George Lucas Educational Foundation

Top iPad Apps for Student Creativity

Top iPad Apps for Student Creativity

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My school is currently 1:1 iPads in Grades 1, 4, and 5, and next year we're expanding that to include Grades 2 and 3. Like most schools, we went through a phase where we tried out LOTS of different apps, but over time, we whittled those down into our Core Apps, ones that are flexible and powerful enough to be used in every subject all day long. One of the keys for me is that these apps can be used by students to CREATE things, not just consume things. Here are our favorites:

  • Explain Everything. If you can only get one app for your iPad, GET THIS ONE. This is an amazing screen casting tool that's simple enough to learn that First graders use it and rich enough that students at our high school make frequent use of it. There are a lot of great screen casting apps out there, but this one is the most feature-rich.
  • iMovie. You want to your kids to make great movies? Get iMovie. This was totally worth the $5 when it was first released, and it's even better now that it's free for new devices. It has a super-simple Trailer mode that you can use to introduce many elements of digital storytelling to students and also a strong project mode that can be used to create full-length masterpieces.
  • Book Creator for iPad. Super-easy interface for creating rich ePub books that can include audio AND video in addition to text and images. Again, a tool that's simple for the younger students yet capable of creating something much more in the hands of an older student.

The great thing is that use can use these apps in tandem, so an Explain Everything can be put into iMovie (or vice versa) and then they can be put into Book Creator.

While those three are essential, there's also some really great apps that can fill niche or support roles in your creativity workflow. Current favorites:

  • Drawing Pad. A super-nice art app aimed at the elementary set. Substitute ArtRage for older students. Great for making pictures that fit into the other apps.
  • Green Screen by DoInk. It's a green screen app that just works. My students have been loving this one.
  • Strip Designer. Create great-looking comics. Best paired with Drawing Pad for making really nice pictures.
  • Blokify. If you have a 3D Printer, this is a great way to introduce some early 3D modeling that can be printed!

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

Comments (5) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

What are some of YOUR favorite apps to have students use to create in the classroom?

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Ive had kids shoot video with the ipads, and even make little PSA's in iMovie; the flash card app is great for spelling words or math facts; and there are several great apps that mimic Kidspiration for doing mind maps, but that often skews a little older.
For middle schoolers, some classes I know have a designated note taker- using Audionote would capture written notes and audio of the class for anyone who is absent.

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

So many apps, so little time. I like to use Popplet lite as a great way to mind map and brainstorm.

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

Here are a couple of lists that we've highlighted at Edutopia: (mentions Toontastic, Book Creator, TinkerBox HD, 123D Sculpt and more)

This is a great post all about using apps to make movies:

And here's a list of all of the blogs we've written on apps:

Carrie's picture
Elementary technology teacher

I'm glad to see many we use listed above. I like to use Pic Collage for various projects in 2nd-6th classrooms. We've created everything from poetry and writing samples to science and social studies vocabulary definitions, "All about Me" (without names to guess who), sorting and classifying groups of items, study reviews, and so on. It's an easy way to integrate text, photos, image web searches, and more into a collage to show understanding and allow for creativity.

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