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Saturday, January 3, 2015

App Smackdown in #digcit class

As I dove deeper into our Digital Literacy Unit in #digcit class, I sat up at 1:30 in the morning and said YES! I so want to do an App Smash in class.  I've been to many #edcamps, and finally had the courage to participate in the appsmack down after the third one and knew just how valuable the process and the product were to both my personal and professional learning.

After I mulled over how the students would react to participating in an App Smash, I decided to take the plunge.  What's the worst that could happen?  A little whining.  No worries, I got this!

As I suspected, there was no whining, there was a competition to see claim apps and extensions before anyone else could.  We created a Google Slides presentation so the students could work on it at the same time and from anywhere they chose to.

The criteria for the assignment was basically the same as an #edcamp.  Show us an app or extension that you think will be useful to us as we work our way through the rest of the school year.  It has to have applicability beyond just this class and you have 2 minutes to present it.

I prepared a Google Sheets survey so the class could answer three questions for each presenter.
1. Was this presentation helpful to you?
2. Do you see applicability for this app/extension?
3. Is this the winner?

The winner of the Smackdown (based on the students voting) would receive a $20 gift card to Dunkin Donuts.  I'm not sure how your town is with Dunkin, but that is like gold in our town.

The day of the Smackdown, the Superintendent and my Principal participated in the audience voting.  As a side note, this was the Superintendent's first experience with Google Sheets and the survey and he was blown away that I could put the survey together in a matter of minutes and find the results in a matter of seconds.

Anyway.. back to the day of the Smackdown.  The students brought their A game and I learned a ton that day about apps and extensions that I didn't know about and ones that I had forgotten about.  It was fast paced learning and everyone was ohhhhhhing and ahhhhhhing.  Even though they have the Google Slides presentation, they were trying to download apps and extensions as they learned about from the presentations.

When we finished the Smackdown, several of my students commented that they now understand what I mean when I say I get a learning concussion when I'm at an #edcamp.  I'll take that as a success!!

BTW... the winner of the Smackdown is a student who struggles in school and you should have seen the smile on his face and how he was walking on cloud 9 for the rest of that week.  It gave him an extra source reinforcing that he can do this and that if he applies himself, he can work magic.  I tell him this on a regular basis, but I really believe that until the student experiences the success for himself on a regular basis, it is tough (by the time they reach high school) to undo all of the negative experiences they have had in school thus far.

I've included the Google Slides presentation ( and plan to use it as I present apps and extensions at our upcoming #edcamp.

*All images are either cited or labeled for reuse (another digital literacy skill)


  1. Wow, this is a phenomenal idea! Love the student-driven exploration and presentation to one another. Thanks for sharing!