The 21-Tech initiative has allowed me as a Discovery Guide to push myself further on how much information I can process and share with each visitor I encounter.- Odis Garrett, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a bridge between our museum guides and the visitors in that it creates connections between educational concepts and the real world.- Shawn Waxali, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech has helped Discovery Guides engage visitors by extending their experience through the apps and applying it to the exhibits.- Ian Tibby, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a way of ‘hiding the vegetables in the fruit’ where the kids do not realize they are learning, but instead having fun and being fed knowledge that intrigues their minds.- Lauren Bell, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech provides a new outlet for our Discovery Guides to interact with the visitors in a way that further enhances their experience and makes the visit overall extra enjoyable.- Sylvia Garcia, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide

iPizza HD

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App Description: This mouth-watering app is one of the most favorite and popular app here at the Children’s Museum of Houston. After all who doesn’t enjoy a good old pizza even if it is in a digital form? 🙂 iPizza HD is a virtual pizza making application starting from steps to roll the dough, applying the sauce and cheese, choosing the toppings and actually baking it in oven before eating it. The app takes you through each step giving multiple options at each point. For example, you have 3 sauce options (tomato, alfredo and chocolate) as well as a wide variety of fruit, vegetable and meat toppings to choose from all at your fingertips…literally. The app also has a baking function where the plate is placed in a mock oven, and the user can choose the temperature and see the pizza being baked.

How We Use It: At the Children’s Museum of Houston, we use this app in the Kidtropolis, USA Diner area. The Diner is actually a Greek café called Niko Niko, however, we also serve traditional American favorites such as burgers, hot dogs and pizzas in addition to Gyros. All food supplies are artificial so kids can explore how to identify different foods, role play as a chef and waiter, take food orders and serve the correct food to the ‘customers’.

Our facilitators keep coming up with new ways to use this app. When they see a child playing in the Diner they approach him/her to use the app as a practice model for what kind of pizza they plan to bake and the steps they need to remember to do so. Once the pizza is made, some facilitators have the kids place the iPad in the mock over in the Diner to mimic actually baking a pizza just as it does in the app. In addition, facilitators encourage kids to make healthy choices for their pizza toppings to make a healthy pizza. Furthermore, since the Kidtropolis HEB market is right across from the Diner, the facilitators often use the app as a way to look for the right ingredients in the Market. This helps kids understand different food groups, names and contents of foods as well as cost associated with making a pizza. Therefore, this app reinforces healthy eating and teaches kids the steps involved in cooking.

Important note: Do not keep the oven temperature too high as the pizza might burn 🙂 Hope this review makes you ‘hungry’ enough to use this fun app in more innovative ways which you can share with us!

Museum Recommending: Children’s Museum of Houston
Platform Used: iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
Cost: $1.99
Link: iPizza HD

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Project Brief

21-Tech partners study and share the effective use of Personal Mobile Technologies (PMTs) by gallery facilitators in their work with visitors. The initial three years (2011-2013) of 21-Tech are funded in large part by a 21st Century Museum Professionals award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is led by the Children’s Museum of Houston in partnership with Lawrence Hall of Science, New York Hall of Science, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Sciencenter. For more information, please visit the About page.

Major funding provided by:

Additional support provided by: