Our app-smashing series The Chemistry of Combos has proven hugely popular and so I decided it was time to share a few more app combos with you all. This time I’m not alone though...
Back when I originally started this series in 2014, the jump off point was the old Streetfighter game and my love of the amazing combos in it when I was a kid. It stayed with the series via the logos. I recently started thinking about adding a new addition to the series but didn't want to just crank out the same thing. So I cast my mind back to Streetfighter and how that game evolved. Then it hit me - tag teams.
You see Streetfighter started incorporating a team mechanic wherein you could bring different characters in and out of the match. It also led to some crazy, unique combos between the characters as they switched in and out! So I figured let's try something like that this time.
I've recruited my good friend and fellow ADE Sabba Quidwai from California as my tag team partner and we're going to combo some apps internationally. Each of us will take a turn to start a combo and then the other will complete it in their own chosen method. We’re using Google Docs to share the ideas.
Could be a lot of fun. Might get messy. Only one way to find out.
360 Cities (A) +Tellagami (C) + Thinglink (P) Steve : I've used 360 Cities recently as a part of a World Explorers project in Year 2 (check out this issue of UKED Magazine for a full article on the project!) This simple VR style app allows students to feel like they are somewhere else as they take in panoramic pictures from around the globe. As they do this, I would get them to snap screenshots as virtual tourists.
Sabba: One of the greatest advantages afforded to us by the Internet is being able to explore places we may otherwise have never seen or known existed! In this game have students guess the location. Tag the image using ThingLink with trivia, historical significance or even a video and see who is able to guess where in the world you are. One of the tags on the student's image should be a video made with Tellagami sharing the name of the location so they can see if they guessed correctly and some tips and tricks for visiting the location.
Steve: Sounds good - just beware that the screengrab from 360 Cities will need a quick trim via the Photos app to remove the name of the location!
Photo Funia (C) + iMovie (C) + Aurasma (P) Steve: Photo Funia is a free app that allows you to do some cool stuff with your photos (or just text) like put them on the cover of a magazine, billboard, art gallery wall or even more unusual choices like a tattoo! Not explicitly intended as a learning tool, it still makes for a great way to generate creative writing prompts. For example:
Sabba: Creating video broadcasts can be an exciting way to share stories from the classroom or from across campus with your wider school community. Bring your newsletters to life using Aurasma to have your audience watch your story come to life. You can even have students cover local and global current events to spark conversations on important issues across the world.
Epic Citadel(A) + Tellagami (C) + Green Screen by Do Ink (C) Steve: I've been loving Do Ink's green screen app lately. If we were to end a combo with this, what could you put at the start of the chain to create the content that the students would end up chroma keyed onto/into?
Sabba: Remember when Becky and I did a remote presentation for you on iTunesU? We really wanted the opening scene where we were introducing ourselves to have both of us in the frame taking turns talking with the beach in the back to represent Southern California The only way were were able to do this was by using this brilliant combo. We recorded two separate Tellagami videos - one with a green fill backdrop and stitched it all together in DoInk.
Steve: It was brilliant and I'd never seen it done before! Maybe we could even appear topgether virtually at some point? Maybe in Epic Citadel...
(Yep I just tagged on an extra one !)
YAKit Kids (C) + Explain Everything (C) + SeeSaw (P) Steve: YAKit lets you add a mouth to a photo and give it a voice. The twist here is that you can manipulate more than one mouth in a scene. Ok so this is a double challenge for you Sabba! What app could I use to composite two historical figures together to use in YAKit then where could I export the narrated video clip too afterwards?
Sabba: Explain Everything is the first that comes to mind, as it would allow you a great deal of flexibility in manipulating the characters and the setting. It would be awesome to perhaps use this to have the historical figures telling a story from their perspective, taking readers on a virtual field trip of sorts.
To end off, SeeSaw is a great place for students to share, reflect, like and comment as they appreciate each other’s work. Have the class vote on the top three and with the new SeeSaw blog feature you can highlight the best pieces.
Google Earth (A) + Book Creator (P) Steve: I've been putting some funky stuff together in the last few weeks using Google Earth in Year 2. To be honest, this has mostly been done via the desktop application but I have incorporated the app with the less able students. The streamlined interface and touchscreen controls actually make it easier to harness! One task that we have been working on is a hunt for world landmarks with the 3D buildings layer turned on. The students then take a picture/screengrab of the landmark as if they were there for real with a camera.
Sabba: This sounds like a great lesson, with them being in all these different parts of the world, Im thinking what if they told the story of an aspect of life in the country, for example a day at school in...
As they virtually travel the world, they will create a book collecting the images and facts they have learned about the landmarks. If they each chose a different topic, they could merge the pages into one collaborative class book.
BioDigital Human (A) + Memoria (C) Steve: Ok it’s your turn to try one in reverse. I’m choosing Memoria from PopAppFactory as the destination app. What takes Memoria beyond traditional matching pairs apps is the ability to design your own sets of cards using your own images. This really does elevate it and if used creatively, can make for a really useful learning tool…
Sabba: This immediately makes me think of our first year students who take a semester of anatomy. It’s full of so many different parts of the body that they need to memorize. One of their favorite anatomy apps is BioDigital Human. The images are really fantastic and they could screenshot these to bring into Memoria to create review games for not only themselves but their peers as well.
Post-It Plus (C) + Nearpod (P) + Paper53 (C)
Steve: I've recently stumbled across this great little app from the company behind Post Its that lets you capture and manipulate a digital set of Post Its. So let's say students start by brainstorming a project. Their ideas are captured in Post It Plus. Now what?
Added rule - you're not allowed to choose Explain Everything! LOL
Sabba: This year we started orientation by introducing students to the design thinking framework. We used the design thinking module from Nearpod and changed the design challenge to having students redesign their partners learning routine given the added layer of technology. This is really a fantastic lesson and the Post It App you mention is a great starting point for having students brainstorm ideas. Nearpod then guides them through the entire design thinking process. They can take the ideas from the Post-It Notes and create drafts of their prototype using Paper53 as they ideate.
Moviestorm (C) + SnapChat (P) Steve: I think this could be the year where Moviestorm makes a bigger splash in the edu arena. Though the app is far simpler than the core software package, it still offers a more advanced avatar creation and recording platform than more commonly used apps like Tellagami. I even chose it for my App Wars project.
Sabba: Lately I’ve been really intrigued by how brands have been using Snapchat. Snapchat has a feature called “Discover.” Discover enables media companies to engage with users by posting summaries of their content. Swiping your finger left or right changes the story and sliding your finger up shows the full video or article posted by the brand. With short videos being a popular medium, it would be interesting to have teachers create a “Discover” clip of their work to share with other teachers to view what's happening in their classrooms using Moviestorm. Visits to see what other teachers are doing is often cited as a great form of professional development, but how often can teachers get out visiting one another. These short videos could be a great alternative and if they want to learn more they can explore any accompanying blog posts. These videos can be private and shared with only those whom they wish to share it with. Additionally they could be posted on any social media to be shared with the world.
Steve: ok so my current app obsession is Answer Garden (which I spotlighted a couple of weeks ago) - an awesome little app that allows students to collaboratively build word clouds. How about this: students build a word cloud of adjectives for a character based on a image of a random person. Answer Garden does not have an export/save option but you could screen grab the completed word cloud... Now what?
Sabba: I’m excited about the new collaborative whiteboard app from Explain Everything. One option may be to have students do some collaborative storytelling. Students can screenshot the word cloud and then collaborate on a screencast to tell a story about the character. They can take turns crossing off the words as they use them, each getting one word to use per turn.
Replay (C) + Padlet (P) Steve: Mark Anderson switched me on to the Replay video app last year and it is so much fun to use. with it you can create amazing animated slideshows in a matter of seconds and it has a vast bank of styles, fonts, music tracks and more to help you enhance your project, It's definitely one of the best video creation apps out there right now.
The wide choice of music and stylistic touches like filters and graphic effects provide great scope for using it in a range of classroom activities.
Sabba: What really strikes me about an app like this is that you can capture an entire process and then decide which images and videos to use to create a highlight story. I love how the app so quickly builds something so creative with minimal effort. Oftentimes words don't always do our projects justice. For example, this year our physician assistant students at USC have built a partnership with a local elementary school where they are pen pals. Twice a year they go into the classes to do an activity that teaches the students about the medical profession, health and wellness. A one liner on a resume could never bring to life that experience, however a short video made with Replay could allow the viewer greater insight into the impact they had.
Steve: I agree. So what would you do with the video from Replay?
Sabba: More and more I find myself having students create these kinds of highlight videos to use in portfolios. SeeSaw is always a favorite with all age groups, but I also think this could be great to share the different accomplishments on a social platform like LInkedIn. These videos would serve as an excellent way to share your work as it is these snapshots into a project or experience that can incite curiosity in the viewer allowing them to dive deeper to learn more about you. As an added bonus, these types of videos are always great opportunities to talk about digital citizenship and fair use of images, gaining consent of people being photographed and music rights.
Steve: I like the angle here when it comes to students not far from the workplace. I'd probably have them submit via a shared platform first though so that you can review their content and presentation. Something like Padlet would be great for this. It would also allow them to compare and contrast with their peers and pick up some tips and tricks. Educators could even post guiding questions and feedback.
AFTERWORD: Sabba and I actually staring putting this together about eight months ago. So many other exciting projects developed on the site though that we put it on the back burner. Glad we finally got a chance to share it with you all.
It was really interesting to see how we viewed the concepts of app smashing and app combos differently. It definitely led to some spirited debate over the months! Personally I always saw the app combos concept as the organic fusion of different apps to create new, vespoke content whereas Sabba sees it more as harnessing different apps within the same project/concept.
One thing is for sure though - we are both agreed that these combinations are as much suggestions for students as they are for educators. A recent article in the edtech world heavily criticised the concept of app smashing as it was geared towards all students creating the same content. Anyone who's been reading my features here on iPad Educators will know that the concept of App Autonomy is something that I have been promoting steadily over the last year. I'm actually chairing the first BETT Middle East event next month and have been asked to speak on this as a part of my opening remarks!
These combos are suggestions.
They are possibilities.
They are examples.
They are not templates.
By classifying the apps according to the A C P framework we've been playing around with for the last two years, we are trying to present options - for students to try for themselves as much as educators.
So by way of a conclusion, I'm going to refer back to the original analogy that this series was born from - the old Streetfighter games. If you were playing those games and always attacked in the same way, you would lose. Variety was key and as such mastery of the game came from dedicating time to learn more combinations of moves. Equipped with a versatile arsenal, you were far more likely to overcome any challenger that stood before you.
Thank you all for taking the time to join Sabba and I for this piece. As a token of my appreciation, here is a brand new version of my Chemistry of Combos app table from two years ago.