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Why it’s important to smash a few apps (or what’s on your palette?)

Lately when I think about how I am going to accomplish a digital task, I find that I automatically consider the task as a creative process, a process that makes me dig into my digital toolkit or examine my digital palette, usually more than once, to discover new synergies.

I’ve come to discover what I’ve been doing is commonly called app smashing.

Roughly defined, app smashing refers to the act of using multiple digital tools or apps to achieve a creative goal.

The term is generally attributed to Greg Kulowiec (@gregkulowiec) of EdTech Teacher who explains and demonstrates the concept in this video:

Intro to App-Smashing from misterkling on Vimeo.

So you might take a bunch of photos on your iPad during a field trip. You might import those photos into a digital storytelling tool like iMovie, WeVideo or Explain Everything for editing and annotating.  Then, you might curate those videos on platforms like LessonPaths, YouTube, your Wiki or Moodle, or perhaps share them on a ThingLink interactive image or as an augmented reality element using Aurasma.  Finally, the project might be shared with appropriate communities using Twitter hashtags.

Why share this concept with learners?   App smashing is a creative process in itself, perhaps a new digital literacy.  Librarians and teachers can facilitate it by recognizing its value and modeling it as a thoughtful process.

App smashing encourages learners to:

  • curate their own dashboards of options
  • understand app categories/genres and affordances
  • play, experiment, make discoveries
  • understand new notions of workflow
  • recognize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts–that one app or platform on its own may not magically serve every need
  • push themselves to create seriously original work in ways never before possible

For inspiration, try a Pinterest search or search the hashtags #appsmash or #appsmashing.

Note: After thinking about all of this overnight, I’ve come to the conclusion that a more apt app metaphor might be considering your desktop dashboard, or the apps displayed on your tablet, as an artist’s palette–its colors begging be blended.  And so I ask . . .


Meme anyone?


Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Kim Keith says:

    Thanks Joyce for the explanation!

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