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Apps for Teaching Cooking, or Anything Else

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Tibrata asks: Do I have any suggestions for apps for culinary education? My answer: The same apps for just about anything else; read on:

When you say "apps for culinary education," my hunch is that you are thinking about apps specifically for the culinary arts. I'm sure there are lots of these. I know very little about them. In my own cooking, I use Epicurious here and there (I've had great luck with a lentil-barley soup and a black bean chili). Most of these apps, though, are probably just large cookbooks, just like most subject-specific apps are just flashcards(and remember, preliminary research and practitioner exploration suggests most apps are bad.)

My advice to educators of any discipline is not to start by thinking of the iPad as a repository of subject-specific apps. Think of the iPad as a tool for media creation and social networking. Think of how a tablet computer could help students along a journey from consumption to curation, creation, and connection.

If I was in a 1-1 iPad school with a culinary programs, I'd start by having students get the Twitter app, and follow the accounts of great chefs and of each other.

Then, I'd have them all start a blog or Tumblr to write about their classes and cooking, to set goals, to describe great meals and big failures, and to begin to create a portfolio of their work.

I'd have them download Evernote, and put every recipe they cook into a note, and to document every time they cook each recipe. I'd have them keep notes on all of the changes they made, and how the changes affected the dish. (Most of these notes could be copied and pasted into a blog as well, but I think Evernote would be better for organizing things by recipe.)

I'd have them get a photo editing app, like Photogene, and practice taking and editing really good pictures of their plated dishes, so they can think about appearance and artistry, and so they can build their portfolio, and learn from each others plating.

I'd have them get iMovie, and I'd have them prop their iPads in the kitchen, film themselves working, and make edited cuts of their cooking, like highlight reels for athletes. I'd have them watch film of themselves and each other to learn about movement, timing, collaboration. I'd have them post their videos on their blog as part of their portfolio.

As a starting point, the suite of first-choice apps for teaching cooking is probably the same as the suite of first-choice apps for teaching anything. Pick a limited set of apps that get students connecting, curating, and creating.

Probably the main difference for culinary school is the need to choose an iPad case that's resistant to heat, tomato sauce, and the occasional stray cleaver chop.

For regular updates, follow me on Twitter at @bjfr and for my papers, presentations and so forth, visit EdTechResearcher.

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