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31 Jul 2013
Comments: 7

App Synergy: The Art Form of App-Smashing

If you have been trolling the net (pun intended if you read my last post) for more app-smashing antics… you simply must check out this video from Kris Kling, fellow Starbucks junkie and 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator (@misterkling).

The video below smashes the apps Tellagami, Explain Everything, and iMovie to create a narrated treat and includes some ideas for composing your own logo which goes hand in hand with a recent post, A Brand Called Me, which reveals an amazing iTunes U course to support students in discovering their own personal brand.

Intro to App-Smashing from misterkling on Vimeo.
An introduction to the concept of app-smashing, a technique coined and honed by Greg Kulowiec that uses multiple apps to complete a project. —

The iPad by design is a personal device that can create a very unique learning perspective if students are allowed to explore and are not inhibited by a one-app-fits-all philosophy. One wouldn’t limit an art student to a monochrome palette and limited media and tools. So why would we hand over a device that offers limitless potential to a student and shackle their creativity to one app?

I venture to kick app-smashing up a notch. What if we assume that app-smashing could indeed be an art form if achieved in a thoughtful manner? The term app synergy appeared in the App Synergy column of App Advice (Apps Gone Free) as early as April 2012.

Lenny Liang said it best:

“A single app can be powerful. Many apps, working together, can be transformative. It is sometimes difficult to perform the task you want using only one app. It’s often necessary to settle for the best an app can give, even if it’s not exactly what you need. App synergy overcomes those limitations by transcending the limits of single apps, creating results that no one app could achieve alone.”

The image below is an app-smash of Wordflex Touch Dictionary, Textagon Word Art Generator, Snapseed, Paint FX, and PhotoToaster.

The Origin of App Synergy

Lenny Liang: The Origin of App Synergy

Since the phrase app synergy app-tly app-lies to our app-lication of apps, I thought I would create a concise definition.

App Synergy: the transformative art form of smashing and assembling apps to form a cohesive creation which ultimately holds more substance and purpose than the sum of its individual app elements.

As Tellagami was showcased here today, I wanted to share a few more examples of how the app can be smashed with other apps to create a detailed and thoughtful learning project.

Technology Tailgate shares a 5th grade assignment that smashes WordFoto, Phoster, and Tellagami to teach findings about scientists.

Karen Ogen shares a 1st grade assignment that smashes the Tellagami and iMovie (Karen compiled the videos using Windows Movie Maker but iMovie could achieve the same result) to teach about the sun and moon. While the backgrounds were clearly hand drawn and then captured using the iPad camera, the same activity could be recreated with students drawings using any sketching app.

Laura Chaffey’s class shares one of my favorite purposeful app-smashing projects. Her  primary students composed a persuasive piece depicting why they would be a good candidate to be recruited for Mars One. The apps smashed were the camera, Google Earth, Tellagami, and iMovie.

Laura even went so far as to create a 3 page PDF to provide lesson ideas for integrating Tellagami and even a tutorial.

Laura Chaffey's 3 Page Download: Resources and Tutorial

Laura Chaffey’s 3 Page Download: Resources and Tutorial

Hungry for more App-Smashing? Inspired to achieve App-Synergy? Check out the Definitive App-Smasher’s Guide by Miguel Guhlin here.


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“Student-Created Books in the iClassroom” iTunes U course is now available!!!

30 Jul 2013
Comments: 1

A Troll led me to iPhoneography…

Roadside America screenshot

Roadside America screenshot

A troll led me to the perfect photo… okay well not exactly… but it is a whimsical offbeat way to start a blog entry. This week we went on an interstate excursion with my two boys to visit some family members in Kansas. I remarked to my husband that at their age they would likely not recall the trip nor the relatives but more the random moments and quirky roadside stops along the way.

When I was their age and my family made the excursion in our Astro van to Pennsylvania from Texas, I remembered little more than a playground, a rest stop with an armadillo, and viewing the splendor of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon for the first time.

With this rattling in the back of my mind, we downloaded the Roadside America app which showcases multiple weird and quirky destinations as you travel. One that caught my eye was a troll buried underneath a sidewalk. No, I do not have an unnatural affinity for Lord of the Rings or HBO’s Game of Thrones. Rather… it reminded me of the story of the 3 Billy Goats Gruff that my son enjoyed reading this year. So, we stopped in Wichita to locate the troll.


After much searching and a few detours, we eventually located the troll. As most of these sights are, many times they look better on paper (or in the app) than in person. To jazz up the photo so any one (that wasn’t me) could actually figure out what it was peering out from below the grates, I used the HDR FX Pro app.


This little gem was one of the many iPhoneography apps shared during a “Making Great Photos and Videos with iOS Devices” session at the Apple Distinguished Educator’s institute a few weeks ago. Ironically enough, I had actually downloaded the app a while ago and it had gotten lost in the abyss beyond the 11th screen. I was able to invigorate this photo and hopefully showcase this bizarre treat with a little fantasy flair.



On our way to unearth the aforementioned troll, we happed upon a beautiful bridge. With a few edits, I was able to turn a family snapshot taken on my iPhone into what I feel is a radiant keepsake.


Before and After HDR FX Pro filter compiled with PicWall app

Before and After HDR FX Pro filter compiled with PicWall app

As we speed rapidly towards the first day of school, let us not forget the dog days of summer and the treasured seasons that we share with our children and families. These moments are precious and fleeting and we want to preserve them in a manner that does justice to their sublime beauty.

Henri Cartier-Bresson created with InstaQuote app

Henri Cartier-Bresson created with InstaQuote app


We all know the best phone is the one that you have with you… If you are a tech addict like myself, your iPhone is never far from your reach. Truly the device is is a one-stop-shop as you can capture images, edit, polish, and share them all in a matter of minutes.


Below is the list of iPhoneography apps that I curated from the session.


Interactive TechChef Thinglink

Check out the new Chic Geek iJewelry line!

1,200+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Spring PD and Workshops:

“Student-Created Books in the iClassroom” iTunes U course is now available!!!

24 Jul 2013
Comments: 4

Do More of What Makes You #Awesomesauce

While it is easy to become discouraged with your own resources and talents when you assemble roughly 400 hand selected Apple Distinguished Educators in one place, it is important to remember this… what you do matters… It matters to your students, to fellow educators, and to the greater good.

Created with Recite This.Com

Created with Recite This.Com

I truly wrestled and struggled with this post for almost a week. How does one share and reflect on the week at the institute while at the same time staying true to the purpose and vision of of their blog… which is ultimately a platform to share creativity and technology resources with personality and posh that can easily be digested and replicated. (yes, I realize that was a bit of a mouthful… and a run-on sentence).

I think Reshan Richards was on the right track when he said, “I don’t think I can articulate it in a way that people who weren’t there would understand”. Thus I would rather share the essence of the week which I believe can be summed up with this iTunes U course developed by five Apple Distinguished Educators (Christine DiPaulo, Brandon Kari, Jason Kathman, Ben Mountz, and John Waldie).

The incredibly thorough and thought-provoking course is intended for grades 9-20. The teacher’s notes say it best, “the true challenge is to introduce the unit and get out of the way to allow students to arrive at their own conclusions, ask reflective questions” and ultimately create their own story. The 18 week course includes:

  • articles on writing and establishing a personal brand statement
  • artistic ventures in designing your own logo
  • photography assignments on personal artifacts
  • thoughtful detail to resume and presentation design
  • research on the etymology of your name
  • online publishing (e.g. Linkedin, About.Me) and connecting with social media

iAm: A Brand Called Me - iTunes U course

While the course itself is developed for grades 9-20, anyone can benefit from a metacognitive journey to discover their own professional brand. My dear friend, Rafranz Davis, mentioned she struggled with defining herself and was thrilled to embark on her own journey to be the CEO of Me.

Knowing who you are and what you bring to the table is empowering. – Rafranz Davis

Follow @RafranzDavis

I think the take-away here, is that everyone has a unique personality and perspective… and deserves a voice. Fortunate to be selected and blessed to meet all of the amazing and distinguished educators along the week, I will leave you with a little ed tech fortune cookie.

Discover what drives your passion and makes you awesome and then share it with the world… because your message and voice matters!

Created with Recite This.Com

Created with Recite This.Com

Interested in becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2015? This video speaks to the heart of the mission.


Interactive TechChef Thinglink

Check out the new Chic Geek iJewelry line!

1,100+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Spring PD and Workshops:

“Student-Created Books in the iClassroom” iTunes U course is now available!!!

18 Nov 2011
Comments: 1

iPodsibilities 4 Preschool Primary: Episode 11

This is a supplement to “Appy Hours 4 You” Blog Talk Radio Show: Episode 11 – “iPodsibilities 4 Preschool Primary“. In this episode we were joined by Two Tech Chicks (Apple Distinguished Educators, Killeen ISD educators, and hosts of their own Tech Chick Tips show in iTunes). They highlighted multiple apps that support literacy in the preschool/primary setting as well as useful tips for how to use QR codes and iBooks with young students. They were also kind enough to share their recommended list of free apps and podcasts (freeiPodTouchResourcesElem) for elementary with the techchef4u patrons.

Visit their blog, wikispace, Facebook page, and Tech Chick Tips podcast series for more “tips and tricks for gadgets and software for your digital life”

Stream this week’s episode or download it in iTunes directly. 

Listen to internet radio with Techchef4u on Blog Talk Radio


Yes, we are now available in iTunes (search for “appy hours 4 u” or “techchef4u”)

Check out “HOT Apps 4 Literacy” for more free ELAR apps and iLesson resources.

06 Nov 2011
Comments: 0

So Many Apps, So Little Time…

Time for an Appy Hour of grand proportions. Came across this site last night via Twitter and had to share it. It is a beautifully crafted site created by ADE educators. Apps are sorted by preschool (e.g. animals, drawing, math, etc…), themes (e.g. math, language arts, social studies, reference, tools, etc…), multiple intelligences, and bloom’s taxonomy. I quickly added it to my “iPad Recommended Educational App Lists” page (seen below) and plan to spend some quality time with their section on bloom’s taxonomy for our HOT Apps 4 HOTS workshop being presented at TCEA 2012. Thanks for the iNSPIRATION!

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