Top Pick

Best Tech-Creation Tools

Students love to make and create to demonstrate what they're learning. However, teachers know that the creative process isn't just about having students demonstrate what they already know; it's also about getting students to construct mental models and learn through experience. By making things, students build meaning, work through problems, and acquire new knowledge and skills in context. There's built-in challenge to creation that gets students thinking in new ways while building their confidence. With this in mind, we've compiled this list of terrific tools for tech creation that offer a wide variety of engaging end products kids can create, from stories to animations to music to games. 

Video and Animation

Easy Studio Stop-Motion Studio Publisher: EDOKI ACADEMY
Ideal, easy-to-use way to help kids learn basic animation
Grades K-2
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Shadow Puppet Edu Publisher: Seesaw Learning Inc.
Resource-rich video slide-show maker a gem for a variety of classrooms
Grades 2-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Green Screen by Do Ink Publisher: DK Pictures, Inc.
Versatile, easy-to-use moviemaker yields great results
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Screencastify Visit Website: https://www.screencastify.com/
Easy screen-recording tool facilitates outside-the-box teaching
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Animoto Visit Website: http://animoto.com/
Create snazzy video slide shows with simple, flexible features
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Prezi Visit Website: http://prezi.com/
Stylish presentation creator with a unique 3D zooming effect
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3

Coding and Game Design

Scratch Visit Website: http://scratch.mit.edu/
Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
The Infinite Arcade by TinyBop Publisher: Tinybop
Simple game-design app has endless creative potential
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Games Publisher: Pixel Press Technology
Making games using physical cubes is fun, despite execution issues
Grades 2-7
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
littleBits Invent Publisher: littleBits Electronics Inc.
Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly
Grades 2-8
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
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 Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Google CS First Visit Website: https://www.cs-first.com
Middle school CS platform offers stellar resources, organizing tools
Grades 4-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Tynker Visit Website: http://www.tynker.com/
Cute, colorful coding platform caters to strong independent readers
Grades 3-8
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
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 Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Mozilla Thimble Visit Website: https://thimble.mozilla.org/
Inspiring platform teaches coding through remixing
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Ready Maker Publisher: Ready Makers, Inc.
Fun and easy game design yields surprisingly complex creations
Grades 4-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms iPad, iPhone, Chrome, Mac Apps
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Stencyl Publisher: Stencyl, LLC
Code-free game development tool helps kids program and publish
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
GameMaker: Studio Publisher: YoYo Games Ltd.
One of the best creation tools available for aspiring game developers
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
Thunkable Visit Website: https://thunkable.com/#/
Build a working iOS or Android app, even without coding experience
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
GameSalad Publisher: GameSalad, Inc.
Great interface, flexible publishing options make game-making a snap
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Bloxmob Visit Website: https://www.bloxmob.com/home/
Create and share apps even without the coding know-how
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

Art and Design

3D Slash Visit Website: http://www.3dslash.net
Minecraft-like 3D modeling (and printing) made super easy for all ages
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Adobe Photoshop Express Publisher: Adobe
Top-notch photo editor helps perfect pics for creative projects
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Office Sway Publisher: Microsoft
Cool scroll effects, flexible features boost visual storytelling tool
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Chrome, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
SketchUp Visit Website: http://www.sketchup.com/
Make learning meaningful through 3D design
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Tinkercad Visit Website: http://www.tinkercad.com
Amazingly simple yet powerful and flexible online CAD tool
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Autodesk Sketchbook Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4

Music and Recording

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 Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Auxy Studio - Music & Beat Maker Publisher: Auxy AB
Loop beats like a pro with stellar music-maker
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Flat Visit Website: https://flat.io
Terrific composition tool empowers budding musicians to create, share
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Storytelling

Storybird Visit Website: http://www.storybird.com
Social storytelling fun; artwork inspires, but limits creative freedom
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Pixton Visit Website: http://www.pixton.com
Popular comic creation tool well-tuned to classrooms
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Sutori Visit Website: http://www.sutori.com
A slick way to share knowledge via interactive timelines and stories
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Twine Visit Website: https://twinery.org/
Cool interactive story creator can both dazzle and baffle
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4