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Apps and Websites for Makers and Creators

The maker movement has gained steam in recent years, fueled by Make magazine and its Maker Faires. Hands-on creation, however, has a long history in education, from the arts and crafts movement to technical education and shop class to the hacker culture that spawned Apple, Microsoft, and more. Now we're seeing hands-on activities such as robotics, electronics, carpentry, and even software development become a bigger part of schools -- some are even building "makerspaces." There's no doubt that making something from scratch is a core component of learning, requiring confidence, imagination, and ingenuity while building conceptual understanding. Maker and DIY-focused apps and websites can be a huge help, providing students with scaffolding and schematics for their next project or as tools to use for design and creation. 

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MoMA Art Lab

Interactive projects, cool prompts, and famous works inspire creation

Bottom line: The overall experience is very open-ended, making it easy to bounce between creating and exploring art.

Workbench

Find and assign STEAM tasks with dynamic project-based learning hub

Bottom line: Dynamic resource for finding, creating, and rating lessons that support STEAM and PBL.

littleBits Invent

Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly

Bottom line: Easy-to-use, versatile electronic invention set that works wirelessly with your hand-held device.

Wizard School

Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning

Bottom line: There's plenty of material to inspire kids to embark on learning adventures that get them to explore, create, and share safely on the screen and off.

3D Slash

Minecraft-like 3D modeling (and printing) made super easy for all ages

Bottom line: This may be the fastest, cheapest route from idea to 3D printing out there, if you don't mind low-res, pixelated designs.

Curiosity Machine

Kids build, share, receive pro feedback with awesome engineering site

Bottom line: Though it may not be an instant fit for your classroom, the exceptional quality of the site’s projects and processes makes it worth any problem solving.

Design Squad Global

Fun engineering problems encourage classroom competition, innovation

Bottom line: Design Squad Global makes learning STEAM concepts fun through hands-on activities and easy-to-understand scientific explanations.

DIY

Design, build, and share new things offline and online

Bottom line: DIY motivates kids to tackle a wide range of problems with independent and scientific thinking.

KidsThinkDesign

Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun

Bottom line: A go-to site for teachers looking for well-presented project ideas; kids will need opportunities to share work locally.

Made with Code

Enticing projects and inspiring videos offer anyone an intro to coding

Bottom line: Solid intro to coding with diverse projects geared toward tween/teen girls; sets foundation to explore deeper level coding and logic activities.

Science Buddies

A magic wand for those seeking science project support and success

Bottom line: Take the jitters out of science or engineering projects and fairs; this remarkable site coaches and supports students, parents, and teachers.

Autodesk Design Academy

Outstanding project-based tutorials for popular engineering software

Bottom line: The projects found here are a great way to teach and learn digital design; all are truly fantastic (and free!), with everything you need ready to go.

Instructables

Endless collection of DIY projects; good for sharing and inspiration

Bottom line: User-generated projects inspire sharing and learning, though more refined navigation would make it easier to sift through all the great ideas.

SketchUp

Make learning meaningful through 3D design

Bottom line: SketchUp is a fantastic, subject-agnostic tool that does take time to learn but helps students gain truly useful, transferable skills.

Tinkercad

Amazingly simple yet powerful and flexible online CAD tool

Bottom line: A big step forward in making 3-D design more accessible and social.

Make: Online

Fuel creative makers with project ideas, reviews, and community

Bottom line: Excellent DIY resource that empowers kids to learn by making and experimenting.

Grafio 3 - Diagrams & ideas

Flexible app transforms sketches into pro-level designs and diagrams

Bottom line: A terrific choice for creating simple diagrams or presentations on iOS.

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