November 27, 2015

Aspen Parent Portal and ParentLink App Presentation

Last year my district rolled out a new student information system that included an online portal for parent access along with smartphone app. The app was rolled out district wide first last spring while the portal was piloted in a few schools followed by a general rollout this year. Since then there’s been a bit of confusion among parents about how to use both. Because of that my principal asked me a few weeks ago to put together a presentation about both for a monthly PTA meeting. Linked below is what I came up with along with two PDFs that are linked within it. (One from the district and the other from Aspen itself.)

Aspen and ParentLink Presentation (PowerPoint)

ParentLink Mobile App Quick Reference Guide (PDF)

Aspen Parent Portal Guide

Thursday, November 26, 2015

IKEA Tech Finds

A few weekends ago the wife and I made the trek up to northern Virginia to the closest IKEA to pick up a few things for our house. I also grabbed two cheap tech related things that have proved very useful.

Above is how the underside of the desk in my home office has looked up until now, a tangled mess of cords. Thanks to this nifty little add on, the Signum cable management bracket, however it’s now completely cleaned up as seen below.

I also found this cheap little stand for all of two dollars. Normally on my desk my Mac is docked with an older 24” Apple Cinema Display running at 1920 x 1200. While this is usually enough screen space ocassionally I want to run dual display but I’ve always found it annoying to cope with the lower height of the laptop’s screen when it’s sitting flat on the desk. While the stand is designed for tablets it fits my 13” MacBook Pro perfectly and gives it just enough height to make it useful.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Resources from the Library of Virginia

I was first introduced to the Library of Virginia during my time as undergraduate at VCU. I did quite a bit of research there for papers in my upper level history courses and also spent time looking up ancestors it in old census records. The semester I graduated I spent time in their special collections room doing research from an original 1862 Confederate field manual for a paper I was writing on Civil War field fortifications. I’ve also become a big fan of their Out of the Box blog that is a must read for anyone interested in Virginia history.

In previous social studies sessions I’ve done at staff development I’ve mentioned some of the resources they have. But I always felt like I was only scratching the surface of what they had to offer and wasn’t doing as great a job as I could be explaining it. At the end of September myself and another ITRT met with the education staff at the LoV to plan out sessions for the upcoming district wide Election Day professional development.

The presentation below is what came from that. The LoV staff, Adrienne Robertson and Catherine Wyatt, that put the slideshow together and did the presentation (with myself and the other ITRT assisting) did a fantastic job and the sessions were very well received. We had a mixture of history and English teachers along with a few from other disciplines as well. With the focus on research resources I think most everyone that attended came away with something they could use.

PowerPoint Presentation

Along with the presentation are three other things of note that were used during the sessions.

Document Bank of Virginia Flyer - information about the Library of Virginia’s Document Bank.

Governor J. Lindsay Almond School Integration Speech Transcript - the actual recording was played during the sessions.

Sound Recording Analysis Worksheet - used to analyze the aforementioned speech.