Did You Know that You’re an App Smasher?Sebah Al-Ali
If you’ve been teaching with iPads for a while, or if you’re a smartphone addict like our students, you’re definitely a decent app smasher, and you don’t even know it! So, why not brag about it?
What is app smashing?
App smashing, a term coined by Greg Kulowiec, is the process of using more than one app to complete a task using an iPad. For example, rather than just relying on an iPad’s camera to produce pictures, you might choose to app smash and use another app, like Aviary, to edit your picture, and then maybe use another app, like PicCollage, to combine more the one picture together in one frame.
Why should you app smash?
So far, there isn’t one perfect app that fits all our students’ learning needs, when using an iPad. It can be difficult to complete a learning task on the iPad without using multiple apps. You’ll definitely get more done when you integrate more than one iPad in the process.
Also, although some apps offer a reasonable number of useful functions, it could be boring for students, as I experienced, to keep using the same app over and over again, with no variety. Students don’t seem to like it when their learning process is so predictable that it loses its magic.
Examples of app smashing
You can app smash in so many ways, but it’s always useful to have a clear purpose for it to make it worthwhile. You can combine apps to smoothly take learners from one step of learning to another, that is:
1. learn new information: vocabulary items, grammar structures, sentence kinds, etc.,
2. use the new information in context to produce something meaningful: videos, webpages, pictures, presentations, etc.,
3. and showcase or share their products.
For example, in a writing class, you can use Popplet to ask students to brainstorm for ideas and export it into an image saved on their camera roll. Using Pages (or Notes), they can insert the brainstorm, and write the first draft of their task. When done, they can share it with you using Google Drive, Showbie, or even email.
For a speaking project, students can create videos about a certain topic with their voices recorded in the background. To choose a topic, you can use Padlet to ask students to suggest ideas live in class (i.e., suggestions appear to everyone as they are entered), or Poll Everywhere. After choosing a topic, students can take pictures with their camera, or they can draw their pictures using Skitch or ShowMe. Then they can edit these pictures and/or create collages using Aviary and PicCollage. Then finally, using Adobe Voice, they can import these pictures and easily create a video with their voices recorded for each slide in the app.
In a vocabulary lesson, as students look up new words using a dictionary like our Oxford Learner’s Library, they can add these words in their reminders with translations or examples. And, then each group can be responsible of creating a video or a presentation for an equal number of words (example), to share with their class.
…and many many other ways! You can browse for ideas on this pinterest board: App Smash Ideas. –Why don’t you share one of your magical combination of apps as a comment (or a new post via your college rep)?
It might seem too much, but you don’t have to start big. You can easily start with two apps at a time, and gradually move on to include more apps as you and your students feel more comfortable and at ease with the process. You can also download an app called App Smash to learn more about the process. You can also view an iBook created by Mark Anderson, an app smasher, explaining the concept and it can be easily integrated in your classes: View it here.
One useful tip that can help you do that is to use iTunes Link Maker website to direct students to the apps via BlackBoard, rather than just providing them with a name.
It can also be helpful to teach students how to quickly search for apps on their iPads. View this video to see how it’s done:
Happy app smashing! (: