Thursday, August 7, 2014

App Smashing and Digital Storytelling on the iPad

This article was first published on Edudemic.

App smashing, the process of using more than one apps in conjunction with one another to create a   One of the most gratifying and effective ways to use app smashing in the classroom is to create digital storytelling projects.  The concept of digital storytelling is emerging as a form of personal and collective expression of knowledge, ideas, and perceptions.  Its numerous and positive effects on students’ communication skills are well documented.  Digital storytelling is the perfect vehicle for the delivery of visual and audio stimuli that greatly enhance a storyline or a simple narrative.
final product, is a concept that allows students to create engaging educational projects and illustrate their creativity in multifaceted ways.
Here is an iPad app smashing activity you can use in your classroom in order to create professionally looking digital storytelling projects.  Although all the apps we will use in this task are capable of creating digital storytelling projects as stand alone applications, as you can see in the video that follows, the inclusion of iMovie as the medium that binds everything together will give the videos an aura of proficiency and will improve the quality of the final product dramatically. 

Getting Hands-On: The Project
A typical app smashing activity has four steps:  First, you start with the end product in mind.  Then you create a list of all the apps you will use in your project.   After that, you outline the process with detailed instructions, so that other teachers or students will have a roadmap to follow in order to be able to duplicate the activity.  In some cases, depending on the level of proficiency of your audience, this stage might even contain step-by-step detailed assistance, and at times, meticulous and explicit support.  Finally, you share the final product in appropriate and accessible ways.

Objective: To create a Digital Storytelling project that illustrates knowledge in effective and appropriate ways.

Apps We Will Use
-       Tellagami (free)
-       30 Hands (free version)
-       PhotoSpeak (Free)
-       iMovie ($4.99 for older iPads, Free with new iPads)

-       Create one, or more Tellagami projects; save them on Camera Roll.
-       Create one or more 30 Hands projects: save them on Camera Roll.
-       Create one or more PhotoSpeak projects: save them on Camera Roll.
-       Create an iMovie project.  Bring all the clips you created using the other apps in iMovie.  Trim, adjust, import narration, background music or other videos.
-       Save your final project on the cloud, (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc).  Share a link to the file with your students.

Short Tutorials
Here is a short video on how to use Tellagami

Here is a short video on how to use 30 hands

Here is a short video on how to use Photospeak

Here is a short video on how to bring everything together using iMovie

Some Final Thoughts
Digital storytelling empowers the students to take control of their own learning, and quickly helps them realize that they can do much more than capture their stories on camera.  Digital storytelling refines the students’ reflection skills, as well as their oral and written communication abilities, and encourages them to use their imagination when creating demanding and complex projects.  As a result, students are able to achieve high levels of metacognition that allows them to synthesize, analyze, and evaluate information.  Furthermore, digital storytelling allows students to cooperate and express themselves in unique ways, creating dynamic products that illustrate the potential of their collective creativity.  Is there a teacher in the world that wouldn't want to see that in his/her classroom?

If you want to learn more about App Smashing you can check out Greg Kulowiec’s blog,

Nikolaos Chatzopoulos currently teaches 4th grade Math and Science at Plato Academy, in Clearwater, Florida. He is a technology enthusiast, and enjoys discovering ways to incorporate technology in the classroom in meaningful ways, in order to provide opportunities for authentic learning experiences.  Nikolaos tweets @chatzopoulosn and he can be reached at He blogs at

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