Since I first posted about my Epiphanie Bags London bag, to when I posted what later became the second most popular post to my blog ever about my Michael Kors Jet Set Travel tote (seriously it drives a lot of traffic to my blog which is kind of funny to me because I am so not a fashion blogger!), I’ve tried to share when I find a laptop bag that I love for both style and functional reasons. I realized I never actually did a post on why I love my Alesya Bag so much and why, after trying other laptop bags, it’s still my favorite. So today is the day!
I’m still taking bathroom selfies at work. What can I say? It has the best lighting on campus!
10 Reasons why I love my Alesya Bag Laptop Handbag
- It actually looks like a pretty handbag. A lot of companies claim to have laptop handbags/purses, etc…, but few actually look like a handbag. I often have compliments on this as a handbag and then when women realize that it holds a laptop too, they are so impressed! I’ve had a couple of men ask about it and write down where to find it as well for their significant others as well.
- It’s comfortable over the shoulder. This is true even when full. It doesn’t fall off my arm or feel awkward.
- It’s competitively priced. At the mid $200s price point, it’s comparably priced to nice splurge handbags yet is also a very high quality handbag and a laptop bag. I didn’t feel like I was splurging for “just a laptop bag”. I felt like I was purchasing a nice laptop bag that was also a handbag that I’d enjoy carrying without my laptop.
- It fits up to a 15″ laptop, comfortably. These days I’m mostly toting my Surface Pro 3. It fits fine even in the case within the bag. I could carry it without the case, as there is a nice padded pocket inside, but I like to take my Surface to classrooms and offices and don’t always carry a bag, so I keep the sleeve with me as well. I’ve comfortably carried two other computers as well, both 15-inch Macs. And isn’t the bright purple liner pretty?
- The shallow top pocket. It has this great pocket along the top that only goes a little bit into the bag. When I first saw this, I was a bit skeptical and had no idea what I’d do with it but I was quickly one over. This is awesome for things I want to grab quickly. No more digging through bottomless bucket-style bags hunting for keys and pens.
- It also fits a binder. I love binders, so enough said.
- There aren’t too many pockets. Have you seen laptop bags that seem to have a zillion pockets? I could never quite figure out what to put in all those pockets, never mind remember what I put where. There are two nice fairly deep pockets for folders, small books, etc.. and two pockets that are phone/gadget sized which I use for my Bluetooth mouse and my phone. That’s just the right amount to be useful, but not ridiculous.
- It’s not too big for short people. I’m 5’2. Many larger handbags look ridiculous on me.
- It has a great classic design. I’m positive I could carry this for years without it feeling dated.
- It’s actually a laptop bag. The techie in me can’t resist this last, very important point. It’s meant to be a laptop bag. It has a padded, safe, and secure spot for your laptop. I see so many pictures on instagram with MacBooks peeking out of the currently super popular basic leather totes and I cringe every time. Those are not laptop bags. There’s no padding in those and it only takes one accidental thump to dent/scratch, or worse, damage your expensive gadget.
Learn more about Alesya Bags by visiting their website and checking out their blog:
When I first proposed the idea of having an ePortfolio workshop for faculty at the College I was so excited. Things have been going well during my first two months at the College with instructional technology. I’ve had many scheduled and drop in consultations with faculty to help with everything from LMS issues to provide ideas for incorporating technology in their classrooms in different ones. One faculty member even created a full flipped classroom lesson. The professor recorded videos for an existing PowerPoint which we combined using Adobe Presenter, and even included a Quiz at the end for the professor’s students to take. The presentation worked out well and the professor has been very kind and enthusiastic throughout the entire design process.
So I didn’t give it a second thought when I proposed ePortfolios. I had a number of questions over the past weeks about faculty websites and ePortfolios, how to create them, what to include, etc…so when I had the opportunity to host the fall faculty roundtable, I jumped at the chance to present on ePortfolios.
My original plan was to go through the process of setting up a WordPress site to serve as an ePortfolio website. I’d take them through, step-by-step, how to create the site, add pages, add content, design the site, etc…
But then I started to hear some concerns. It seemed that a fair amount of faculty were concerned with putting content online. I have to admit that I was very confused at first.
Concerned about what?
I really didn’t get it right away. After starting to get really nervous about my topic, I started going back and forth with two fear-induced situations:
- Scenario A – where no one shows up to my first roundtable presentation
- Scenario B – where faculty show up and are really upset about the idea
Oh, and then I thought of something even better:
Why did I think a workshop was appropriate for a roundtable discussion? What part of “workshop” implies roundtable discussion? I even planned this to be held in a computer lab and there is not one round table in that room. Oops!
So shortly before I was scheduled to give this workshop, I threw myself into redoing my workshop into a presentation with discussion components, as well as a few hands-on activities. Fortunately, I already had a lot of theory, i.e. the content that addressed topics such as:
- what is an ePortfolio?
- why have an ePortfolio?
- Differences between ePortfolios for students, professionals, and faculty members
- Suggestions for what to include in ePortfolios
I used the SMART Notebook software to create my presentation instead of PowerPoint. That was a very deliberate choice that I’ll talk about in my blog post on Monday.
Have you ever given a lesson when you realized that your content was taking a lot more time than you thought it would?
After redoing my presentation, I knew that there was significantly less time devoted to the actual creating of the ePortfolio because I was incorporating more theory, added content in about privacy considerations and recommendations for limiting the amount of personal content you are sharing (if that is a concern for you), along with time for faculty members to discuss various topics related to ePortfolios (trying to blend in the discussion aspects so it would seem more roundtable-ish). I should have budgeted more time for conversations though (which seems to always happen) because I was thrilled to see that they got pretty lively with many people contributing ideas to the whole group after time sharing in their small groups.
That meant we had very little time to actually begin creating the ePortfolios. As in less than 20 minutes. We managed to get started with WordPress and those who wanted to began creating sites, but we didn’t get much farther than basic theme choices and began looking at the WordPress dashboard.
Ultimately, I think this presentation worked out exactly the way it was supposed to. Despite my initial disappointment that we didn’t get further with the actual creating, I believe that this topic needed to be presented in two parts:
- All the theoretical topics I mentioned above – i.e. the why and what to include
- Creating the portfolio
If we had simply dived into building these ePortfolios, there never would have been time to consider the value in having an ePortfolio (whether looking at it from the perspectives of a new or very experienced faculty member, or from the view of using ePortfolios with students).
I learned many years ago that it’s extremely important to be flexible when planning and giving your lessons. Sometimes you’ll discover, like I did, that you are going to have to change your lesson plan or training session very last minute. Other times (also very common), you’ll learn while giving your lesson or training that something is not working and you have to make a change or you are going to lose the engagement of your students/training participants.
Have you ever had to change a lesson or training plan last minute?
How did it work out for you?
One of my favorite parts about my job as an Instructional Technology Coordinator is being able to spend time researching different technology tools and gadgets for faculty to try in their classrooms.
Lately I’ve been exploring student response systems and today I’d like to introduce you to Socrative. Sometimes referred to as “clicker systems”, student response systems like Socrative enable instructors to quickly check for student understanding.
Students respond to instructor questions built in Socrative using any browser or mobile device (with Socrative apps). Instructors can create quizzes so that students can answer and instructors can view individual vs. class responses, surveys (anonymous – to check overall student understanding), and there’s a pretty cool space race game that instructors can create as well.
Check out this quick video to see more about Socrative.
Have you every used a student response / clicker system to check for understanding with your students? What is your favorite?
Teaching high school was the first full time job I ever had. Unless you count that one summer I spent in the Manager Training Program for Happy Harry’s Discount Drugstore, where I spent an awful lot of time stacking Tide detergent and reminding high school students to do their jobs. I think I was 20 or so at the time and thought I was pretty hot stuff. That was something else.
During the eight years I was a high school teacher, I taught in three different schools in the same district, and during those eight years I had five and a half different classrooms. For three of those years, I also had an attached office. Offices are not very common for teachers, as you typically spend most of your time in your classroom, but I was in older schools at the time, and lucked out with some office space a few times.
While in graduate school full time, I spent most of my time working from home, so my second year in the Ph.D. program, I invested some time and finally organized my home office. It was well worth it as I spent many hours there working and doing research there as well. I don’t have as much time to work in there these days, but I still love that space. I spent a few days most weeks working on campus at the University as well. I shared an office space with a few different co-workers over the three years I worked there, and for the most part, that was pretty cool as it gave me the chance to get to know people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
But I’ve never actually had a job where the majority of my time was spent in an office. A huge perk of my new position at the College was gaining one really awesome office.
When I first saw the space that would be mine, I wasn’t really sure what to think. It was originally a conference room, and while I loved that it was big and began to think of all the awesome training possibilities with such a big space, I wasn’t sure how I could make it seem more “me” and less conference room.
After taking measurements, I drew up a tentative plan for my office. Most of the furniture would be provided by the College – I was super lucky with that – and I had lots of wall space for decorations. So I took my time, decided on a strict budget of ‘try not to buy much’ and started to pull my office together. The pictures below were taken for my in-laws a few weeks ago, once the final piece was in place. You can click on the images below for a closer look.
A few details…
- The lamps (including shades) were an awesome deal from Penn State’s Lion Surplus – it’s a great warehouse on campus where everything and anything that various offices/departments don’t want anymore is sold. I picked up 3 for under $25 total. I later discovered that these lamps are the exact same lamps that another department at the College has which I found to be quite funny. I use the lamps all the time and rarely turn on the overhead lights. While it makes it a bit “bat cave-y”, I really prefer it to the extra bright lights.
- The large wall pictures were taken with my iPhone and blown up large for under $8 a piece at Staples using the ever popular on Pinterest engineering print process. I then used two rolls of tape and stuck them on particle board from Home Depot. Four big pieces cut to match the engineering prints were about $20.
- The three little plants on my short bookcase are fake. I don’t get sunlight and I knew I wouldn’t remember to water them. They’re from IKEA, and were about $4 a piece (pot + plant).
- My one splurge was my coffee table – the glass one table – which was bought by me, not the College. They bought the little round table, which is cute, but wasn’t quite big enough, plus I needed an end-table for my lamp. So I pushed it in the corner, and added my IKEA coffee table ($49.95), and my office is just about complete!
The last piece that will be added to my office in the near future is a SMART projector. Across from the couches is a fantastic blank wall, which is going to be where where the projector will be mounted. Add in an Apple TV, and I’ll then be able to wirelessly project my devices and computers so I can easily train faculty on how to use various technologies in a relaxed environment. I’m so excited for my projector to be installed! Not bad for a first real office, right? I absolutely love it!