Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
Best WP Theme Ever!
Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
25 Jul 2012
Comments: 2

Apple iCore: Science Investigations using the iPad

If you have not read between the lines in previous posts, I would like to formally share that I have made the transition from NorthEast ISD to Eanes ISD. This week I have had the pleasure of attending their Apple Core academy.

Eanes iCore


One of the app-tivities we explored was a science investigation involving coins and a water dropper. Jon Samuelson and I worked collaboratively to complete the lab. The workflow used Keynote and the camera app on the iPad or Mac to document the lab. The video below was compiled in iMovie by saving the Keynote slides as images. While I spend most of my time focusing on free apps, I will say I would highly recommend using Keynote on the iPad to document learning in the iClassroom.

Check out other Science iLessons here.

20 Jul 2012
Comments: 0

ISTE 2012 Comic Chronicle

As I had already picked up a cape from Turning Point Technologies and met with the app developer of Comic Life, it seemed only fitting to render my ISTE 2012 excursion as a comic.

Met Comic Life app Developer at ISTE 2012

The comic is a 5 page PDF that photo-chronicles all 4 glorious days at ISTE 2012.

ISTE 2012 chronicled with Comic Life


For a complete photographic journey, check out all 64 photos in the ISTE 2012 Flickr set.

For more ISTE 2012 coverage, check out “The Dot Project” and “Creating and Collecting Digital Work”.

16 Jul 2012
Comments: 2

10 Promising Features of iOS 6 for Educators

As an app developer (see TechChef4u app), I have the rare pleasure of previewing iOS 6 before it hits iDevices in schools, businesses, and homes everywhere. While iOS 6 is chocked full of new and hidden gems, I thought the following 10 were the most promising features for educators and the iClassroom!

  • 1. Turn-by-turn navigation and 3D Apple Maps: As I am directionally impaired and always on the road in my mobile office, this has been the best feature to date. While this feature is not exclusive to educators, anyone who is looking for a FREE GPS navigation system with turn-by-turn audio, this is your new best friend. I can now toss out my Garmin and simply let Siri guide the way. (Note: Apple has done away with Google Maps altogether and reinvented their app to include 3D buildings and vector images that load faster).

Turn-by-Turn Navigation in iOS 6


  • 2. FaceTime over 3G and 4G: This is a welcome addition for anyone who has ever had to search for Wifi to enable a FaceTime call. The feature also opens up multiple possibilities for those teachers who bring their own devices to school but are restricted from using the school’s Wifi to utilize FaceTime in the classroom for expert calls and mystery interviews. (I won’t include a picture of this as I discovered it worked while driving).

  • 3. Cleaner Look to the App Store: The app store is more aesthetic and functional. Apps load directly on the screen and then offer the option to open directly from the app store. The Details, Reviews, and Related sections have also been reworked to appear in the same window.

Installing Apps


  • 4. No iTunes Sign-in for Updating Apps: This feature is HUGE for educators who are in a district with restricted access to the iTunes password and account for the devices. Now teachers and students can update apps without compromising the account.

No Sign-in for Updating Apps


  • 5. Loading of Apps on Screen: New apps now load with a “New” ribbon so the user can identify which ones have been loaded and not launched (or reviewed). Also, new apps appear first on your screen not at then end of an imaginary screen. Both of these features make it much easier to identify new apps and utilize them rather than spend time using the spotlight search to locate them.

New App Ribbons


  • 6. Sharing Links and Facebook: The new interface for sharing links is more visually pleasing and much easier to use and it includes Facebook integration which is useful for all iClassrooms that host a class Facebook page.

Sharing Links


  • 7. Modifications to Restrictions:  There are multiple modifications to the restrictions potion of the device. The most promising were the Volume Limit and limitations to iBooks. The Volume Limit allows the user (or teacher) to set the volume limit on the device and restrict changes. As the mother of a five-year-old who enjoys listening to movies at an increasingly louder volume (and refuses to wear a headset), I find this to be a welcome addition. Another addition (not shown) is to restrict iBooks that contain “explicit sexual content”.

Restricting Volume


  • 8. Guided Access in an App: For all of those educators that wished their student could be restricted to use just one app and not multi-task through various apps, this feature is for you. It can be found in the General area of the Settings under an expanded Accessibility menu. The feature allows the user to restrict a student to using a selected app (and only that app) using a passcode and the triple-click home button.

Restricting Access in Apps


  • 9. VIP email: If you are swimming in emails as I am, the VIP email function makes sorting emails that much easier. Simply designate from your address book those people who are VIP to you. All of their emails will appear in your inbox and under the VIP label in your Inbox for quick reference. As you can see… Carl Hooker (a.k.a my new boss) is “kind of a big deal”.

VIP Email


  • 10. Reply with Messages: For those of you who screen (or can’t take ) calls during the day, this option is quite effective to respond to a caller in a timely manner without taking the call. (Note: I would never use this option on a VIP email recipient).

Reply with Message


Check out other articles covering the features of iOS6:




10 Jul 2012
Comments: 2

Digital Cheating

With the number of mobile devices entering the classroom growing (whether it be in 1:1’s or BYOD’s), the topic of digital cheating and academic dishonesty is bound to arise at some point.

Digital Cheating

View more PowerPoint from diben


The infographic below highlights multiple sectors of cheating from kindergarten to high school and college to the working world in 4 sections:

  • Section 1: Who’s a Likely Cheater?
  • Section 2: Tech-Equipped Students Have a Big Advantage
  • Section 3: A Lifetime of Cheating
  • Section 4: How to Put a Stop to Cheating


While mobile devices are a relatively new venue for cheating, banning them in the classroom would abolish a wealth of learning app-ortunities (pardon the pun). Students were cheating in clever ways far before the influx of mobile devices in the classroom… Case in point:

The bigger question is how to prevent cheating. While the infographic suggests honor codes and anti-cheating technology, I propose a few additional strategies to prevent cheating:


Please share your tips for managing or combatting digital cheating, academic dishonesty, or plagiarism in your classroom.


Created by:


09 Jul 2012
Comments: 1

QR Footprints in Time

As most of you may know, my hometown is New Braunfels and it is one of the BEST places to live! In addition to claiming to have the world’s largest water park and Buc-ee’s, we also are home to the oldest bakery in Texas and one of the most haunted hotels in Texas (see video below).

New Braunfels Historic Tour – 45 – Faust Hotel from iniosante on VimeoProduced for the New Braunfels Convention and Visitor’s Bureau by Iniosante llc. Copyright 2011, all rights reserved.

Historic Faust Hotel: Stop 45 on the NB Footprints in Time tour

No, I have not been hired by the local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Bureau to beef up NB tourism in the wake of “Can the Ban”… I am simply truly excited and inspired by New Braunfel’s efforts to share their cultural heritage and history in a new and engaging way!

New Braunfels Footprints in Time is a Historic Driving and Walking tour that can be accessed from the website (on a desktop or mobile device). The tour showcases 67 different locations including homes, businesses, murals, and shops and shares and provides beautifully crafted and engaging videos for each!

Each location on the tour also corresponds with a GPS location and a QR code to access the video when you have located your destination.

The Faust video is probably one of my favorites but truly all of them are so well done and weave a wonderfully engaging tale of history and culture. Whether you intend on visiting our little German town virtually or in person, this tour is a must for any family or classroom.


Further Thoughts: Consider using these videos and historical tour as a springboard for future classroom projects. Students could use them as a virtual tour and create their own travel brochures or postcards based on the info provided. Students could even create their own QR code historical tour of locations in their school, district, or city using video and podcasts. Finally, students could share these resources with another classroom or community abroad and compare and contrast their history to that of a classroom in Europe or South America.


New Braunfels Footprints in Time


Know another city that has a QR code tour? Share links in the comment section.


02 Jul 2012
Comments: 2

Bloomin' Hackathon

Bloom’s taxonomy continues to be be a HOTS (pun intended) topic in the classroom. After a bit of internet research and the intent to ignite a passion for learning, I thought I would share my recipe for Bloomin’ Learning: Bloom’s Taxonomy, digital artifacts, writing and reflection, and a collaborative forum for sharing and publishing.

Bloom’s Review: Before we put our thinking hats on, let’s review Bloom’s…with the Simpsons (link to original video).

Flipped Bloom’s: Some suggest the original ladder of Bloom’s is an arduous climb for learners and should be evaluated. Rather than spend the majority of class time in the basement of Bloom’s, begin with a creating task and glean the knowledge necessary to complete the process. (Read more on Flipping Bloom’s here).

Digital Artifacts: While outdated, the Bloom’s ladder drum video showcases how an object can be threaded throughout each level of Bloom’s. A similar example using the revised taxonomy features a rock:

Exploring Rocks and Minerals with Bloom's Revised Taxonomy


Some digital artifacts can be personal and hold value to students. As digital storytelling is a powerful tool and most mobile devices and many computers have a way to locate or capture photos of such artifacts (whether they be an object, a person, a place, an event, a lab), I thought it best to begin with this type of digital media and use it as a framework for Bloom’s. While the Bloom’s pyramid listed is outdated, the idea is still significant.

A Picture is worth a thousand thoughts: inquiry with Bloom's taxonomy


A Taxonomy of Writing and Reflection: As the photos are truly meant to inspire our thoughts and words in order to ultimately write reflectively and collaboratively, I thought I would share the next support resource: “Reflect… Reflecting… Reflection…”

Bloomin’ Hackathon: Chris Walsh shared the idea of a creative hackathon task during his ISTE 2012 session “Creativity is the Killer App”. The participant task involved each table sharing their most creative learning experience, the table voting on the best one shared, and culminated with each group creating a collaborative digital artifact to represent the learning experience selected. All of the artifacts can be viewed using the hashtag #creativelearning.

Thus, I propose a Bloomin’ Hackathon with the purpose to share the best and most creative uses of Bloom’s in the classroom. Rather than question-proof the event with a detailed rubric for submission, I leave you with this question, “What should Bloom’s Taxonomy look like in the classroom?”

Please reply with a digital artifact in the comment section of the blog and/or with the hashtag #bloominglearnining

The Differentiator


Bloomin’s Best Resources: If you haven’t had your fill of Bloomin’ Resources, check out these listed below.


Creative Commons License
Bloomin’ Hackathon by TechChef4u is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

28 Jun 2012
Comments: 4

The Dot Project – ISTE 2012

26 Jun 2012
Comments: 4

Creating and Collecting Digital Work – ISTE 2012

One of the most entertaining and engaging sessions I had the pleasure to attend was “Creating and Collecting Digital Work” with Tammy Worcester and Kevin Honeycutt. Not only were the tools they shared easily applicable to any classroom, their presentation style truly embodied many of the ideals of creativity, play, and value shared in some of the earlier sessions I attended (which will be summarized in a later blog).

Thoroughly enjoyed "Creating & Collecting Digital Work" session with Kevin Honeycutt

Tammy modeled the role of the teacher and Kevin channeled his inner child. The session essentially focused on creating and collecting digital work in various forms (e.g screencasting desktop work, capturing traditional pencil and paper tasks, recording audio products, and transforming digital creations into tangible items). All of the resources shared for the session (and many more) can be found on Tammy’s site.

Glad I sat in the front row for this session – my iPad was able to capture some of the best moments. Grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy!

Truly loved the idea of collecting all of the work in a digital class dropbox created with a Google Form.

One last nugget. Kevin shared a great idea. Create coffee mugs with a QR code hyperlinked to one of your student’s digital delights or a classroom site that is constantly updated with student work – what a great way to start a teacher’s or parent’s morning.

24 Jun 2012
Comments: 0

The Mommy iBalance

“All my bags are packed… I’m ready to go…”… again. June has been a very busy month with multiple conferences and speaking engagements. And today is no different as I enjoy the San Antonio airport’s amazing and FREE Wifi to complete this blog before I head out to ISTE. While I thoroughly enjoy all of these events… as a mommy, I sometimes feel guilty leaving my two boys. Thus, I spent a good hour or two last night customizing a few apps for my eldest to enjoy in my absence.

While I typically only showcase FREE apps, the following two paid apps were worth every penny to provide a personal learning experience for my little boy in my absence.

Write My Name: Though this app includes upper and lower case letters and familiar word cards, the best feature is the ability to include your own name tags. Each name tag consists of a photo, text name of photo, and a brief  audio recording. I decided to take pics of immediate family members (including the pets) and a few familiar house items (e.g. bed, toys, clock, etc…).

Create Custom Name Tags with Write My Name app

Write My Name: Once all of the custom name tags have been added, the fun begins. Children simply tap on a name tag and are presented with the corresponding picture and name. Then a tracing paper appears and the child must trace/write the name of the object or person using correct form. Once the child correctly completes the handwriting portion, the audio will play. All of my audio was simply my speaking the name of the object. For kicks, sometimes I added a sound effect after. (And “yes”, before you ask…we do have a dog named Cullen. And “yes” he was named after a famous vampire.) Now that we have that out of the way… let’s continue… =)

Practice Handwriting with familiar words compiled with Turbo Collage app

Futaba Classroom Games for Kids: I have had a fascination with this app ever since I downloaded the free version. While I enjoy the free app, the paid version is truly where custom learning begins. It currently includes 20 preloaded learning modules and boasts the app-ortunity to create your own. As I had already had the pictures on my iPad from the “Write My Name” app, I decided to simply use the same words and images to create an interactive matching game. I also really like the idea of reusing the words to reinforce the learning experience in a different way.

Create Custom Learning Games with Futaba Classroom Games for Kids iPad app

While these tools can’t replace mommy time, I hope they will provide enjoyable learning experiences with familiar objects (and give daddy a bit of a break). If you would like to see Futaba in action, check out the video below.

Visit “iPrep 4 Kinder” for more apps and resources to support the preschool/primary child using the iPad.


19 Jun 2012
Comments: 1

iPrep 4 Kinder

“What are the top 3-5 skills you wish your Kindergarten students had before the first day of school?”

This is a session created by Yolanda Barker and myself (both mommies of preschoolers) to showcase how an iPad can support and supplement the acquisition of multiple skills necessary to enter the Kindergarten classroom. After completing some online research, we created a Google Form. Over 80+ Kindergarten NorthEast ISD teachers shared their take on “What are the top 3-5 skills you wish your Kindergarten students had before the first day of school?“.  Based on their input, “iPrep 4 Kinder” was born to showcase how the iPad and apps could support fundamentally essential skills (e.g. spelling name, letter and sound recognition, rhyming, keyboarding skills, following directions, building social skills, color/shape recognition, etc…) which will give preschool students the leg up upon their entrance into the Kindergarten realm.

iPrep 4 Kinder_Presentation


Below is a Listly created with all of the hyperlinks and resources for our session, “Hot Apps 4 TOTS”:

[listly id=”1Ik” theme=”light” layout=”full” numbered=”yes” image=”yes” items=”all”]

melbet промокод мелбет зеркало