When I returned from the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit and shared the word “App Smashing” with my students they were super excited. Having that term to place onto what we had been building as a part of our classroom culture led to even more creativity and innovation with my students. Thanks to Greg Kulowiec for coining the term!
Here is how App Smashing works:
One App + Another App = Published Creativity!
Yes, it is that simple.
But before you start to get your students into app smashing you have to build a culture of app smashers in your classroom. Here is how you can do this:
Step 1: Build App Fluency
1. Use the first month of school to introduce your students to all of the creative apps on their iPad and help students build their app fluency. Use this time to guide students through projects that perhaps only use one or two apps. You will want students to experiment while providing some level of guided instruction with the capabilities of each app.
2. Throughout the first month also show your students what each app icon mean. They will need these tools to navigate the App Smash world.
Provide ample opportunity to have successful interactions with collaboration. Collaboration sometimes does not come easily or naturally to students, especially when you are navigating digital collaboration. You need to spend time teaching digital citizenship to build a culture of connecting online. Here are some of my favorite collaborative apps:
Learn from my failure: The first time I had 4th graders collaborate on a Google Doc was a complete failure. I assumed my students would be able to collaborate on a Google Doc, but boy was I wrong when I heard someone shout across the room… “You are in my cursor space!” I immediately pulled that small group to the table to help them navigate their digital space. We learned that each person in the group needs to be aware of what each other is working on and that no one should ever delete another person’s work without discussing it first. In addition, using the comment section to discuss problems is a great alternative to shouting across the room. What I learned was my students really needed some direct instruction with collaborating on a digital platform.
Step 2: Build a Culture of App Smashing
After your students have become app fluent begin to build a vibrant app smashing culture. Just how do you do this? Build a “menu” of app options for students. Here is an example of mine:
As you begin to build an app smashing culture help guide your students to create delicious app smashing meals. In the beginning, I provide the first few steps of app smashing. Then for the final step, students can choose an app to finalize their project. Here is an example of how I would guide my students in the beginning:
Here is how this App Smash Recipe works:
The idea is to use the gradual release of responsibility model when students are ready. As you see students become masterful at app smashing, gradually release the responsibility of app smashing to them. The goal is to get 100% of your students to a “master chef” level of app smashing! Of course, students will become “ready” for more independent smashing at different rates. Be prepared to differentiate for your students.
The Rest of the Year: Sustaining the Culture of App Smashing
Share your work: The ONLY way to sustain an app culture is for students to share their work! You need to provide a place for students to publish their work and share their app smashing meals. Here are a few of my favorite ways for students to share their work:
Serve Up Fresh Apps: You can’t keep the app smashing menu the same all year… be on the constant lookout for new creative apps to add to your menu. When searching for new creative apps look for apps that can do the following app smashing friendly tools:
- Can easily be saved to camera roll.
- Can open projects in other apps.
- If you find an app that you absolutely love and it doesn’t have great sharability… perhaps you can use screen capture.
Here is an example of an app smash we did for Mother’s Day. You can read about this project here.
So get started and inspire your students’ creativity and innovation by creating and sustaining an app smashing culture! Feel free to share your favorite app smashing recipes in the comment section.