Tag Archives: arts

Integrating Multimedia: Drawing and Movie-Making Apps

by Jonathan Laxamana

drawing and movie apps

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An underrated benefit of the Common Core State Standards is their emphasis on using a variety of media and formats to present content. This challenges students to think beyond the written word as they engage with class material in a creative and enjoyable way. Multimedia can be especially valuable for students who struggle with reading and writing, but every student stands to gain from extra visual and auditory elements in the classroom.

For younger students, drawing on paper has numerous benefits, ranging from strengthening hand-eye coordination to learning how to express ideas and feelings. Drawing on a tablet pushes this development to the next level as students also develop technology skills.

For older students, multimedia offers the opportunity to hone presentation skills while simultaneously collaborating with peers. Some video curricula recommend sharing student-made videos on the Internet (with parental permission, of course) so students can engage in a worldwide dialogue as they learn.

We recommend these (free!) apps to help students integrate multimedia drawing and movie-making into their schoolwork. 


Kids Doodle (Android, Apple: Free)

This app is great for younger students because it’s easy to use. Kids Doodle allows users to sketch on a blank canvass, or you can import photos for students to draw on. Kids will especially love this app’s neon and rainbow brushes, which help make their work extra colorful and vibrant. You can also play back students’ drawing steps like a movie, adding an animated element to their drawings.

Drawing Desk (Android, Apple: Free)

Students of all ages can use this app that offers different modes tailored to different projects: Kids Desk, Doodle Desk, Sketch Desk, and Photo Desk. Kids Desk allows younger students to create with a variety of colors, stamps, 3-D brushes, and even a magic wand. Doodle Desk is also great for younger kids because it features stickers and allows you to import images for students to work on. Sketch Desk features more advanced tools for older students, and Photo Desk is designed for photo editing.

SketchBook Express (Android, Apple: Free)

This app offers a variety of different drawing tools, colors, and functions, which make it especially engaging for artistic students. It’s a little less intuitive than other apps, however, which makes it better suited for older students. 


Magisto Video Editor & Maker (Android, Apple: Free)

This fun app turns videos and photos into a movie, complete with music and visual effects. It also can analyze videos and photos, and even splice them together for you, making it a favorite among beginners. Also available as a Chrome extension!

PicPlayPost (Android, Apple: Free)

Kids will love this movie-making app because it allows them to integrate any of their own photos, videos, music, or GIFs into a full multimedia feature. Users can select a template, as well as choose from a number of Instagram-like filters and effects to perfect their images. PicPlayPost is the ideal app for making and editing creative montages that feature both photos and videos.

VivaVideo (Android, Apple: Free)

This app works like a video camera and allows users to turn their videos into professional-looking movies. One noteworthy element of VivaVideo is that it supports multi-capture modes, including normal, widescreen, fast-motion, and slow-motion. It also features stylish video effects, such as themes, filters, and transitions, all of which are completely free.

Do you use these or other media apps in your classroom? Let us know in the comments!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJonathan Laxamana is Technology Manager of Green Light Professional Development. He has more than ten years of experience in producing educational software products, video, web-based content, and mobile apps. He writes about new hardware and software, troubleshooting tips, and everything iPad.

Today’s Virtual Field Trip Itinerary: the Opera, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Moon!

by Erin Dye

Virtual Field Trips

Take your students on a virtual field trip | Image courtesy of digitalart | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

During the recent days of budget cuts, not to mention liability waivers and parents who are too busy to chaperone, you may have seen your field trip opportunities dwindle. You probably already know that some websites can help to fill the void. What you might not know is that there are virtual field trip apps and websites that not only present information to students but also get closer than ever to actually transporting them to those museums, theaters, and historic sites. Even more exciting—students can now visit the bottom of the ocean, explore the Moon, and even follow in the footsteps of the characters in the books they’re reading.

So, it’s time to go—everybody get on the bus Internet!

Science Field Trips

Google Earth

Not to be confused with Google Maps (which is also a fantastic resource), this downloadable desktop or tablet app allows your students to explore the Earth, the Moon, and Mars in stunning detail. You can also set and save your own paths and destinations ahead of time.

Google’s Cultural Institute

Want your students to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef without flying them to the coast of Australia and getting them scuba certified? Simply pull up Google’s street view-style underwater exploration of the reef. There are also tours of hundreds of other sites.

American Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History’s website has a detailed 360° self-guided walk through its museum. You can choose your gallery ahead of time or just amble through the corridors learning about fossils, plants, animals, and big, big diamonds.

Creatures of Light

Also created by the Museum of Natural History, for their special exhibition on bioluminescence, this beautiful, free iPad app explores the glowing creatures of the air, land, and sea.

Arts Field Trips 

The Metropolitan Opera

The Met’s iPad app provides interactive programs of their past three seasons, complete with audio and video of performances and summaries of the stories and productions themselves. The 2013–14 season includes classics such as Tosca, Rigoletto, and The Magic Flute.

Google Art Project

While asking students to perform an image search is great, it denies them the experience of a curated grouping of works. There’s almost no substitute for physically walking the halls of the world’s great museums. The exception to this rule? Google Art Project. Through this portal, dozens of the world’s finest museums offer virtual, street view-style explorations of their galleries.

Literature Field Trips

Google Lit Trips

Google Lit Trips allows your students to visit the real places mentioned in the books they read. All you need is the Google Earth app (desktop or iPad). For example, I recently toured 1940s Denmark on the Number the Stars tour, and then I trudged from Oklahoma to California with the Joads. These tours are organized by chapter so that students can really follow along.

The Secret Annex Online

It’s hard to visualize Anne Frank’s hiding place until you push aside the bookcase and walk through the hidden door. With the context provided by this 3-D model, students can truly relate to Anne’s experience in hiding.

We also love the National Parks app (free) and the Florence and Rome Virtual History apps (not free, but well worth the cost).

This list could go on and on. Look for another blog post coming soon that gives some pointers on creating lessons around these activities. Until then—what have you used for virtual field trips?

Bon voyage!

*Update: See a sample lesson plan for The Secret Annex here.

Erin DyeErin Dye is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development with extensive experience creating digital materials for interactive whiteboards and iPads. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.