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Tech Tools for Learning at Home

Families often look to teachers for recommendations on how to support learning at home. While drills and targeted interventions can be tempting, it isn't easy to get everyone on the same page. Try encouraging kids' passions and promote learning through discovery and play. Lots of apps, games, and websites don't feel like homework and can still help students build essential skills. Feel confident recommending the following tools to parents and caregivers to unleash their kids' inner writer, artist, scientist, and more.

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Digital Creation

Bandimal

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.

Picture Dots

Kids connect the dots with multisensory, interactive media creator

Bottom line: Kids will love playing with this one, but it needs more developed features and additional support to be effective for classroom use.

Easy Stop Motion studio: Introduction to animation

Ideal, easy-to-use way to help kids learn basic animation

Bottom line: This introduction to digital animation offers lots of opportunities for creativity for young students.

The Infinite Arcade by Tinybop

Simple game-design app has endless creative potential

Bottom line: Letting students design, play, improve, and share their own games opens up opportunities for learning potential in many subject areas.

Paper by WeTransfer

Beautifully designed digital sketchbook for any age

Bottom line: The simplicity and effectiveness of the app make this a powerful sketch and note-taking tool for the iPad.

Adventure Time Game Wizard - Draw Your Own Adventure Time Games

Terrific option to teach basic game design in-app or on paper

Bottom line: A highly engaging hook, along with the ability to design games on paper, make this a great option for STEAM teachers.

Anchor

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.

GameMaker Studio 2

One of the best creation tools available for aspiring game developers

Bottom line: Provides teachers with the best choice for a full unit or class on game design, and gives students a tool to help them realize their game-making dreams.

Snapseed

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.

Games and Play

Busy Water

Solve, create, and share puzzles that gush with STEM learning

Bottom line: This challenging yet kid-friendly set of logic puzzles wonderfully allows kids to solve problems and experiment with light science concepts.

Magnus Kingdom of Chess

Gentle chess puzzle game ideal for young newbies

Bottom line: For kids who are new to chess but want to learn how to play, this fun intro to the game provides a well-done tutorial combined with a light overarching storyline.

Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt

Popular game's education mode offers stunning view of ancient world

Bottom line: This game is an absorbing experience that offers students a unique, living and breathing view of ancient Egyptian art, life, and culture.

Minecraft

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.

Twelve a Dozen - all access

Engrossing math platformer puts problem-solving skills to the test

Bottom line: This absorbing game challenges kids' math and thinking skills as much as it entertains.

Elegy for a Dead World

Compelling sci-fi world imagined -- and written -- by its players

Bottom line: With some teacher guidance, Elegy offers an opportunity unlike anything else to get students to write stories and stretch their creative muscles.

Geoguessr

"Just one more turn" gameplay jazzes up geography

Bottom line: It's not a typical educational game, but Geoguessr inspires students to explore the world and encourages them to think critically about what defines a place, including culture and geography.

Scribblenauts Remix

Vocab-building word puzzles inspire creative problem-solving

Bottom line: Wide-open problem solving builds creativity, vocabulary, and spelling skills, but controls can be tricky.

Epistory - Typing Chronicles

Practice typing by exploring and defending a world made of paper

Bottom line: Great for practicing touch-typing skills, this adventure game draws players in with a slowly revealed backstory.

7 Billion Humans

Amusing puzzler challenges kids, teaches programming principles

Bottom line: This high-quality puzzle game is a fun way for students to learn effective and efficient programming skills.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Best entry in classic strategy series might not be best for classrooms

Bottom line: As with all games in this series, Civilization VI is a great learning experience with the right support, but older, cheaper versions may be more practical for classrooms.

Kerbal Space Program

Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim

Bottom line: This accurate rocket sim encourages trial-and-error learning and makes for great (and often explosive) physics and engineering experiments.

STEM

The Robot Factory by Tinybop

Improve designs, collect favorites in robot creation sandbox

Bottom line: A well-made and enjoyable STEM app that leverages what's great about play -- experimentation -- to spark engineering interest.

Cubelets Blockly

Versatile robots teach many engineering and coding skills

Bottom line: The scalability of the Cubelets learning experience makes them an excellent addition to any school or STEM club.

Scratch

Creative sandbox opens the door to coding in any subject area

Bottom line: Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.

Gizmos & Gadgets

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.

Cozmo

A little robot with big personality brings code to life

Bottom line: From Cozmo's engaging personality to endless programming possibilities, this little robot will capture your heart and spark imagination.

Seek by iNaturalist

Nature identification app limited but worthwhile

Bottom line: Even though it can't always make a match, the free price tag and large active community make this photo-snapping app useful for classrooms.

Sky Guide

Awesome astronomy app takes students on a journey through the universe

Bottom line: A quality, affordable way to bring true astronomy study to the classroom, even during the day, with a plethora of viewing options.

Swift Playgrounds

Brilliantly designed iOS coding app great for newbies or pros

Bottom line: If iPad devices are available, this is an inspired choice for learning how to create and tweak code.

Technovation Families

Family-focused site for learning AI well-suited to classrooms, too

Bottom line: Makes artificial intelligence and machine learning accessible to students of many ages and abilities.

Incredible Numbers by Professor Ian Stewart

Beautiful exploration of fascinating math beyond classroom topics

Bottom line: For students who get bored by the usual curriculum, this tool will open their eyes to math's deepest problems and most curious corners.

Fundamentals

Khan Academy Kids

Creative, smart mix of pre-K to K activities is a breath of fresh air

Bottom line: It's tough to stand out in the crowded early learning space, but this collection does just that, offering a one-stop shop for creative learning of foundational skills.

DragonBox Numbers

Explore the concept of numbers through puzzles and fun gameplay

Bottom line: Though there are a few kinks, kids experience fun gameplay while internalizing fundamental number concepts.

PBS KIDS

One-stop shop for a wealth of fantastic PBS KIDS educational content

Bottom line: Amazing collection of valuable learning resources covers an impressive array of topics.

Epic! - Unlimited Books for Kids

Free, expansive digital library unlocks treasure trove of books

Bottom line: This large collection of books and videos on a wide variety of topics is an easy -- and free -- enhancement to any classroom library.

Khan Academy

Missions boost learning with balance of focus and freedom to explore

Bottom line: A solid resource for math and science instruction as well as foundational knowledge in a number of other high school subjects.

Prodigy

Adaptive math practice wrapped in role-playing adventure

Bottom line: Sometimes kids just need some math practice to get things to stick, and Prodigy delivers in a fun format with great teacher support.

Social and Emotional Learning

Toca Tea Party

Pretend play meets social skills at this cute interactive gathering

Bottom line: Beautiful, imagination-provoking app is so easy to use, kids will likely want to return for many more parties.

Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings

Songs and activities help kids express, recognize, understand emotions

Bottom line: Daniel Tiger and his friends present excellent examples for kids who are just learning healthy emotional expression.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

Sesame Street winner teaches kids how to keep calm and carry on

Bottom line: Highly effective tool for whole-class instruction or one-on-one intervention.

GoNoodle

Brief bursts of physical exercise add classroom fun, build brainpower

Bottom line: In a genre of its own, GoNoodle is a ready-to-go and classroom-friendly exercise program that challenges students to get moving.

Calm

Relaxing and serene app helps incorporate peace into daily life

Bottom line: If you're looking for a captivating app to teach relaxation and calming skills to students, Calm is an essential tool to add to your toolbox.

Thrively

Cool assessment targets kids' strengths; sprawling content overwhelms

Bottom line: A great starting point for conversations about students' strengths; skip some of the digital content.

Me: A Kid's Diary

Unique take on self-exploration relies on prompts to guide reflection

Bottom line: With plenty of ways to express and document their thoughts and more, this app can help students learn something new about themselves.

The Harry Potter Alliance

Fan site promotes real-world heroics with activism for social justice

Bottom line: A fun, empowering community for Potter fans who want to talk Hogwarts and make the world a better place while they're at it.

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