Common Sense


Best Arts Education Apps and Websites

Arts education can help students communicate their ideas and express themselves, whether inside or outside of an arts classroom. In fact, when fused with other subject areas, the arts can often come alive for students. In today's digital classrooms, what students create and how they create has never been more expansive, and with the rise of digital design and STEAM, students can use the arts to contextualize and demonstrate STEM learning (as well as humanities learning). Whether students are into traditional fine art, music, theater, dance, design, coding, or something else, digital creation tools offer students myriad opportunities to create and share whatever they can image. Explore the terrific tools on this list to find ways to empower your students to move from consumption to creation, and to make their voices and perspectives heard.

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Top Picks


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Podcast and Music Creation and Appreciation Tools


Captivating music creation app for young musicians

Bottom line: For iOS-infused preschool and kindergarten classrooms, this could be an excellent intro to electronic music.

Easy Music - Give kids an ear for music

Music-exploration app offers great balance of play and guidance

Bottom line: Great, easily accessible approach to building the foundations for musical literacy.

Piano Maestro by JoyTunes

Great sharing features help parents, teachers support piano practice

Bottom line: A cool way to get piano students, their teachers, and their parents on the same page, but it might need tweaking to remove some distractions.


Appealing, feedback-rich tool helps kids build core musical skills

Bottom line: Paired with great in-person instruction, this is a fabulous tool to boost musical skills.


Sharp music program has popular music, standards-based curriculum

Bottom line: Since it features a standards-based curriculum and good skills-building for students, this is worth a look for teachers.

iTooch Music

Charming visuals, challenging quizzes build solid musical knowledge

Bottom line: iTooch Music is a terrific reference and review tool for beginning to advanced music students.


Safe, collaborative space for creating and sharing original music

Bottom line: This useful, well-constructed music composition tool lets classrooms collaborate and comment on student-created songs.

The Orchestra

Stellar interactive features bring classical music vibrantly to life

Bottom line: A terrifically designed tool that invites students into the often unwelcoming world of classical music in a way that deepens appreciation and understanding of the complexities and beauties of the art form.


Podcasting app is super easy to use, if you can do it all in one take

Bottom line: There are few easier ways to publish a podcast, but that ease of use comes at the cost of one-take creation and few tools for post-production.

Auxy Studio - Music & Beat Maker

Loop beats like a pro with stellar music-maker

Bottom line: A stellar, approachable tool for constructing your very own digital beats and tracks.


Terrific composition tool empowers budding musicians to create, share

Bottom line: An excellent tool for writing and sharing musical creations.

Image, Photo, and Video Editing Tools


Movie editor will satisfy beginner and intermediate creators

Bottom line: Despite some limitations with editing, it's the perfect tool to get teachers and students started with digital video production.

Adobe Capture CC

Magical design tool extracts colors, patterns, and more from images

Bottom line: The rare combo of "wow" factor and utility, this tool help students recognize and use the designed world around them.

Photoshop Express Photo Editor

Top-notch photo editor helps perfect pics for creative projects

Bottom line: This is a powerful, free creation tool from the industry leader in photo editing.

Adobe Photoshop Mix - Cut out, combine, create

Impressive photo-editing app focuses on compositing, blending imagery

Bottom line: While it's tackling a slightly niche design need (blending, layering, compositing photos), Photoshop Mix is an incredible tool that makes these processes shockingly simple on mobile devices.

PicCollage Grid & Photo Editor

Versatile, intuitive, engaging collage maker yields impressive designs

Bottom line: With some privacy setup, and possibly upgrading to the paid version, this can be an excellent design tool for creating custom collages, teaching graphic design, layout, and photo editing.

PicMonkey Photo Editor Design

Reliable photo editor built for design and social sharing

Bottom line: A great, social media-friendly option for teaching teens design, layout, and photo editing, but the paid version is more competitive with other tools.


Extremely powerful photo editor will equally delight pros, amateurs

Bottom line: It successfully walks the fine line of photo-editing features, offering satisfying experiences for those making quick edits and those crafting perfect images.

Digital Design and Coding Tools

Codeable Crafts

Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks

Bottom line: Kids get a simple peek at computer programming principles by animating stories using their own creations.

Common Sense Selection

Google CS First

Middle school CS curriculum has stellar resources, room for creativity

Bottom line: A high-quality introductory CS curriculum where students can be creative, collaborate with others, and express themselves, in the classroom or at home.


Create snazzy designs in seconds with flexible, cloud-based tool

Bottom line: With stable internet access and enough time to get started, this is a flexible, accessible way to create beautiful designs in your classroom.


Unique puzzle game's artistic geometry rewards and frustrates

Bottom line: Play for the surprising geometry and beautiful art; consult the web or just walk away for a while when stuck.

The Noun Project

Think in pictures with vibrant visual language everyone can understand

Bottom line: It's a neat, well-executed concept with lots of possibilities for learning, imagining, and creating.

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.


Create snazzy video slideshows with simple, flexible features

Bottom line: Slick music videos and slideshows are easy to make, but students need more controls to personalize them.


Collaborative publishing and design tool has lots of options, templates

Bottom line: An easy-to-use mash-up of InDesign and Google Drive, Lucidpress fills a niche for publication creation and collaboration.

Adobe Spark

Super-flexible design tool for crafting fab images, videos, and sites

Bottom line: This one-stop shop for creating sleek graphics, web stories, and animated videos is incredibly easy to use and challenges students to think critically about visual presentation.

Grafio 3 - Diagram Maker

Flexible app transforms sketches into pro-level designs and diagrams

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

Drawing and Sketching Tools

Tayasui Sketches

Slick and satisfying illustration app on par with the competition

Bottom line: This tool, while a bit of an adjustment from pen and paper, gives students ample room to grow creatively.

Autodesk Sketchbook

Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art

Bottom line: Gives students easy access to professional tools for creating digital art.

Comprehensive Resources for Arts Education

Artsonia Kids Art Museum

Online art museum empowers students to exhibit, explain their work

Bottom line: A well-loved digital art museum that allows students to share work and reflect on their artistic process while helping teachers assess student understanding of artistic concepts.

Kennedy Center Education

Stellar content, practical tips for integrating arts into every subject

Bottom line: If you're willing to do some digging and prep, this is a terrific resource for integrating the arts across the curriculum.


Whimsical, kid-friendly intro to the wide world of art

Bottom line: A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art.

Tate Kids

Hands-on activities and explorations give the art world a splash of color

Bottom line: A wonderful site that really engages kids in the world of art and provides great inspirations.


Immersive virtual exhibit tool is attractive and versatile but fussy

Bottom line: For teachers and students who can invest the time, Artsteps provides a compelling, free option for presenting and exploring images and audio of any kind.

Common Sense Selection

Google Arts & Culture

Well-curated art and history site inspires curious learning

Bottom line: A beautifully presented one-stop shop for compellingly curated and contextualized art, history, and culture resources, but it's lacking educator supports.

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