8.26.2014

Tech Tuesday: Food Apps for On-the-Go Dining #VZWBuzz #MoreSLC

Going out for a night on the town or just escaping coming home from school and continuing to work, eating out at a great restaurant is my go-to for relaxation around town. I love trying new restaurants, especially down in Salt Lake City. I like to use the following apps to find restaurants and reviews when on the go.
  • OpenTable - Make online reservations, read restaurant reviews from diners, and earn points towards free meals. This app is free to use and makes trying new popular restaurants a breeze since you can make your reservations online.
  • UrbanSpoon - UrbanSpoon is a great resource for finding a new place to eat when you have no idea what you're in the mood for...just use the shake feature. The shake feature in the UrbanSpoon app allows you to shake your mobile device and it will automatically randomize the location, cuisine, and price range and give you a restaurant to try{or you can lock one or more of these options if you have something specific in mind}. Find restaurants read reviews and view pictures diners have taken of the featured eats.
  • Yelp - I absolutely love Yelp! It's the best app for finding local restaurants. You can get all kinds of info on a place and read reviews. Yelp doesn't just list restaurants though, they also do gas stations, attractions, shopping, etc. 
Disclosure: I am a part of the Verizon Wireless #VZWBuzz Influencer Team. I received a cell phone and may receive other equipment from Verizon to assist me in evaluating Verizon products and services for my blogging activity. All opinions are my own. 

8.13.2014

Bing in the Classroom & Microsoft Educator Network #WindowsChampions


While in Seattle for the Champions Summit in April I was introduced to Bing the the Classroom. I was quick to let the other teachers at my school know about this awesome resource!


Here are some facts on what Bing in the Classroom is all about...

Part of Microsoft’s continued focus on promoting digital literacy in education, Bing in the Classroom is an ongoing program focused on helping kids use technology to inspire and satisfy their curiosity. It provides ad-free, safer, more private search in schools, daily lesson plans that inspire critical thinking, and a rewards program that community members can use to earn tablets for their schools. More information can be found at http://www.bing.com/classroom, and you can track the progress of specific schools at http://www.bing.com/findyourschool.
  • Ad-free, safer, more private search. Bing in the Classroom removes all advertisements from Bing search results, filters adult content, disables the use of searches to send personalized ads, and adds specialized learning features to enhance digital literacy. {Program excludes Bing apps.} Over 4.5 million students in more than 5,000 schools are covered by our enhanced search, with over 35 million ad-free queries served to date.
  • Daily lesson plans. Bing is well known for having a big, beautiful homepage image that changes daily and inspires visitors to explore their world. With Bing in the Classroom, we’ve used that homepage inspiration to create free daily lesson plans that help students learn how to search the Web effectively while inspiring their curiosity.
  • Earn Surfaces with Bing Rewards. The Bing in the Classroom tablet program is an extension of an existing Bing program, Bing Rewards. With Bing Rewards, you can earn credits just by searching the Web on Bing from your browser or phone and for trying out new Bing features. And now, with Bing in the Classroom, you can donate those credits to the school of your choice; Microsoft will pool them with other supporters of that school and, as soon as your school meets the credit minimum, send it a Microsoft Surface tablet with Type Cover. About 60 people using Bing Rewards can earn a tablet for a school in a month.
  • Keep track of your school. Bing in the Classroom offers a page for every school in the U.S. that tells you not only if it is receiving ad-free, safer search but also how many Rewards credits have been donated, by how many people, and how many Surface tablets schools have earned.

I used some of the daily lesson plans with my students last year and they really enjoyed the activities. I love that the lessons require students to use critical thinking to search for their answers.

The Microsoft Educator Network is another resource that I love as a teacher. All of the tools listed on this website are free for teachers to use. Resources include apps, tutorials & guides, Office plug-ins, and more. My favorite guide is OneNote Toolkit for Teachers. OneNote is now free on all devices and can be synced across your devices when you sign in with your Microsoft account. I use OneNote for planning - both at home and at school. I plan out meals/recipes, vacations, to-do lists, etc. at home and plan lessons, projects, collaborate with other teachers, etc. at school. I absolutely love it.

Disclosure: I am a Windows Champions blogger and I received loan of a laptop and tablet, and may receive other equipment from Microsoft to assist me in evaluating Microsoft products and services for my blogging activity. I was sent to Seattle to attend the Champions Summit and received products while attending the summit. All opinions expressed are my own.

8.12.2014

Technology in Education with Microsoft & Parade Magazine #WindowsChampions

Last Tuesday I had the amazing opportunity to sit on a panel at a local Microsoft event with Parade Magazine to chat about technology in education. I absolutely love my career and couldn't imagine doing anything else - blogging and running my small businesses are added perks in my life. Ever since my dad bought our first family PC in 1997, I've been fascinated with technology. It amazes me to see the huge changes that have come in tech just in my lifetime thus far. From overhead projectors to SmartBoards to tablets and TVs - technology has made teaching even better.

But with all of these rapid changes in technology, is tech in education a good thing or a burden? This was the biggest question we faced during our event in Salt Lake City last week. Maggie Murphy, editor-in-chief of Parade Magazine, was the facilitator of our panel conversation. In our hour together, a lot was discussed, pondered, and learned.

One of the biggest issues being faced in education - as determined through our conversation, through my communication with other teachers, and seen in schools by tech specialists - is not knowing what to do with the devices schools buy for classroom use. As technology advances, schools are upgrading and just handing over the new devices to teachers and telling them to figure it out. Realistically, the issue here is that the devices that we're provided with are school owned. Therefore they can only be used for educational purposes, which is great, but without direction on how to use these devices, teachers don't know what to do with them. Microsoft Stores have tech teachers that will visit schools and teach teachers how to use the devices their school is using.

Another issue being faced by teachers is obtaining the technology they need in their classroom. Sure, schools are beginning to provide more and more tech like laptops and tablets in classrooms, but some teachers need listening centers {which can be created from an old smartphone or MP3 player} or eReaders for literacy centers. {These things can be donated to classrooms as a tax write-off.} Microsoft has a free way to earn Surface tablets for your school by using Bing search rewards. Every 500 points you earn can be donated to the school of your choice to earn them a Surface.

Overall, we can all agree that technology in education - both at school and at home - is something that can be a great resource, if we know how to utilize it to it's full potential. Tomorrow I'll be back with another post on Bing in the Classroom and Office - with tips on how to use these amazing resources!

Disclosure: I am a Windows Champions blogger and I received loan of a laptop and tablet, and may receive other equipment from Microsoft to assist me in evaluating Microsoft products and services for my blogging activity. I was sent to Seattle to attend the Champions Summit and received products while attending the summit. All opinions expressed are my own.

8.08.2014

eMeals: Homemade Popsicle Recipes #Sponsored

Back to School. Save 20% with code SCHOOL

eMeals is a meal planning service that creates budget friendly menus for you, based on your family's needs - this includes eating style, family size, and favorite grocery store. Each week, your meal plan is emailed to you, complete with simple and creative family-friendly recipes. Each entree includes a suggested side dish as well. Along with your meal plan, you receive a detailed grocery list, organized by section and coordinated with the weekly sales at selected stores.


Organic Coconut Blueberry Popsicle

  • 1 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons organic shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup organic blueberries
In a glass mixing bowl, mix together coconut milk, honey, shredded coconut, and greek yogurt until well combined. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill until half inch from the top. Add blueberries into mixture by pushing them down into the mold, spreading them throughout the popsicle. Fill the remainder of the popsicle mold. Freeze overnight.


Mixed Fruit Popsicles

  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1 peach, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups Vita Coco coconut water (great brand to use because it’s sweet)
Combine all fruit in a mixing bowl and place in your favorite popsicle mold. Pour enough coconut water in each mold to just cover the fruit. Freeze overnight.

(Suggestion: Taste your coconut water and see if it’s sweet enough prior to pouring into mold. If not, in a separate mixing bowl add coconut water and your favorite sweetener to taste. Then add to popsicle mold to cover fruit.)


Chocolate Nutella Popsicles 
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate milk 
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut spread 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
Mix the chocolate milk and hazelnut spread together until well blended. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill to the rim and freeze overnight.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by eMeals. Graphics in this post have been provided by eMeals.

Surface Pro 3: $150 Off for Students #WindowsChampions


Microsoft is offering $150.00 off Surface Pro 3 for college students between August 3 and September 6 to help them get the tablet that can replace a laptop for a great price. It’s the perfect classroom companion for any student: just click in one of the colorful Type Covers to turn out a term paper, or open a OneNote page with the click of the all-new Surface pen for hand-written notes or doodles.

This offer is available at Microsoft Stores, Best Buy, Staples and Tiger Direct in the U.S., and Microsoft Stores and Best Buy in Canada. To be eligible for the promotion, students must be enrolled in college or university and have a valid .edu email address.

Disclosure: I am a Windows Champions blogger and I received loan of a laptop and tablet, and may receive other equipment from Microsoft to assist me in evaluating Microsoft products and services for my blogging activity.  

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