Sometime last year, I started to see the phrase "app smashing" around the Twitterverse, and I was intrigued. What was this? How could I do it? And then I learned I was already doing it! So, what is app smashing? App smashing involves taking different apps/web tools and combining them together to create something new.
One of the app smashing projects we did this year was a resource put together for 4th grade students studying Washington, D.C. The 4th grade social studies curriculum in Massachusetts is focused on the study of the 50 states, but one standard calls specifically for students to learn about the various monuments in D.C. When my 4th grade team asked me for help, I knew exactly what to do.
First, I started with ThingLink, a website that lets you create interactive images by tagging the image with interactive content. I found a picture of each monument we needed, then found age-appropriate websites and videos related to that monument, and linked them to the image. When students hovered over the image, they would be able to explore the associated resources. To make everything a little bit more organized, I decided to use different symbols to denote different media formats - play button for videos, i for websites/text, and green bullseyes for tours.
But how to share the images with students in an easy, accessible manner? The library website would be a logical choice normally, but the idea of embedding some 20 images did not seem like a good plan, so I came up with an alternative: Padlet! All I had to do was take the link to each ThingLink image, paste it into Padlet, and then arrange the content. It was easy, visual, and the kids really enjoyed this new way of exploring resources. Even better, because Padlet allows for collaborative activity, I was able to split the workload with one of the teachers, allowing her to add extra content and resources that she had access to but I didn't. Win-win!
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also review children's, middle grade, and young adult books on Instagram.
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