Thursday, June 15, 2017

A good year for Aspen

What an exciting year for EWG and our Aspen users!  Quite a few changes have happened in a short time.   
Here’s just a few...
  • Metcalf went from Traditional grading to Standards Based grading for grades 3-6 
  • The new report card we designed is awesome and has been used as an example by Aspen for other districts that are trying to build new reports cards and join us in successfully implementing Standards Based reporting
  • The new elementary grading system and extended comment sections for each subject really help to track exactly how your children are doing and where they are going 
  • We also activated the Aspen Parent Portal for Metcalf and now publish report cards to the portal.    Once published, contacts can download the report, save it or print it at home.  This is a nice and easy way to save the district some money
  • Both Junior and Senior High Schools have an updated report card to include Performance Level Descriptors, Content Knowledge and Skills, and Learner Qualities in addition to the traditional grade.  Again, supplying parents and students with more information
  • These updated Jr and Sr report cards are now being published to both the Parent and Student Portals
  • Special Education Progress Reports are also being published to the Parent Portal for grades 3 – 12 

WOW!!!  We’ve been busy!   Have a fun and safe summer!

Friday, June 9, 2017

EWG Looking Into the Horizon

Throughout  the year here at EWG our school has had the great opportunity to take advantage of a very powerful software technology suite called VMware Horizon. VMware Horizon is a suite of products and technologies designed to help IT Administrators deliver desktops and applications. This helps the school district to allow students, teachers, and administrators access to programs or other resources that they may not have had access to before.

The great part about this software is it removes the requirements for a specific type of machine. That means you will no longer need a Windows based desktop to use programs like Google SketchUp. This also helps teachers to use special education programs without having to worry about remembering server credentials. The program is designed to load everything in a browser or through a client you download called VMware Horizon Client.

 Another great feature that we are able to take advantage of is the ability to provide out a full virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) for applications that require a high-end graphics card.  We currently have a class running here at EWG (Solidworks) that takes advantage of this solution.

Solidworks is very graphic intensive and requires a high end computer with serious power. VMware Horizon allows the students to connect to the server hosting these virutualized desktops and the server does all the rendering/ thinking with very powerful processors, lots of RAM, and specialized graphics cards made for VDI. The students can use their Chromebooks to connect to this in a web browser or the VMware Horizon client can be used which is available for PC, Mac, iPad, Android, and other devices. This lets them do their work wherever they are, not just in the computer lab!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Instructional Technology Working Group Meeting

I met with the Instructional Technology Working Group today at OSHEAN in North Kingstown. There were Instructional Technology leaders from all around the state. We had some interesting discussion around how faculty were handling flipped classroom learning and curriculum development, utilizing LMS systems, creating engaging content, and enabling teachers to utilize technology to create better content.

We also had a video conference with Patrick Crispen, EdD who is the Director of Educational Technology for the University of Southern California's (USC) Keck School of Medicine.

He gave us a demo of their Light Board technology. It's pretty cool technology, especially for faculty that are more comfortable with the idea of standing in front of a whiteboard to give a lesson. This technology flips things around so the learner is behind the whiteboard. Much more engaging than looking at video of the teacher's back while they write on the board. Professor Crispen has a really cool demo video of the technology on their website.