Top Pick

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. 

Social Stories Publisher: PufferFish Software Inc.
Quick and simple behavior-reinforcement tool for kids with autism
Grades Pre-K-5
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Scratch Visit Website: http://scratch.mit.edu/
Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Pictello Publisher: AssistiveWare
Fabulous tool can help kids create social stories
Grades 1-5
Type App
Price $18.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
GarageBand Publisher: Apple
Amazingly powerful audio workstation unleashes creativity
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac Apps
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Minecraft Publisher: Mojang
Spiraling sandbox of adventure and creation gets kids to dig deep
Grades 3-12
Type Game
Price $26.95 for desktop, $19.99 for consoles (except Wii U at $29.99)
Platforms Linux, Mac, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
BrainPop Visit Website: http://www.brainpop.com
Clever animated hosts Tim and Moby masterfully tackle complex topics
Grades 4-8
Type Website
Price From $220
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Gamestar Mechanic Publisher: Institute of Play and E-Line Media
Captivating manga romp teaches kids game design
Grades 4-9
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Algodoo Publisher: Algoryx
Sandbox tool enables engaged, conceptual physics inquiry
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say
LittleBigPlanet 2 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Accessible yet deep game creator will dazzle and challenge
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price 19.99
Platforms PS3
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Animoto Video Slideshow Maker Publisher: Animoto Inc.
Slick video slide-show tool lets kids tell stories and share them
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Chrome
Common Sense says
Teachers say