You’ve probably heard the term “App Smashing” in passing, or seen us present about it at NCTM or ISTE but maybe you are still a bit unsure about what exactly it means or how you would try it in your classroom. Summer is the perfect time to learn.
So, what is App Smashing? According to Greg Kulowiec, an award-winning teacher who coined the term, it is “the process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project.”
One of the best ways to app smash in the classroom is by combining content apps with creativity apps (iBook creator, Educreations, Explain Everything). Students can learn and practice skills, building understandings through rich content apps and then integrate what they learned by sharing their thinking with creativity apps. Here’s an example of you could use it in a K-2 classroom:
Addimal Adventure is an award-winning addition app for K-2nd grade students that focuses on teaching effective strategies to solve addition problems (count all, count on, doubles, make 10).
- Have students play Addimal Adventure and take 2-3 screenshots while they are playing. (To take a screenshot, hold the home button at the bottom of the screen and the power button on the top right of device at the same time on your iPad. The screenshot will be saved in the camera roll.) Encourage students to take screenshots of how they solved a problem, a strategy they used or an “aha” moment they might have had.
- Have students use a creativity app to share how they solved a problem or what they learned. There are lots of ways you could structure this part of the activity, for instance, students could create an Addition iBook or create a screencast with audio that shows their thinking through a strategy. Educreations and Explain Everything are great examples of screencasting apps. NOTE: If you haven’t used an app like Educreations, make sure you create a teacher account and get a class code to give to students before they play. Play around with the app this summer to understand how it works. Students may need to be logged into your class for their work to be saved and easily visible to you. Some parts of these apps are paid, so be sure you fully explore your options and understand what you are using.
- Here are some steps students could use to App Smash using Educreations:
Here’s an example from a K-1 classroom in Maine. From the student’s screencast, you can clearly see that she understands the Count All strategy.
In the next example, the student uses the Count On tool to solve a problem. However, when she explains her work, she does not use the visual model correctly to count on 4,5,6,7. Rather, she regresses to counting all the blocks (a less efficient strategy). After seeing this app smash, you could intervene with this student by reteaching the Count On strategy.
Finally, share how you are app smashing our apps with your students by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a smashing good time!
Don’t forget to try all 4 of our award-winning math apps: bit.ly/TeachleyApps.