Engage students with tools that inspire creativity and build skills.

As more classrooms move toward one-to-one tech integration, students and teachers are adopting new apps and software that enable them to become more productive. Often, when we think about these productivity apps, many of us think about the plethora of great note-taking and calendar apps available that help keep our students organized -- but have we thought about integrating apps that allow students to work more creatively?

Luckily for us, numerous apps encourage student creativity while helping them accomplish important class projects and assignments. Whether you teach music, art, English, or math (or any other subject, for that matter), using a productivity tool that allows your students to be creative is sure to increase engagement and support their application of content.

Presentation tools that pop!

Although PowerPoint and Keynote are strong presentation tools, there are some other great alternatives that don't require lecturing in front of slides. These tools, including Adobe Spark Video (Editor's note: This product is no longer available.) and Office Sway, allow students to engage their audiences through multimedia elements such as video, voice, and text -- but the best part is that students can easily share their presentations with peers via social media, email, or web/blog posts.

Posters with pow!

The poster has been the tried-and-true, go-to project forever -- but in the digital age, florescent poster board and glitter glue no longer make the cut. Fortunately, some apps take the concept of the poster and provide opportunities for students to be creative while engaging in some serious real-world skills. Challenge students to create infographics using Piktochart, advertisements using Adobe Spark Post, and jazzed-up posters using Smore.

Portfolios with panache!

Students should be as accountable for their learning as we are -- after all, it is their education. We know that when students are able to apply and showcase their skills, they make deeper connections with the content. Portfolios can be a great tool to help engage students more fully with the skills and concepts they learn in class. Not only do portfolios help students see their progress throughout the year, they also serve as a place where revision can happen and final projects can be proudly showcased. And, as you may have guessed, multiple digital portfolio tools are just waiting to be implemented in your classroom. Encourage students to build a portfolio online: Try using Adobe Portfolio for a slick-looking professional layout or Pathbrite for an easy-to-use multimedia portfolio.

Productivity tools don't have to be boring. Jump-start your students' creativity, engagement, and, yes, productivity today. And if you're using some great tools in class, share them with us in the comments, and don't forget to share a teacher review.

Michelle  N.

An alumna of Lebanon Valley College, Michelle lives and works in the community she grew-up in. Currently, she teaches Humanities and Film as Art, serves as the director of the 21st Century after-school program, and coaches the J.V. softball team, all at Lebanon High School. Prior to teaching, Michelle served as the Director of Community Relations for the Lebanon School District where she worked to enhance the image of the district, and wrote a number of successful grant applications that fund before and after-school opportunities for city youth.

When she is not teaching or working with students, Michelle enjoys reading, writing and trying new things. Most recently she learned to mush a dogsled team, and has learned to SCUBA dive and rock climb. Her future plans include learning to kayak, and finishing her Master’s Degree in Urban Education.