APP-smash: the Ben Bloom fist in the SAMR glove.

This is a section of a project that I am working on with Apple right now as part of the Apple Distinguished Educator program.  As part of the project I am exploringImage the relationship between three important concepts that support student empowerment within the 21st century digital classroom Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy,  Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model, and Gregory Kulowiec’s invention of the APP-smash.  Also, the work of Allan Carrington(Padagogy Wheel) and Kathy Schrock(Bloomin Apps/Interlocking Cogs) in combination with the three aforementioned concepts helped me develop my own new visual model to help educators think about best practice for technology in the 21st century classroom. 

I finished working on some of the artwork for the book last weekend and I am so pleased with the work that my graphic artist did that I simply had to share out in a blog post because I could not wait to share these ideas and relative visuals with the world.  I call the model APP-smash: the Ben Bloom fist in the SAMR glove.


Now allow me to orient you to what you are seeing.  The Ben Bloom fist is obviously labeled with various verbs that make up Bloom’s taxonomy.  When I design an APP smash I like to begin with the end of mind.  I don’t start out by saying to my students I want you to make a project about the periodic table using Explain Everything, iMoive, and Aurasma.  I approach the APP-smash from a backward design model AKA Grant Wiggins where I set the educational goals first.  It is okay to have more than one learning goal in an APP-smash… our kids are multi-taskers and they can handle it.  So my goal could be that I want students to compare and contrast the early and modern periodic tables in my chemistry class.  Then once I articulate the learning goal to my students we can mutually decide which APPS would be good for the project. 

 The Ben Bloom fist is not a hierarchy

I think it is dangerous to put teachers and students in boxes.  It stunts creativity.  That is why you see five parts of Bloom’s model displayed in an equitable way on the hand.  Speaking with other educators about how they APP-smash when working on my book I found that their apps they were using in the smash were like pieces of a puzzle that all fit together in an interlocking manner.  Students may be doing research in Easy Bib at the beginning of an APP-smash in order to remember but that will lead to them applying that research to create a visual in Paper or Keynote at a point further on in the APP-smash.  Each piece action verb related to the learning outcome + each app selected to support that outcome are equally important in contributing to the big picture which is student empowerment and ownership of the learning process.  Also, please notice that I have a few carefully selected apps in my model.  When is comes to technology integration I am a believer that less is more – APP-smashing is not about using a multitude of apps.


Why is Creating in the Glove and not the Hand? 

Well as the students are getting their hands dirty with the content in the APP-smash they are always creating as they put their hands on all types of cognitive experiences(analyzing, applying, etc.).  This is related to Kathy Schrok’s ideas when she Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy in 2012.  Creating as the boxing glove is not to say that creating is superior to remembering or understanding because that is not the case.  Any time the student puts their hands on the iPad to work within the app-smash they are sticking a finger into the glove of creativity.  And oh my stars it is an amazing glove to try on with your students.


Why the SAMR glove?

In Allan Carrington’s Padagogy Wheel he has the SAMR model as a filter floating on the outside of the APPS.  He also makes the point that when you combine learning outcomes, as we do in an APP-smash you create a stronger learning experience.  I include the SAMR model as the lacing of the glove for the benefit of the teachers to help them reflect upon their own instructional practice.  When you are having your students app-smash in the classroom it is never a neat little package with pretty bows on it.  In fact, it is quite the opposite:  APP-smashing in a classroom can look like a hot mess.  It can look like total chaos.  However, once the students complete their final product that is a good time for the teacher to use the SAMR model as a means of reflecting upon the learning experience.   All the APP-smashes that have been described to me while I have been doing my research with other educators incorporate: substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition into innovative learning experiences.  If you are a teacher who is brave and courageous enough to APP-smash in your classroom and I hope you do: use the SAMR as a reflective piece at the end and you will see that your students did indeed redefine their own learning experience.  That is the time to pat yourself on the back.  That is why I selected the rungs of the SAMR model as the lacing that ties everything together at the end.  It is certainly a great time to be alive, a great time to be a teacher, and an even better time to be a student in a 21st century APP-smashing classroom.


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