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App Smashing

What is App Smashing?
App Smashing is the process of using several iPad tools to complete one project. I like to think of apps as tools rather than games. Each app should be used as a tool to complete a project. Why should we limit ourselves to one tool at a time? The process of using more than one app in conjunction with another app to create a final product is a concept that allows students to create engaging educational projects and illustrate their creativity in multifaceted ways. One of the most used and effective ways to use app smashing is to create digital storytelling projects. The concept of storytelling is emerging as a form of personal and collective expression of knowledge, ideas, and perceptions. It has a positive effect on students' communication skills. The objective for students is to create a digital storytelling project that illustrates their knowledge in an effective and appropriate way.

App Smashing empowers students to take control of their own learning and they quickly realize they can do more than capture stories on a camera. It helps them refine reflection skills, as well as their oral and written communication abilities, and encourages them to use their imagination when creating demanding and complex projects. They achieve higher levels of metacognition that allow them to synthesize, analyze, and evaluation information. Students also learn to cooperate and express themselves in unique ways, create dynamic projects that illustrate the potential of their collective creativity.

Let's Get Started!

The key to app smashing is using a storage device that all apps involved in the smash can access.  The most basic location is the iPad camera roll (photo icon). Other locations could be Dropbox or Google Drive.

All content doesn't have to be created on the iPad. Many great projects start out with teachers or students taking pictures or video with the iPad, or a web 2.0 product that can be accessed by the iPad.

A typical app smashing activity has five steps -

  1. Create a clear vision of your end product.
  2. Create a list of the apps you wish to include.
  3. Outline the process with detailed instructions.
  4. Create the content and bring it all together.
  5. Publish the final product.

Think of app smashing as building content on other content to create a final product. You can make a simple smash by combining two or three apps to start, and then progress to more complex ones. When you feel more comfortable, you can include 4-5 apps or more in your smash. The examples below feature 6-7 tools.

Example 1

  • Take a picture with your iPad camera. Open it in Skitch and annotate it. Save it back to the camera roll.

  • Open Tellagami and create a Gami about your presentation. when finished, export it back to the camera roll.

  • Open Puppet Pals and create a story. Save it back to the camera roll.

  • Open Explain Everything and bring in your Skitch image, Tellagami, and Puppet Pals videos. Add more content.  Export to the camera roll.

  • Open iMovie and bring in all the content plus addition images and video. Add a soundtrack and vocal track and publish your final project to YouTube or Vimeo.

Example 2

  • Open Explain Everything and choose a chromakey green background. import an image and record it getting moved up, down, and all around (floating).

  • Open Tellagami and choose a blue chromakey background color. Create an avatar and talk about the image you just moved around in EE. Export this footage to the camera roll.

  • Using the iPad camera, shot some video about something that corresponds to the first two steps.

  • Open the DoInk Green Screen app and layer each set of footage on the timeline. Put the footage from Tellagami on the top line, the green footage from Explain Everything on the second line, and the video footage on the bottom line.

  • Press the record button and the send everything to the camera roll.

  • Open in iMovie, add your soundtracks and then upload to YouTube.

Another great idea is to create your soundtracks in GarageBand. You can create background music and add voice over the top. While GarageBand is free, the additional instruments are in-app purchases.

Some of the popular apps that can be used together to create a project are listed below. There are more you can use, but these are my go-to standards. While you can see that some of these are paid apps, you don't need all of them. The one you absolutely do need is iMovie. That is the app that does the best job of tying it all together.

  1. Explain Everything - $2.99

  2. Tellagami - free (has in-app purchases), and Edu version is 4.99 - and worth it!

  3. Green Screen by DoInk - $2.99

  4. iMovie - was $4.99 - but free with any iPad purchased in the past year.

  5. Skitch - free

  6. Paper -  free (has in-app purchases)

  7. Book Creator - $4.99

  8. GarageBand - free (has in-app purchases)

  9. TiltShift Video - $4.99

  10. Dropbox - free

  11. AirDrop - built into iOS

  12. Google Drive - free

  13. Puppet Pals Director Pass - $3.99 (there is a free version, but it only has one group of characters, the fairy tales)

  14. ThingLink - free

  15. 30 Hands - free

  16. PhotoSpeak - free

  17. Camera - free

Most of the paid apps in the iTunes store go on "sale" at least once a year for free. I got most of these during their free day so I didn't have to pay for them.

Below are some short videos on how to use a few of these apps.

30 Hands