4 Popular Classroom Creation Tools (And Why They Matter)

ipads in education shot

Yesterday, we talked about six edtech trends in higher education that were highlighted by the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition . One of the trends identified for the second horizon (a mid-range trend, driving changes in higher education within three to five years) is a shift from students being consumers to being creators.

“A  shift is taking place in the focus of pedagogical practice on university campuses all over the world as students across a wide variety of disciplines are learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content. Creativity, as illustrated by the growth of user-generated videos, maker communities, and crowdfunded projects in the past couple years, is increasingly the means for active, hands-on learning. University departments in areas that have not traditionally had lab or hands-on components are shifting to incorporate hands-on learning experiences as an integral part of the curriculum. Courses and degree plans across all disciplines at institutions are in the process of changing to reflect the importance of media creation, design, and entrepreneurship.” – from the NMC Horizon Report

When students are creating, they’re not just seeing and memorizing material, they’re seeing it, internalizing it, and using it to create something. Applying the knowledge you’re gaining is one of the best ways to retain it and better understand it, so creating as a part of education is becoming a common theme. Makerspaces (or hackerspaces) are becoming more common, and many teachers are integrating that concept into their classrooms. There are a lot of different resources out there to give students a much more “hands-on” experience. Take a look at a few of our favorites below!

Creating in the Classroom


DIY.org is a website and app based tool that lets students choose from a very wide range of skills they’d like to acquire, and easily get started learning them. From building insect habitats to creating a solar cooker to making your own guitar, there is a huge array of choices. Users have a choice of different activities they want to practice for each skill, so there is a level of personalization available.


Seemingly basic, perhaps, but making music with Garage Band is a fun digital creation tool. You can use it in app form or on your desktop or laptop, there are built in lessons for piano and guitar, and users can easily get started composing. Lots of learning tools are wrapped into a really fun package! The downside is that it is not available for Windows based users.


iMovie is another semi-ubiquitous program that can serve classrooms well. Available for your desktop/laptop or in app form, this is creation at its finest. Audio, video, and other elements come together to create any type of movie you’d like. You can even make trailers for your longer films, which could serve as an excellent smaller project or a piece of a larger (mid-term or final) project.


Codeacademy makes learning to code easy and fun. That sounds pretty cheesy, doesn’t it? That said, it is true – it turns something that can seem daunting and/or complicated into a fun and visual activity. The site offers a lot of different learn to code options and great step by step instructions with associated tasks to get you on your way to building fun digital creations (like games and animated stuff!).