George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Students sitting together working on their laptops

Creation-based tasks promote higher-order thinking, encourage collaboration, and connect students to real-world learning. Whether you're teaching in a project-based learning classroom, engaging students with authentic assessments, or committed to pushing students to analyze and synthesize, providing opportunities for creation is a must.

Students who are "making" to demonstrate their learning can produce content that is shareable and valuable. Their creations can be geared toward a specific audience and viewed outside of the classroom. The sense of purpose that students have as creators can be leveraged to increase engagement and get learners of all ages excited about content.

There are a handful of dynamic iPad apps that can turn your students into creators. This doesn't happen magically when they launch the apps. Combined with thoughtful planning, rigorous tasks, and clear expectations, your students can create powerful products that show you -- and the world -- what they've learned.

Book Creator

What better way to have students show their understanding of a topic than to write a book about it? Using Book Creator, students from kindergarten through high school can demonstrate their understanding of butterflies, ancient Rome, or the scientific method by creating their own iBook. This app gives students just enough options to make it friendly for young learners and dynamic for older students.

Shadow Puppet Edu

This narrated slideshow app is perfect for student creators across the content areas. If you've heard me speak about my favorite apps, I'm always stressing quality over quantity. Shadow Puppet Edu can be used for tasks in all subjects and is especially useful in younger grades. The combination of voice recording and images promotes speaking skills and is a great choice for classrooms with students of mixed abilities.

Explain Everything

A list of creation apps would not be complete without a mention of this powerful iPad app. Explain Everything is already used in classrooms across the world because of its creation potential. Students can record their voices in this screencasting app and produce content that demonstrates their understanding of a topic -- and can be easily shared with authentic audiences.

Adobe Voice

Adobe Voice is one of my favorite apps to share with teachers in workshops, because the classroom applications for this storytelling tool are immediately apparent. Users of any age can combine images, icons, text, and music with their own voices. It keeps students in a closed ecosystem where they can easily search for the perfect picture to add to their presentation. The final product is of such a high quality that you might not imagine how easy it is to use until you dive in.


Students live in a world where they must make meaning from a variety of media. Gathering information from websites and videos is the new normal for students, and it's crucial that we prepare them to navigate the digital landscape. Thinglink gives children the ability to layer media on top of an image, turning them into curators of resources. These might be video clips that are connected to information about different parts of the digestive system, or maybe links to deeper information about Brazil placed on top of a map of the country.

Buncee for Edu

With this creation app, students can make a variety of digital creations straight from their iPad. They can build a presentation or tell a story with a single or multiple slides. The interface is kid-friendly, and Buncee for Edu makes it simple to share final creations with classmates or a larger audience.


I'm a big fan of the Apple iOS apps for student creators. Pages has tons of templates for students looking to create a variety of content. Whether they start from scratch or work from a pre-made design, students can make professional-quality products that show what they've learned about a particular topic. This app gives them plenty of options for customizing content -- and it's easy to use on an iPad.

I've highlighted some of my favorite iPad apps for student creators. Add your favorites (and share how you use them) in the comments section below!

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Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Design/Broadcast Media teacher

Great list, Monica! I just started playing with Adobe Voice and Book Creator, and I know my students will love them. Our district is going 1:1 iPads in the fall, so we're trying to figure out which apps will work best for us. My 8th graders use Google Drawing a lot, but it isn't available on iPads yet. Do you know which app is the closest to Drawing? Our students create magazines, and we love how they can design and print the ads and covers of their magazines in Google Drawing.

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of

Hi Laura! You may want to check out Drawp for School or Buncee EDU for drawing options. They can also create illustrations in an app like Drawing with Carl and add their screenshots to Book Creator and Adobe Voice.

djgagnon's picture

Our team at UW Madison has been working with a bunch of educators using, a platform for making location based narratives and games. We also have been having a TON of luck with for creating little citizen science / citizen ethnography challenges. Check them out if you want to see some different options.

nwteacher's picture

I love the ideas but neither school nor I use Apple products. Do you have ideas for androids and non-Apple devices?

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of

Great question! Book Creator is available on Android and Windows tablets too. Another creation tool worth checking out is ThingLink. It's a web browser based tool and has an Android app.

Dr. Reshan Richards's picture
Dr. Reshan Richards
Teacher, Researcher, and Developer

Hi! Reshan here! Explain Everything is available for Android, Windows, and (brand new) Chromebooks!

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of

Hi Reshan! Can't wait to see Explain Everything on Chromebooks!

Billy Gargaro's picture

This is a great article - but I was very disappointed because the picture featured Chromebooks so I was expecting tools to use with my Chromebooks (as we are a 1:1 Chrome school). Then I got in the article and only 2 of the tools are even available in the chrome web store - all of the links are for iTunes. :( Sad

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Engagement Manager

We do our best to find images that line up with the post's subject matter, but until we no longer have to rely on stock photos, it'll be an imperfect process. If there's something in particular you're looking for, let us know--we'll see if we can find an Android alternative for you.

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