Hey, this is Shanda! Those of you who know me know that three of my favorite things are music, technology, and teaching. When I get to combine all three together it is a good day! Today I’m sharing my top ten music app picks and five honorable mentions. When I look for an app or technology tool I have a couple of rules I follow. One of the first things I look at is the price point. I try to find things that are free or a low-cost one-time purchase. Another factor that is important to me is how easy it is for students to learn and use. For instance, if a student has to download a file and then upload it to share their work, I tend to stay away from it. I should note here that video creation apps are an exception to this rule.
I haven’t found one yet that has the tools I am looking for and that can be shared through a link only. Also, not all of my favorites have a way for students to turn in a finished product, but the ones that don’t have finished products do have valuable exploration and learning opportunities that are easily navigated by students.
So, here are my top ten apps that fit an educator’s budget and are student-friendly, in no particular order:
This is a great tool for students to demonstrate learning through simple video creation. This is also a great teacher-tool to create videos for sharing with students.
2. Adobe Spark – iOS and Android App
Adobe Spark has a large place in my heart. This is a great tool for simple graphic design that is quick and easy to use. Spark is also a wonderful place to create videos with voice-overs and music using a picture slide-show-video type format. Most educators and students have access to Adobe Spark for free.
3. Scratch – https://scratch.mit.edu/
Block Drawing Tool: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/40791994
Music Projects: https://scratch.mit.edu/search/projects?q=dsdmusicscratcher
You might be wondering why a coding website is on my list. If you are looking for some interactive tools to use with students you can check out the block drawing and music projects. Additionally, If you are interested in learning some simple coding in Scratch you will be able to create your own custom, interactive activities for students. These can be utilized in class or at home.
4. Google Creatability – https://experiments.withgoogle.com/collection/creatability
This is an amazing website with several tools for creating music. One of the most wonderful things about this resource is that it was built for students who may need accommodations to create music. It integrates several art forms together, and most students (of any ability) can use this website.
5. Storyline Online – https://www.storylineonline.net/
As integration teachers we often use books to tie in other aspects of learning, Storyline Online is a wonderful resource because it provides videos of quality book-readings. The readers come from diverse backgrounds who often share the culture and background as the characters in the book. This is a great integration and diversity tool.
6. English Prompts – http://englishprompts.com/improv/
This is a great website to inspire story and movement creation. You can have students improv, dance, or even create songs about the improv prompts that are given. This even ties into ELA standards and objectives.
7. Dancemaker – iOS App and Android App
If you want students to create their own individual, group, or whole class dance, this app is a great brainstorming tool. It does have a low cost associated with it, but it is so great I am willing to pay for it.
8. Auto Draw – www.autodraw.com
I love AutoDraw because it provides students with drawing tools, which are extremely valuable in hybrid and distance situations. Digital student creations can easily be turned in by copying and pasting a link into an email or learning management system. Additionally, students can collaborate and create a piece together; one student starts a drawing and shares it with a partner who then adds to it, the piece can be shared back and forth to create a partner piece.
9. BeepBox – www.beepbox.co
BeepBox is one of my all-time favorite music apps. It is simple enough that students can get to work quickly, but also has plenty of depth that can be explored to keep student engagement high and student creations interesting. The creator of this website is wonderful to work with and responds to emails. I have used this site in projects where students explore pitch, rhythm, form, and expression.
10. Google Slides or PowerPoint for Sub Lessons
I find that the easiest way to create sub lesson plans is to put it in Google Slides or PowerPoint. It is easy to add audio recordings to the slides which may include: singing, describing what needs to be taught, or any other information. Subs and easily access your presentation, you can share the link to the presentation, upload it to a flash drive, or save it on the guest profile on your computer. Subs can walk through your lesson plans easily and you won’t have to worry about losing instructional time.
Adobe Scan – App
Allows you to “scan” student art, documents, forms, business cards, etc. as PDFs using your phone or tablet.
To-Do – Online and App
Stay organized with a digital to-do list on your phone and computer.
Saving files to cloud storage (such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc. means
you have access to your files anytime from anywhere.
Groove Pizza – https://apps.musedlab.org/groovepizza/?museid=t9SKlFkqI&
Students can quickly create their own music on this easy to use website.
Chrome Music Lab – https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/
There are many different instruments, music creation tools, and music experiences
available for students to create in and explore.
Ideally, creating and sharing is done live and in-person; however, there may be times when technology lends itself nicely to our lesson plans and in a remote setting, technology might be the only option. Used wisely, technology can enhance the creating and learning experiences of our students. I love sharing ideas and collaborating with others; thank you for letting me share some ideas with you about ways technology can be utilized in the arts.