Common Sense


Arts and Creativity Tools Backed by Research

A lot of tech tools claim to have learning benefits, but how do teachers know what's the real deal? One way is to look for either tech that's inspired by the latest research into learning, pedagogy, and instructional design or tech that's been evaluated by researchers. It's not always easy to find this information, so we've curated a list of arts, creativity, and tech-skills apps, games, and websites that fit the bill. 

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Social Stories

Quick and simple behavior-reinforcement tool for kids with autism

Bottom line: Teachers will find this an efficient way to engage their students in understanding and creating social stories.


Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool

Bottom line: With plenty of time and support, Scratch can help kids of all ages learn essential programming concepts.


Fabulous tool can help kids create social stories

Bottom line: Pictello is a great way for kids to create social stories that can help them find their unique voice and prepare for internal and external struggles.


Amazingly powerful audio workstation unleashes creativity

Bottom line: There's exceptional functionality in this solid, all-inclusive audio workstation that's fantastic for high-quality, anytime, and anywhere audio recording and sharing.


Spiraling sandbox of adventure and creation gets kids to dig deep

Bottom line: An irresistible and seemingly limitless incubator for 21st-century skills that, with a little guidance, can chart new courses for learning.


Clever animated hosts Tim and Moby masterfully tackle complex topics

Bottom line: Cartoon videos in this extensive collection break down ideas in clever and thoughtful ways.

Gamestar Mechanic

Captivating manga romp teaches kids game design

Bottom line: This terrific and affordable toolset teaches kids how to design games and shows teachers how to use games to teach.


Sandbox tool enables engaged, conceptual physics inquiry

Bottom line: A robust, free pedagogical tool that's like a digital workbench where kids build and apply conceptual science knowledge.

LittleBigPlanet 2

Accessible yet deep game creator will dazzle and challenge

Bottom line: A deeply charming experience for teachers and students interested in pushing boundaries, making things, and participating in a healthy community focused on boundless creativity.

Animoto Video Slideshow Maker

Slick video slide-show tool lets kids tell stories and share them

Bottom line: Anything that happens during school can be turned into an engaging video slide show.

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