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03 Oct 2011
Comments: 1

Words 4 Students: Episode 4

This is a supplement to “Appy Hours 4 You” Blog Talk Radio Show: Episode 4 – “Words 4 Students”. In this episode, we discussed up front how mad lib-like apps could be used instructionally with various content areas and grade levels and then discussed the main features of each app and what features were available as in-app purchases. (Also check out Teachervision for some great integration ideas.)

We also congratulated Ms. Carnazzo, a 2nd grade teacher in NEISD, for using our show to inspire and develop iLessons with her students: Talking Heads sums of 10 (from episode 1), Songify for short vowel sounds (from episode 1), and iCardSort for objects in motion (from episode 5).

Words 4 Students: features sorted w/ iCardSort app

This week we discussed the following free apps:

  1. Mad Libs (Website): Other paid versions: Goofy, Cool, and  On the Road. They also have Musical Mad Libs Songatron Free & Songatron $ which we haven’t had a chance to review.
  2. Tacky Wales: Also check out the paid app Tacky Wales Create.
  3. Wordventure (Website)
  4. Radlibz $
  5. Sparklefish (Twitter): Stay tuned for a holiday version.
 

Stream this week’s episode or download it in iTunes:

Listen to
internet radio with Techchef4u on Blog Talk Radio

03 Oct 2011
Comments: 1

Puppets 4 the Classroom: Episode 3

This is a supplement to “Appy Hours 4 You” Blog Talk Radio Show: Episode 3 – Puppets 4 the Classroom. In this episode, we discussed up front how puppet apps could be used instructionally with multiple content areas and grade levels and then discussed the main features of each app, the difference between the free and paid versions, and what features were available as in-app purchases.

This week we discussed the following free apps:

  1. Puppet Pals HD (Twitter / Blog): Also check out Puppet Pals Director’s Pass which will comply with Apple’s VPP.
    1. Puppet Pals lesson and handouts
    2. Puppet Pals elementary Math lesson/student examples
  2. Sock Puppets:
    1. Sock Puppet Shakespeare lesson
    2. Sock Puppets to practice language (student examples)
  3. PhotoPuppet HD Lite (Tutorials): While we highlighted the lite version, I would highly advise purchasing the paid version and spending some time with their video tutorials. They also offer a iPhone/iPod version entitled PhotoPuppet Go.
    1. Check out the weather forecasting example above
  4. Tortoise & Hare Puppet Show (Website): also check out the paid versions (“The Three Billy Goats Gruff” & “The Three Little Pigs“)

 

Stream this week’s episode or download it in iTunes:

Listen to
internet radio with Techchef4u on Blog Talk Radio

11 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

Suprisingly Educational, Entertaining, and Engaging

I came across the lite version of MyPlayHome this week. The Lite version gives you full access and interactivity to two rooms, the kitchen and living room. Those two rooms alone kept my preschool son, also known as the app critic, busy for 30-45 minutes. His favorite discovery was that throwing away a piece of food in the kitchen replaces it in its prior location (e.g. table, cabinet, etc…). I later decided to check out the full version and was very pleased with the two extra rooms, bathroom and bedroom. Another fantastic bonus to the app is it will grow over time with more rooms and accessories. If they are taking suggestions, I would request a backyard with a grill, sandbox, picnic table, and flower/vegetable garden. What other toys can you say have that economical feature?

My PlayHome: DoodleBuddy Vocab

With that said, I will transfer my mommy hat to my educator cap… While this app may appear like a “doll house for the iPad generation”, it holds far more educational inspiration than sheer interactive entertainment. Thus, I have compiled a list of 7 ways I would use this app in the classroom:

  1. Have students create dialogue based on what the characters are doing in the house. This would be a great way for students to practice sentence structure, pronouns, and adjectives. (Consider taking screenshots and adding the dialogue with another app… like Doodle Buddy).
  2. Have students practice sequencing. Give students a series of directions or have students come up with a first/next/then structure for a task. (This could also be achieved with screenshots and Popplet Lite.)
  3. Have students practice vocabulary/spelling by taking a screenshot and opening it up in Doodle Buddy and adding words to annotate a room in the house.
  4. Have students discuss their own routines/traditions for getting ready in the morning, going to bed, family time, etc… (Consider having students take a screenshot and then discuss it in ShowMe or ScreenChomp.)
  5. Have students create/solve a math problem based on a scenario inspired by one of the rooms. (Challenge students to find/classify various shapes in each room.)
  6. Have students compare/contrast a room in the play home to the same room in their home.
  7. Have students write a descriptive paragraph about a room.

My PlayHome: Sequencing with Popplet Lite

 

 

 


07 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

HOT App 4 Analysis: iCard Sort

One of the first posts and series I created on my fledgling techchef4u blog was “Hot Apps 4 HOTS“. The series was assembled to highlight free apps that could be used in multiple content areas and grade levels to support Bloom’s Taxonomy. (Kathy Schrock classifies iCardSort as a tool for supporting “analysis” in her Bloomin’ iPad chart.)

 

 

As the “HOT Apps 4 HOTS” series was created as a resource for our district technology camp in June (and will now be offered at TCEA 2012), the original post was a supplement to the course and came fully loaded with screen-shots and suggestions for use as well as a full Math Vocabulary Lesson (e.g. teacher handout, student handout, sample Excel grid, and extension activities) utilizing the app. (Download the Math Vocabulary deck!)

After I posted the original series to my social networks (LinkedIn and Twitter), I received a message from Julio Barros, the iCardSort app developer, he said he loved the lesson and was in the process of building a site to compile the card lessons and decks that educators created.

E-String Newsletter Excerpt

Flash-forward three months…

… and not only does the the new version of iCardSort Lite (iCardSort) allow access to a public repository of decks people can share but also allows for users to acquire decks from more specific websites / wikis.

 

As if that wasn’t app-erific enough, E-string has just sent out a fantastic newsletter which includes the original techchef4u HOTS Math Vocabulary lesson and some app-tastic Vimeo videos that highlight how to use iCardSort and how the app can be used in a literature circle.

iCardSort during literature circle from Ipad Cabell on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for upcoming “appy hours 4 you” episode which will feature iCardSort with other apps that can be used for brainstorming and mind-mapping!

 


05 Sep 2011
Comments: 1

Give Your Classroom a Voice with Songify

Appy Hours 4 You: As I mentioned in my Fakebook post, my passion is locating, assembling, and creating resources and lesson ideas to support existing technology (whether it be Web 2.0 tools or iPads). Starting our blog talk radio show was one more way that I wanted to support teachers in the district. While we offer multiple face-to-face courses for the iPad, I still have many teachers ask me what you can do with the device. Even a list of suggested apps can be cumbersome if teachers don’t have a goody bag of ideas to accompany the app or an explanation of how products can be removed from the app or device (e.g. emailed, synced from the photo roll, uploaded to Youtube, downloaded from a random url, etc…).

Thus the reason I felt such a calling to create our “appy hours 4 you” talk show and the portable format. While the show does air live, the intent was for it to be streamed later in the day (e.g. during lunch or while folding laundry at home later that evening) or downloaded to iTunes and listened to on the way to work or at the doctor’s office. Lesson to Go… if you will. Supporting our intent to create a portable learning tool, the vast majority of our listens have been to archived shows. As I do not have information as to the actual listeners of the show (just how many have listened), I am always curious as to who the users are and what they have done with the information shared.

2nd Grade Songify Project

 

Where is Short U? created with Songify

Songify: On Friday, I had to look no further than my inbox. I received a enthusiastic email from Ms. Carnazzo, a second grade teacher in the district, who had been using my blog resources throughout the summer. This was her first year to have an iPad in her classroom and she wanted to share her Songify class project with me. Overjoyed, I clicked on the link she sent me and found a beautiful Glogster EDU page with pictures of the students (she had full internet permissions for each child) decked out in colorful boas and sunglasses posing with a microphone and their iPad. As if that wasn’t adorable enough, she had five different short vowel songs posted (with a text box above each for the lyrics). Each of the songs were created by recording the students singing using Songify (one of the apps we highlighted in our first episode).

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What’s Next for our Appolicious Elementary Stars and their Teacher? Not only did the students love the project, Ms. Carnazzo has decided to have students complete a similar project with Talking Tom and a math song. As she wants the song to be one piece, she has decided to record each excerpt separately and then piece them together in a video editing tool like iMovie.

As my intention for the radio show was to instruct, inspire, and instill an autonomy for building lessons with the iPad that supports student learning and engagement, I would love to hear from others who have used or adapted the lesson ideas we have shared on our show.

Please email or comment with your lesson summary and apps used.


02 Sep 2011
Comments: 1

Screencasting, Problem-Solving, and Digital Storytelling: Episode 2

This is a supplement to “Appy Hours 4 You” Blog Talk Radio Show: Episode 2“Screencasting, Problem-Solving, and Digital Storytelling”. In addition to discussing how the four featured apps could be used instructionally (with multiple grade levels and content areas), we discussed the purpose and inspiration of the show, explained how to get images to the device (e.g. screenshots, camera, saving an image), and gave more in depth information on how to manage the apps with multiple students and collect products as well as limitations of the app(s) and what features the upgraded app offers or promises to offer in the next patch.

This week we discussed the following free apps:

  1. Doodle Buddy (Twitter): highlighted in ShowMe video above (also checkout Doodle Buddy featured in other edu blogs:

    Doodle Buddy Bar Graph

    1. Math: determine length of missing side of a triangle
    2. Speech Therapy: sketching, building vocabulary, and pictionary-like activities
    3. Occupational Therapy: developing fine motor skills (used to compare progress over a few weeks)
    4. Multi-content: science labs, math problems, alphabet books, annotate PowerPoints that have been turned into images
    5. Cooperative Work: Hangman
  2. Popplet Lite (Twitter): Ophelia Character Map & Math Vocabulary/Classification
  3. ScreenChomp (Twitter): Review and goal-setting example using Poetry Magnets screenshot, Math example using U.S. Quarters screenshot
  4. ShowMe (Twitter): example included above highlights Doodle Buddy screenshots (visit ShowMe Community for more examples)
  5. Explain Everything $ (Twitter): review and examples for student and teacher use (visit Explain Everything Showcase for more examples and a review of my EE projects)

 
 
Stream this week’s episode or download it in iTunes:

Listen to internet radio with Techchef4u on Blog Talk Radio

 
Our next show “Puppets 4 the Classroom airs September 8th at 10:00am which will highlight Sock Puppets, Puppet Pals, Tortoise & Hare Puppet Show, and PhotoPuppet HD Lite.

 

 

 


29 Aug 2011
Comments: 2

Everything Explained: Devour Deluxe Screencasting

In the techchef4u kitchen, ingredients and tools tend to be free… but I am making an exception…

Explain Everything: Screencasting App

I am typically quite skeptical when I come across paid apps that do the same thing as free ones. That being said… I have been looking for an advanced screencasting app for some time and was quite elated with the features, design, and potential Explain Everything promised. While I am still partial to Screenchomp (as it is free, simple to use, and offers the ability to download an mp4 video file without having to upload it to Youtube), it only offers simple color annotation with no shapes or arrows and will not allow you to annotate over documents, presentations, or multiple images. While this is perfect for elementary and Khan-esque videos, secondary students, teachers, and the tech world need the advanced functionality that Explain Everything offers.

In corresponding with the Explain Everything app developer, I discovered the reason I truly love this app. As you will see it is easy to use with profound functionality, but the real “you had me at slide to unlock” moment was the innate educational value and potential the app possessed. With this said, I wasn’t at all surprised that a Director of Educational Technology was behind such a polished gem.

So without further ado… let’s delve into the features of Explain Everything:

Explain Everything features:

Explain Everything: Screencasting App

  1. Multiple ways to access your documents: Begin with a blank project or import from photos (similar to Screenchomp) as well as import from Evernote and Dropbox. While there are a few files that were not compatible for import, I did like the fact that you could import a group of photos rather than one at a time.
  2. Slide Sorter: If you have imported multiple pages/images, you have the option to change the order of the slides (or images) and delete them (much like in PPT). Users also have the option to add a blank side in the beginning, middle, or end of a presentation.
  3. Annotation: You can write/highlight and add shapes, lines, arrows, and text. Within each of the annotation drop-downs, you have options to change color, size, transparency, font size, fill color, etc… (Note: the drop-down menu features accessed during your recording do not appear in the final recording).
  4. Insert images: You can insert and edit images (crop and rotate) from Dropbox, Evernote, Camera, or Photo Roll. (Note: The process of importing and editing the image will not appear in the video – recording automatically pauses during this process.)
  5. Layers: You can layer images as well as resize them on the canvas. (This is a slick feature!)
  6. Undo: You have the option to undo/remove a whole object rather than have to erase it in sections (Note: this is selected in the “preferences”: drawings become objects.)
  7. Save: You can save within the app.
  8. Export Images: Images can be exported to the photo roll, emailed, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote.
  9. Export Video: Videos can be saved to the photo roll, emailed, uploaded to youtube, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote. Projects can be emailed or saved to Dropbox or Evernote (they appear to save as an xpl file).
  10. Help menu: Though the app is extremely user-friendly and straight-forward, they do offer a wonderful help section with screenshots and further directions if needed. (If that wasn’t enough, they offer a video and print guide on their site.)

Problem-Solving Explained: While I created the first video to highlight all of the features available in the Explain Everything app, I wanted to model how the Explain Everything app could be used as a vehicle for instruction and learning in the video above. I had previously created this story problem with Prezi to model how the tool could be used as a problem-solving piece in mathematics. In hindsight, I truly believe Explain Everything is a far more useful tool for this purpose as teachers can create instructional videos and students can compose a rich problem-solving process in mere minutes.

  1. Students could create their own story problems with Doodle Buddy (free), Comic Touch Lite (free), or Cartoon Studio Free images saved to the photo roll. (Consider using 123 Charts (free) to produce more advanced data for word problems and critical-thinking projects.)
  2. Teachers could also create images in a Web 2.0 tool and save to Dropbox.

The idea of narrating, presenting, critical-thinking, problem-solving, story-telling, analyzing text, and creating screencasts/tutorials can be adjusted and modified in any content area or grade level to meet the diverse needs of teachers and students making the Explain Everything app a staple in any school setting. (Visit Explain Everything’s site to see the showcase of user examples and submit your own.)

 

Note: Stay tuned for an update in the next few weeks. I have been informed features to be released are:

  • *PPT, PPTX, and Keynote files now auto-separate into slides (like multi-page PDFS)
  • *Added a new Draw Tool pen tip option (a “hard” tip in addition to the default “soft” tip)
  • *Option to export the MP4 file without the audio track
  • *Option to save a copy of the movie to your iPad photo roll when you do an export to YouTube

While the app doesn’t currently allow for the ability to import and annotate over a video due to current iPad processing and memory specifications, the developer suggested using Explain Everything products in conjunction with the iMovie app, so you could get very creative and make a production using video clips, Explain Everything exports, and iTunes music.


24 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Inspire and Ignite Political Debate in the Classroom

Container Ban on River Passes

As a local New Braunfels resident and an educator, I thought the current river ban debate would make an excellent post for a research and persuasive paper assignment. It is also is a nice pairing with my recent Fakebook post as there are Facebook pages both for (“It’s Time to Protect Our Comal and Guadalupe Rivers“) and against the ban (“The River Belongs to Us Not City Council” & “Sign the Referendum to Recall the New Braunfels Container Ban Ordinance“). While I would not recommend using the actual Facebook pages for research as some of the comments have proven to be heated and inappropriate, teachers could glean both pages for arguments and direct quotes from both sides to provide a point of reference for the debate.

Last night the New Braunfels City Council by a vote to 5 to 1 banned disposable food and beverages from waterways within the city limits. This ban has ignited the interest of many residents who may or would not have been active in local government and want to have a voice… and a vote.

River Video taken August 15th, 2011 after a clean-up. 

Ignite Debate: Such a hot topic also proves to be a great fodder for classroom discussion and a wonderful vehicle for debate. Trying to say as unbiased as possible, I decided to build off of my previous Fakebook post:

New Braunfels City Council Meeting

  1. Teachers could create a simulated discussion to highlight basic arguments from both sides (by pulling quotes and posts from FB).
  2. Students would then get a RAFTS  assignment. (Consider all of the the parties (roles) that the ban will affect and all of the vested entities: NB City Council, NB Police, locals, residents on the river, river-oriented business, NB businesses, tourists, the media, state politicians). See Reading Rockets RAFTS info and templates.
  3. Based on their given or selected role, students would research arguments, statistics, and facts/info that would support their stance on the issue. The recent article from My San Antonio provides a great start.
  4. Students would complete a graphic organizer to record their findings before finalizing their project.
    1. Web 2.0: ExploratreePopplet, or HOLT Interactive Graphic Organizers
    2. iPad: Popplet or T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
    3. iPod: T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
  5. Students could then present their persuasive argument in multiple formats:

    Created with T-Chart app

    1. a news broadcast (using Videolicious and images from the council meeting and river)
    2. an letter/email to a local Congressman (When writing a letter/email, remind students to: know their facts, state their purpose, be personal, stay on message, don’t be partisan, be courteous, and request a response). Researching voting records and public stances for multiple congressional figures may help students locate Senators and Representatives that would be more sympathetic to their cause.)
    3. a website (Glogster EDU) or brochure/flier with all information gathered for or against ban that could be presented to locals and/or voters
    4. a persuasive essay
    5. a debate (live or virtually with Edmodo)
    6. a song/rap/poem (quick songs could be completed in using Songify)
    7. a proposal to provide alternate solutions to the ban or a revised law
    8. a 30-second commercial for or against the ban (check out Photostory)
    9. an interview with a RAFTS stakeholder

 River Video taken after Memorial Day, 2011 used in the media to support the ban


01 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Take Home Chef: Appy Hours Direct 2 You

What a great idea! Wish I had thought of this. I am in the process of looking at ways to create appy hours that can be delivered at any time and from any place. Apptivities on Demand… if you will.

20 Apps in 20 Minutes Ipad Edition from TJ Houston on Vimeo.

Previously, I have been creating Appy Hour Menus with a Techchef4u Signature List accompanied by a Jog the Web tour of apps which provided links to the specific iTunes page, descriptions of how they could be used in the classroom, and more suggestions of similar apps to the recommended ones.

While these appy hours are typically presented to a live audience during a professional development session and the resources are available to be reviewed online at a later time, the idea of a 30 apps in 30 minutes video webinar that could be held as a synchronous live session or be referred to at a later date and time is such a wonderful tool for teachers.

Stay tuned for a HOT Apps for HOTS  Appy Hour Tour in the next few weeks!

 


01 Jul 2011
Comments: 0

Cool Tech 4 Kids to Beat the Heat: Part 3: Interactive Books

In an effort to provide my audience with more bite size morsels of technology, I have divided my interactive books section in to two parts. As students are out of school and many visit the library for pleasure reading books to fulfill their reading list quota, it only make sense to consider the iPad to fulfill the need and desire for literacy.

Ebooks for Kids on iDevices

The authors listed below are my son’s favorites from the bookshelf and the iPad. These are not books that were created solely for the iPad. Rather, they are interactive versions of the original (and beloved) work of art published for the new generation of digital learners. (All apps listed are paid.)

  1. Dr. Seuss (universal app): Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? Truly? Now you can read Dr. Seuss’s classics on the iPad with a few more bonus features:

    Image Edited with Rollip

    "Lots of good fun that is funny"

    1. read to me/read to myself/auto-play options
    2. highlighted text as it is read
    3. picture/word association (e.g. words zoom up and are spoken when pictures are touched)
    4. background audio (e.g. car motors, talking underwater, train whistle)
  2. Berenstein Bears (universal app): My 4-year old son has loved these books (as well as the corresponding videos) so we were delighted to find them available on the iPad. It also has all of the features the Dr. Seuss books offer.
  3. Eileen Christelow: “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” (universal app): My son has loved the Five Little Monkeys series for years and these interactive books stay true to the joy and engaging story line that each book provides. They also offer the same features as the Dr. Seuss & Berenstein Bears ebooks do.
  4. Mercer Mayer: (universal app): Not only do these Little Critter books offer the same features as Dr. Seuss, the Berenstein Bears, and Eileen Christelow, they also include a “find the creature mini-game”.
  5. Sandra Boynton: “The Going to Bed Book” (iPad only): These books are so humorous and fun to read. This book goes far beyond the other ones listed as it offers more interaction with the characters and objects (e.g. you can touch, turn, and pull) and allows to tilt your device to watch things tilt and cascade. The ebook also features two reading modes:
    1. “The Big Guy Reads It”: Billy J. Kramer narrates with word highlighting
    2. “I want to read to myself”: Your little one reads at their own pace and can hear individual words pronounced with the tap of a finger

Stay Tuned over the next couple of weeks for upcoming Part 3: More eBooks and Part 4: Storytelling. Did you miss Part 1: Imaginative Play & Games or Part 2: Virtual Vacation?

If you missed Summer Technology 4 Kids on Social Geek Radio, you can now download the episode in iTunes.

Please comment with your favorite children’s ebooks and authors?