Think Outside

Sometimes, it’s easier for teachers to look for apps that are designated as educational. However, I think it’s great for teachers to think outside the box for their students. This week, I came across an app called Fooducate. While this app is not a designated “educational” app, but I can see how it very much can be used as one.

Fooducate is a free app that can be used on either an iPhone or an Android smart phone. In a nutshell, users will use their smart phones to scan the labels of food items. Fooducate will provide a grade based on the nutritional value using a plus/minus grading scale. It will provide some alternatives if there are any healthier options.

Obviously, this app could be used in a nutrition class or assignment. Students can go with their parents or the next shopping trip or even scan items within their own pantry. Assignments can range from explaining why Fooducate gave that product the grade to finding healthier alternatives to their favorite snacks.

I thought it would be nice to reinforce the idea of using non-educational materials for education. While this was a very simple example, that’s all it really takes to get the mind thinking. Though this app was designed to help people choose healthier options at home, it can be an instructional tool in the classroom.  That’s exactly why sites such as Facebook and Pinterest are being used in the classroom. It’s the “thinking outside the box” mentality that is engaging these students today.

Facebook being used in the classroom

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/03/facebook-in-the-classroom-seriously/

Using Pinterest in the classroom

http://edudemic.com/2012/02/5-tips-for-using-pinterest-in-your-classroom/

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4 thoughts on “Think Outside

  1. I think that this app is such an engaging way to get students interested about health and nutrition! This is something that seems to be diminishing in schools. It could even be used to integrate into alternative subjects through a project.

    Not only is this an engaging activity, but it is relevant to their everyday lives. This can be used by people of all ages. Once students are introduced to it at an early age, they can continue using it throughout their lives (although I’m sure it will be replaced by an upgraded app with the changing technology!)

    In response to using “outside the box” engagement in the classroom, I’m very discouraged that I can’t access Pinterest in my classroom. This site is full of endless interactive, educational strategies for students. It seems like we are missing out by not being allowed to access them in the classroom.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Allyson

    • Allyson,
      You make a good point regarding having access in your classroom. I think a lot of people are having the same issue which is why alternatives such as Edmodo was created. If you’re unfamiliar with Edmodo, it’s basically the educational version of Facebook. I’m not sure if there is an educational version of Pinterest but you never know. Great response!
      Kia

  2. Allyson,

    I think this app is great way to get students thinking about what they are eating. Something they could do is keep a journal of all the food they eat in a week. In the journal, they would write down what they eat as well as the grade Fooducate gives. Doing this allows students too see what they eat during the week and whether it is good for them or not. An assignment students could then do could be to plan out a better list of food to eat. They can find alternatives for the food which Fooducate gave a bad grade to. All of this will get students involved in their learning process and help them to develop better eating habits.

    Sean

    • Sean,

      That’s a great idea. Keeping a journal would get students in the habit of watching what they eat, not just understanding the labels. I think this app can be used in so many different ways. Great post!

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