15 Best Tech Creation Tools

February 21, 2014
Ellen Holderman

Common Sense Media
San Francisco, CA
CATEGORIES Tools, Technology Integration

The national movement of STEM + Art = STEAM fosters innovation and encourages the integration of art and design in K-12 education. For this week's Top Picks List Friday, we're featuring the best tech creation tools. Students love to make their own creations -- no matter what the topic. These terrific tools give them the right tools to narrate, animate, and dictate. It will also gives teachers examples of how to incorporate art and design lesson plans into their existing curriculum.

To see the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top-Picks List "Best Tech Creation Tools." 


Mozilla Popcorn Maker
Mozilla Popcorn Maker is a free and open web app for video editing and remix. By helping kids annotate audio and video clips from the Web, Popcorn Maker encourages kids to research their topics and combine what they learn with their own ideas through pop-up word balloons and thought bubbles. Read full review.

Making flashy video slideshow presentations with Animoto is simple. For an art project or maybe a book report, it could be useful and engaging. It's certainly fun to create slideshows and satisfying to watch the finished presentations. Read full review.

Scratch is a project from MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten Group that teaches math, programming, and creative expression through technology. Most of the learning is tacit and supported by classroom teachers helping kids learn to code, a 21st-century skill that's quickly gaining importance. Read full review.

Young creative brains make online media such as storybooks, short movies, and images with Kerpoof. The site provides tools for the very beginner, and kids will likely have no problem getting started. Kids from kindergarten through the eighth grade will like making and sharing digital creations. Read full review.

Mozilla Thimble
Mozilla Thimble is an online webpage editor and set of remixable projects designed to help kids learn how to write the Web. As part of Mozilla's Webmaker project, Thimble displays two windows at once to show kids how the code they write creates the webpage they see on a browser. Read full review.

Stencyl is a game creation program that’s focused on codeless, cross-platform game making. By snapping blocks of code together, students and teachers can create games (and curricula) that can be published on a variety of platforms. Read full review.

Minecraft is a sandbox game that rewards players for collecting and combining resources into new, useful items that enrich gameplay and help further exploration and creativity. Although it has an “End” zone for players who want to fight the game’s boss (a dragon), Minecraft has no plot - the story is up to the player to define. Read full review.

VoiceThread provides students of all ages an online platform to create and share media projects that can incorporate video, image, voice, and even drawings. One of its most valuable assets: allowing for collaboration opportunities as well as audio or video feedback from readers and viewers. Read full review.

Gamestar Mechanic
Gamestar Mechanic is an online toolset, game, and community that teaches kids how to build games. Kids learn in creative ways and are encouraged to be creative themselves. For example, they can customize games with their own artwork. Kids have to think both mathematically and creatively to build games. Read full review.

Hackasaurus teaches kids (and their teachers) how to read, code, and remix the Web. In addition to teaching coding, Hackasarus encourages deep discussion of fair use and the exploration of revision for bias, mood and tone, and satire as modes of online composition. Read full review.

Tiki Toki
Tiki-Toki is an online, interactive timeline creator. With lots of comparable sites out there, what sets Tiki-Toki apart is its ability to blend traditional chronological mapping with multimedia and text in a slick, professional-looking layout. Students add events with text, images, and even videos and can print, embed, or share their timelines. Read full review.

GarageBand turns your iOS device into a powerful, mobile multi- track recording studio complete with pre-recorded loops and impressive editing and sharing features. GarageBand an excellent tool for teaching multi-track digital recording, it's also great for teaching composition, song structure, music theory, and aural skills. Read full review.

Prezi is an online presentation maker that features a unique 3D zoom animation to move between slides. Teachers and students can turn ordinary slide presentations into more stylish and potentially more engaging experiences than those made with other presentation software. Read full review.

Pixton is easy to use and offers literacy opportunities for students across a wide range of grades. Kids are creatively guided to make subject-based comics; art and learning are nicely blended here. Read full review.

Think of Algodoo as a way for both teachers and students to create, share, and remix interactives, virtual experiments, lessons, and demos that build conceptual understanding of physics. Read full review.


What creative tech tools do you use in the classroom? Sign in to comment below.