I think my inkjet printer is about ready to die… Between printing GP-7 permit applications (fodder for another post), and a 700 page photo-intensive portfolio, it’s gone above and beyond the monthly duty cycle.
Here is a photograph of the finished portfolio in a 5″ binder printed on 48lb double sided matte photo paper. It is really neat to look at and remember everything we did this year.
It’s that time of year again… Time to get the log and portfolio to the Altoona Area School District. One problem — the software isn’t quite ready!
However, I’ve been making daily progress on getting the “output” working. Here is how it is structured in this initial version:
- You can create a book, “Eli Daniel Garber 2010-2011 Portfolio” for example.
- Activities are added to the book, one activity per page.
- The activity summary and description, date and pictures come along.
- You can move the pictures around, crop, and choose the exact ones you want.
- Pages in the book can be sorted any way you want.
- Once the book is “ready”, you can output a print-quality PDF. This PDF could be printed or sent to a printer to turn into a hardback book.
So far, we have recorded about 500 activities this year covering nearly 200 days — and we are still catching up on things that didn’t get entered. One of the neat aspects of this project is to be able to really see what we’ve been up to all year.
Due to time constraints, I’m just focusing on getting good output. Bells and whistles (chapters, cover pages, extra documents, table of contents, etc…) will have to come later.
Also, I added extensive filtering to the activity list, to help make it faster and more manageable. Here are a couple of screen shots:
Today I got to a great milestone with the homeschool software I discussed here. It now has excellent image support.
For every activity, you can attach an unlimited number of images. They are stored in the database with all of the other data, so it’s easy to backup. Also, I am using ImageMagick to resize them into various preview sizes for quick speeds while working with them.
I used uploadify to power the image uploader and ImageMagick to resize them into preview sizes.
Here is a screen shot of the list page:
And a screen shot of the details page:
2010-2011 was the first year that we were required by PA law to report our schooling activities to the Altoona Area School district. (simply because our oldest turned 8)
Naturally, the topic of Log and portfolio came up needing solved.
Having been home educated as a child, I recall the massive effort it took to remain organized enough to be able to assemble a really good portfolio at the end of the year. Also, the log book needed to be throughly kept to provide record of education activities.
Here is a brief list of items that need improved:
- Portfolios typically are assembled at the end of the year, which requires a lot of effort.
- There is only one copy of a portfolio.
- They are a bit kludgy, having a mix of all sorts of media (photos, papers, art, etc…)
- They are not searchable
- They are not sortable
- They are not printable
- They are not email-able
- They are not backup-able
- They typically show only the “best” work, by virtue of what they are (depends on the assembler)
- They are separate from the log of the actual activities
Well, after a lot of here and there, I decided we needed a database. So my wife and I designed a database that would handle a number of aspects:
- Multiple Students
- Subjects as required by law
- Projects that are a part of schooling
- Activities and Events
- Scanned documents
- PDF files
The ultimate goal is to be able to send off for a printed book with the above content, and turn that into the school district.
I thought that a web interface would be appropriate. So here is where I am at after a couple days of tinkering around…
If anyone expresses interest in seeing more of this, post a comment.