App Reviews | Feature

7 Fantastic Apps for Making Media

Common Sense Media’s service Graphite, which offers independent ratings and reviews of learning apps and websites, has compiled this list of its top apps that help students create digital media. For complete reviews, and for each app’s "Learning Rating," visit the Graphite website.

EasyStudio1) Easy Studio – Animate with Shapes!
Grades: K-2
Price: $1.99
Concepts: Imagination, motor skills, part-whole relationships
With Easy Studio, kids will delight as they watch colorful squares, triangles and other geometric shapes transform into moving trains, planes or fanciful designs. Kids start off learning the basics by filling in animated images with shapes. Once they've got these skills down, they can freely create their own animations without limits. Read the full review.

GarageBand2) GarageBand
Grades:  4-12
Price:  Free
Concepts:  Digital creations, forms of expression
GarageBandturns an iOS device into a robust, mobile multitrack recording studio complete with pre-recorded loops and impressive editing tools. The sharing feature allows up to four users to jam together, and to export songs into iTunes. As they create and mix tracks, kids learn composition, music theory, aural skills and song structure. Read the full review.

iMovie3) iMovie
Grades:  5-12
Price:  $4.99
Concept:  Presenting, producing content, using and applying technology
Students can use iMovie for making innovative projects such as a trailer of a book report, science infomercials, or history docu-shorts. The app offers templates to upload video/audio, a library to house clip sequences, and a drag-n-drop timeline clips tool for easy arranging and editing.  Cinematic techniques can be taught such as rule of thirds, symmetry and patterns, viewpoint, background, depth of field, to name a few. Read the full review.

Green Screen4) Green Screen by Do Ink
Grades:  6-12
Price:  $2.99
Concepts:  Storytelling, creating content, innovation
Green Screen by Do Ink makes creating background video images — à la a weatherman's broadcast — a snap. Shoot your scene in front of a green screen, find an image for the background, and layer the video over the image. Students will find the app timeline easy for editing and can save work in their camera roll to share with others. Read the full review.

Animoto5) Animoto Video Maker
Grades:  7-12
Price:  Free with monthly fees for upgraded versions
Concepts: Presenting, digital creation
With Animoto Video Maker, students can create and share snazzy presentations right from their phones. Using videos, photos or music from their device or Animoto account, kids can compose video slideshows that last 30 seconds (or longer with paid version). The text tool lets users add relevant messages, statistics and captions to entertain and educate their audience. Read the full review.

Explain Everything6)  Explain Everything
Grades:  7-12
Price:   $2.99
Concepts:  Conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
Explain Everything is a powerful presentation app that teachers and students alike can use to create lessons, tutorials and more. Users can import photos, PDF files and movies from sources including iTunes, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive. The app helps students develop 21st century skills as they draw from and use multimedia resources to do presentations both individually or in a group. Read the full review.

TouchCast7) TouchCast
Grades:  8-12
Price:  Free
Concepts:  Perspective-taking, decision-making, speaking
For project presentations, TouchCast offers formats and features that let students dress up their videos. Students can incorporate live feeds or images, a Google newsreel or scripts from a teleprompter simply by touching and dragging these elements onto the computer screen. Once everything is in place, they can record and edit to their liking, creating final products like those they see on the nightly news. Read the full review.

About the Author

Common Sense Education helps educators find the best edtech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Go to Common Sense Education for free resources including full reviews of digital tools, ready-made lesson plans, videos, webinars, and more.