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20 May 2012
Comments: 0

List.ly: 20+ FREE Product-Based Apps


22 Apr 2012
Comments: 9

5 Ways to be Green with your iPad!

I came across the app Painting With Time and Painting with Time: Climate Change a few months ago and was absolutely blown away! As Earth Day is on the horizon (Sunday, April 22nd 2012), I thought it might be app-ropro to provide a handful of suggestions to teach climate change and support being green using the iPad. (The climate change app is currently paid for Earth Day. The app developer will be donating half of the net proceeds to the Union of Concerned Scientists to aid their research on the effects of climate change on our planet.)

While I typically focus on product-based apps, Painting with Time & Painting with Time: Climate Change provide a fantastic springboard to action: 

  1. Create a children’s book using an app like iPen FREE or Albums FX Lite using screenshots from Painting with Time Climate Change (or some of the apps below) to teach the effect of drought, global warming, flooding, volcanic eruptions, etc…
  2. Create a public service announcement or action alert using screenshots from Painting with Time: Climate Change (or some of the apps below) using an app like Videolicious or Bloom*.
  3. Create a screen-cast using an app like ScreenChomp to explain what occurred or caused the changes in the before and after images provided in Painting with Time Climate Change.
  4. Compose an earth day poem or prose using PWT app screenshots (or some of the apps below) and an app like Visual Poet.
  5. Create a Talking Tom & Ben News report to explain the climate change in your home town.

 

Check out these apps to support or inspire your green iProjects (all of the apps below can be found in the new FREE edu TechChef4u app database):

Other Classroom Ideas/Resources for Earth Day

  1. 10 Activities and Videos for Earth Day
  2. Scholastic Lesson Plans for Earth Day

02 Mar 2012
Comments: 6

The 1 iPad Classroom: Episode 21

This is a supplement to “Appy Hours 4 You” Blog Talk Radio ShowEpisode 21: “The 1 iPad Classroom“. In this episode the famous Lisa Carnazzo (2nd grade elementary teacher and iChef) joined us to discuss her iClassroom. She touched on classroom management, the process of planning an iLesson, what road blocks she has encountered and how she overcame them, and the impact the iPad has had on student learning and engagement. She also highlighted some of her favorite apps and iLessons.

 

Stream this week’s episode or download it in iTunes directly.


Listen to internet radio with Techchef4u on Blog Talk Radio

 

Explore some of Lisa Carnazzo’s iLessons:

  1. Seasons (Science lesson using Puppet Pals)
  2. The Water Cycle (Science lesson using ScreenChomp, Songify, and Talkapella)
  3. Inferencing (Language Arts lesson using Talking Tom’s Love Letters and Popplet Lite)
  4. Weather (Science lesson using WunderMap and Talking Tom & Ben News)
  5. Job Application (Language Arts lesson using VoiceThread)
  6. Probability (Math lesson using Doodle Buddy and ScreenChomp)
  7. Parts of Speech (Language Arts lesson using Tacky Wales Create)
  8. Problem-Solving & Word Problems (Math lesson using Puppet Pals)
  9. Objects in Motion (Science lesson using iCardSort)
  10. Sums of 10 (Math lesson using Talking Tom, Ben, Gina, etc…)
  11. Short Vowels (Language Arts lesson using Songify)

 

Want More iLessons?:

 

Check out Yolanda Barker’s Videolicious Summary of our visit to Carnazzo’s iClassroom.

Visit to Carnazzo’s Class from Yolanda Barker on Vimeo.

 

 

 



11 Feb 2012
Comments: 0

Lessons Learned from iPad & iPod for Secondary: TCEA 2012

One of the sessions I was able to attend this week other than the iPlayground(s) was “iPad & iPod for Secondary“.


SlideRocket: http://bit.ly/uOvX12

Road Blocks to an iPad 1:1: They began with the above Xtranormal which was a great ice-breaker and good platform to get everyone thinking about managing road blocks and criticisms of integrating the iPad into the classroom.

The full presentation is up in Sliderocket (including videos).

iPad and iPod Touches in the Secondary Classroom

 

  1. Learner-Centered: Teachers filled out an application to be part of the pilot and integrated the flipped classroom model which morphs the environment from teacher-centered to learner-centered. To support this model, teachers created a calendar on their website that housed the videos and handouts and study guides. If students did not have access to internet at home, teachers could provide the resources on a flash drive as well.
  2. iClassroom Management: The iPads were provided for each student to use while they were at school (they did not leave campus) and all teachers had the password to the iTunes account. The only paid apps resident on the devices were Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and iMovie. Each classroom also had 3 MacBook Pros for student use and 1 Mac for teacher use and to be utilized to purchase further apps for the classroom. A 10 Port Hub was also purchased to make the syncing process quicker. Other relevant tidbits were the access of Facebook and YouTube to all students (this was addressed in their updated AUP) and a Digital Cafe in Edmodo.
  3. The session also shared a few of their favorite apps: Join.Me (screen sharing and collaboration: must install desktop software), Evernote, ScreenChomp, Science 360, Jot! Whiteboard, Side by Side, PDF Notes, Sundry Notes, CloudOn, ShowMe, Popplet Lite, Toontastic, and Word Jewels.

 

Visit these links for more apps for secondary (Science, Math, ELAR, History) and appy integration for all content areas and grade levels.

19 Jan 2012
Comments: 3

Yes, Technology CAN Transform Education!

After reading the Tech Crunch article “Can Technology Transform Education Before It’s Too Late”?, I was a bit shocked and surprisedShocked that there were 15 comments in less than 3 hours and 40+ comments in a span of 24 hours. Clearly the topic is popular. What surprised me was the vast spectrum of comments ranging from arguments between the importance of how and what is taught, lack of focus on critical thinking and need for tools that facilitate retention, lack of parent involvement, and the need for a influx of social media to correspond and collaborate. Some felt technology was a tool and others cited technology-driven innovations like Khan Academy as the answer.

Tech Crunch Article by Prerna Gupta

 

Mobile Devices are a Game-Changer: While I do agree how and what is taught is integral to student learning and achievement, I have to say that mobile devices (especially the iPad/iPod in particular) are a game-changer… paired with purposeful instruction and meaningful application. They are the vehicle for personal, differentiated, and global learning. So how do we leverage these devices to effectively meet the needs of all of our learners?

Katie Gimbar says it better than I can: Why I Flipped My Classroom?. While she does not focus on the iDevices as a vehicle for flipping the classroom, one can see how these devices could easily support delivery of content (and later… application).

Now, How Might this Look in a Real Classroom? Let’s let Aaron Sam’s classroom serve as a model. (Also check out Katie Gimbar’s explanation: “What Does Your Classroom Look Like Now?”)

Now what are the road blocks to this initiative? What if a student doesn’t have access to the videos? What if a student doesn’t watch the videos? Who creates the videos? How are the videos created? Again, we will visit Katie Gimbar for the solutions!

What About Students with No Access?

What If Students Don’t Watch the Videos?

Who is Creating these Videos? If a teacher doesn’t feel he/she has the time or expertise to do so, Khan Academy and other sites have wonderful video libraries. However, Katie Gimbar (and myself included) feel the best author for change is the classroom teacher.

The next question for me… How are these Videos Created/Produced? Katie (through her video series, I feel a unique familiarity with her… so perhaps we can be on a first name basis) chooses the Flip Camera and white board as her tools of choice. Others may opt for an iPod with a camera, an Avermedia Document camera (and/or A+ interactive software), the SMART recording feature built in to SMART software, or Camtasia Studio (Aaron Sams’ and Chris Groff’s choice), an iPevo, or even screen-casting tools like ShowMe, ScreenChomp, and Explain Everything. Choose a tool that is familiar to you and a tool that will deliver your content in the most appropriate way.

In closing…can technology transform education? No, not technology in it of itself. BUT, technology can be used to support initiatives like “flipping the classroom”, differentiated instruction, and personal learning. Utilizing these technology innovations is the key to empowering teachers to impact student learning and in doing so…transform education!


18 Nov 2011
Comments: 2

Primarily iProbability

If you are looking for an elementary iPad lesson in the techchef4u kitchen, it was probably cooked up by the ingenious Chef Carnazzo. This probability iLesson is no different. Carnazzo and her second grade class used the app ScreenChomp (featured in “Screen-casting & Problem-solving 4 the Classroom“) as a culminating apptivity from a week of work on probability (e.g. “TEKS 2.11: Probability and statistics. (C) use data to describe events as more likely or less likely such as drawing a certain color crayon from a bag of seven red crayons and three green crayons.”)


Chef Carnazzo Cooks up iProbability

 

Here’s how she did it:

  1. Teacher Preparation: Ms. Carnazzo chose the background pics (clipart from MS Word) and imported them to Doodle Buddy.
  2. Student Choice: Students chose stickers in Doodle Buddy.
  3. Student Assessment: Students had to answer (in written form) teacher pre-generated questions in reference to their picture.
  4. Highly Engaging: Carnazzo originally created the apptivity for an intervention group and, of course, the rest of the class wanted to do the apptivity as well.
  5. Small Group: While Ms. Carnazzo was working with small groups to record their screen-cast, the rest of the class had completed independent practice assignments at their desk.
  6. Student Planning & Preparation: Students used the questions and their answers on the worksheet that Ms. Carnazzo had prepared to craft the narration for their screencast. Carnazzo found it was useful to do a couple of dry runs prior to hitting the record button.
  7. Student Reactions: Students loved the ScreenChomp final project. Carnazzo stated the students really liked the part where their drawings appeared on the screen in the final product.
  8. Other Applications: Carnazzo felt this tool had a lot of klout in the classroom as students do so much problem-solving in math. She plans on using it in the future to have students record and compare different solution strategies to a single problem.

 

Sample other iCreations from the Carnazzo Kitchen: Grammar & Literacy with Tacky Wales, short vowel sounds with Songify, Math fact families with Talking Tom and friends, classifying motion with iCardSort, integrating Math and literacy using Puppet Pals Director’s Pass

 


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

 

 

 


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.


14 Aug 2011
Comments: 1

Surprisingly Educational Apps: iPad Blog Hop Host

In honor of the launching of Techchef4u’s Blog Talk Radio Show “Appy Hour”, I decided to cook up my first ever iPad Blog Hop Contest (the winner will receive a $20 iTunes Gift card!). The rules are fairly simple:

 

  1. Compose a blog entry on your blog with the title “Surprisingly Educational Apps”.
  2. Select one free iPad/iPod app: Apps can be covertly educational like Talking Tom or Songify or somewhat transparent like U.S. Quarters and Magnetic Alphabet Lite. The task is more to shine a light on these gems and highlight how they would or could be used innovatively for educational purposes. Please hyperlink to the app’s iTunes page.
  3. Highlight how it could be creatively used in the classroom (the app must not contain inappropriate material). Please include a screen shot or video (so others will fully comprehend your vision) with your apptivity description. Screenshots of apps can be pulled into Doodle Buddy, Popplet Lite, or ScreenChomp to be easily annotated. Chosen App can be used in conjunction with another app. 
  4. Include recommended age group and content area for your apptivity suggestion(s) within your post.
  5. Finally, include a link back to the iPad Blog Hop’s host site (www.techchef4u.com).

 

More info: The U.S. Quarters app is not innately educational like Number Line (activity-based) or Khan Academy (instructionally-based). Other than supporting the U.S. Congress’s mission to honor the federal republic and “promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth”, the app itself doesn’t truly teach or produce anything more than basic facts about the fifty states (e.g. motto, date ratified, and symbols). Thus, it is up to us to create a surprisingly educational experience with this app… in a middle school mathematics classroom or elementary social studies… perhaps. I decided to showcase the app to teach mathematics vocabulary and proportional reasoning (scale factor)I will be including my full post on U.S. Quarters and the other apps we discuss before the 25th.

The winner will be determined by a group of Instructional Technology Specialists from NEISD and announced on my first installment of Appy Hours 4 U with my Co-host Yolanda Barker: Thursday August 25th at 10am. Submissions will be judged on creativity/ingenuity, supporting materials (screenshots, videos, etc…), and appropriateness for the classroom.

The winner will receive a $20 iTunes Gift card!