App Smashing Enhances Language Project
App smashing (also called App Synergy) uses a number of apps to creatively complete a final project. This years sixth graders used app smashing to put together a final project in Spanish before they switched to French at the mid-year point. They used Book Creator as the main app for the framework for the project. They then combined several apps such as Tellagami, Explain Everything, Yakit Kids, iMovie, Puppet Pals and Skitch to produce a multimedia book describing their classes and their likes and dislikes.
Their teacher, Mrs. Lederer, developed a rubric for them to set goals for the project such as discussing at least three academic classes and two co-curriculars, what they do in their classes, what classes they like and dislike, and when their classes meet. There was a lot of freedom to be creative within the parameters of the assignment. One student used his love of theatre by having curtains open at the beginning of the book and integrating a "Star Wars" style trailer. According to Mrs. Lederer, “[This] showcased their skill level” in the apps while empowering them to “creatively speak in the target language – making the presentation original and took away their inhibition. When you gave them the freedom to create, they were so excited about the activity it took away their fear of speaking in Spanish." She saw a level of proficiency that was exponentially better than previous years with students able to elaborate and extend their sentence structure – getting them to speak at greater length and more authentically.
From the student perspective, it gave them a chance to combine not only what they had been learning in Spanish, but also to explore their capabilities in the language and the apps that are available to enhance their project. One student noted that while Book Creator wasn’t her favorite app it did let her use iMovie which she really likes. App smashing let each student choose the apps they felt most comfortable with and for that project.
App smashing teaches students they can pull together multiple apps, some of which are more limited, to produce a much more complex and fully featured final product.