Part 1… Creativity In The Digital Classroom… Over 40 Resources… Are They in Your School?


I hope you enjoyed the past post and welcome you to a series of posts  dedicated to Creativity in digital classroom. I have some reflections, ideas, and some amazing resources to share.  Please enjoy and share this post via email or a retweet. While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Also, feel free to contact me about any conference, in-service plans, or PD you might wish to include me in. ( You can learn more at the Booking Link.  Please continue to network and join me for our special journey into 21st century education.  – Mike Gorman (

I believe that creativity is necessary in today’s classroom. In fact, creativity is one of the important 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity) that make up part of the foundation of a 21st century education. The remaining foundation is of course another C (Significant Content). I believe that when you put all of these C’s together you get two more C’s which make up the “Common Core”. That involves another blog post you will see in the future… one more reason to sign up and follow this blog. I have divided some digital creativity resources into four different group and have have included them below. Today’s post will get us started with the first…. what can be downloaded for free to the classroom computer. Look for the other creativity tools in the coming days. You will discover over 40 free resources through out the series. The series includes:

  1. Free software that is stored locally on your classroom computers or network – Current Post
  2. Web 2.0 applications accessible using the internet…  with just about any device – be sure to subscribe!
  3. Web Apps and Sites to promote literacy and student publication – Coming soon… be sure to subscribe!
  4. Web Sites that promote creativity across the disciplines – Coming soon… be sure to subscribe!

15 Free Software Programs Stored on a Classroom Device to Promote Creativity… Are They In Your Classroom?

Free software includes those programs or Apps that are downloaded to the local computer or device. Other then the download, there is no internet connection needed. Students will not have to use emails or subscribe to any services. All work can be done on their local device. Of course, files can still be saved on servers and in the cloud for easy transportation and access.

Scratch – I could write post upon post about Scratch. In fact, I already have. I have included a link to those posts that will help you and your students get started below. Scratch was created by some amazing people at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Do you want to build a game? Scratch can do it. Do you want to create a work of art. Count on Scratch to allow you to fit together the master pieces! Do you want to discover mathematics? You can count on Scratch to make sense out of numbers and number theory. Do you want to tell a story? Scratch can do that with pictures, sounds, and movement! Do you wish to experience sound and music? Scratch will carry quite a tune!  There is simplicity for elementary, challenges for middle school, and complexity for the older students. Educators can help students Scratch their way through any level and curriculum. Check out my posts below to begin to learn how. I have even included a webinar that I conducted with Discovery Education.

SketchUp – Trimble (formerly Google) SketchUp is a free program allowing students to experience the exciting world of computer assisted design.   It is a great resource for the classroom with connections to Math, Science, and with its integration with Google Earth, Social Studies. a search on the internet will turn up a vast supply of lessons and ideas. Twenty-first century skills, including innovation and creativity, are  natural outcome of SketchUp. While there are other CAD type programs available for K12 education, Trimble SketchUp provides educators with a resource that is rich in application and curricular integration opportunities at no cost. Visit the Trimble SketchUp Download Site to install SketchUp 8.0 for free on your computer (Windows and Mac), and computers in your classroom. Encourage students to download at home so they can work on projects and activities both at school and at home. Check out the following links below to learn more.

  • SketchUp Tutorials – If you’re new to building 3D models with SketchUp, these video tutorials are a great way to get started. They range from basic to more advanced topics
  • Google SketchUp 8 For Dummies – Awesome set of tutorial videos to learn the ins and outs of SketchUp
  • SketchUp For K12 Education – K-12 educators and students from all over the world use SketchUp to explore, explain and present their ideas using 3D models. Take a look to learn more. Be sure to check out the case studies.
  • 3dvinci Blog – Wonderful resources blog for all levels of k12 education wanting to explore creativity with 3D modeling.

GIMP –  So why is GIMP the photo editing, creation, and manipulation program that is such a favorite in education? Because it is free! You may be thinking that it should not matter since your school may already own other such programs. The reality is, programs that are most popular to students are the ones that they can also use at home. A free program allows for some sense of equality in the growing digital divide. As educators,we must recognize that it is important for both technology and educational opportunities to find no boundary between the classroom and the home. In this sense, GIMP fills the need for a robust photo manipulation program that is in many ways equal to programs that can cost upwards of several hundred dollars. Students will spend hours enjoying ways to create original works of art that could be used in any curriculum. Learn about GIMP and be sure to download it. Learn about its features and look over its user manual. Take a look at these commonly asked questions.

Office Suites – There are a lot of office suites, some are free and others maybe provided by your school. Some of these programs include Microsoft Office (fee based), Open Office (free) and Google Docs (free). Regardless of what you use there are many ways you can bring creativity  and innovation into the classroom. As I wrote this I realized that this could be a series of posts in itself. I thought I would include a few ideas below.

  • Word Type Document – Magazine Publications…Posters… Infographics…. Mind Mapping Activities…. Brochures… Wordles
  • Spreadsheets – Solve Story Problems… Graphing (including seldom used styles graphs such as radar or donuts)… Predictions
  • Power Point Type –  10 slides in 60 seconds on a concept… Stop motion animation…  Create interactive nonlinear presentations

Alice -Perhaps your students would enjoy using an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create animations or games. The Alice Project seeks to provide tools and materials for a conceptual core of computational thinking, problem solving, and computer programming. The free Alice Suite of educational tools is designed to support teaching and learning across a spectrum of ages, grade levels, and classes in K-12. You will find an excellent Tutorial as part of the program that you download.  To view this Alice tutorial, launch Alice and click on the “Start the Tutorial” button in the Welcome to Alice dialogue box. You can also select  specific tutorials by clicking on one of the tutorial worlds below the “Start the Tutorial” button. You can learn more about Alice and watch two videoso that give a tour of the program.

Making Movies – Students enjoy making movies and many classrooms today have the needed equipment. In fact, your students have a lot of what is required on their own camera and cell phone. Remember that movies do not have to be made up of moving video… but can incorporate a series of still shots. Some great free software that can be downloaded and housed on devices include Windows Movie Maker, PhotoStory 3 for Windows, and iMovie for the Apple. You may wish to take a look at this lesson, complete with hand out that I created for making a One Shot Video. It is so easy… any one can do it! The primary focus when integrating movies and creativity into the curriculum is to stress content that is to be learned.

Audacity – If you are working with sound, music, and recordings in the classroom then this is a must program. Audacity® is free cross platform, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. A great program for creation of Podcasts in the classroom.

GarageBand – Probably the most envied program of Windows users. Not much to explain other then creating great music. The MAC people already get it. Windows users have no need, since the closest program I know costs a few bucks. If you are interested in a GargageBand style program for Windows at a small cost… check out Mixcraft.

XMind – The power of mind maps has been proven to be powerful.  This amazing piece of software started as open source (which means free). The basic part is still free and can be downloaded. While you can purchase upgrades, the basic will work just fine for getting the creativity and innovation of some great brainstorming sessions going! Take a look at the features and then try the download. You will be on the road with your own mind map.

Scribus – A desktop publishing program for free? Scribus is an Open Source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4/eComStation and Windows desktops with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, Spot Colors, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.

Subscribe now… there are three more creativity posts… also take a moment and share this post  by retweet or email.

Thanks for joining me on this journey in 21st century education. Please enjoy and share this post via email or a retweet. While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Also, feel free to contact me about any conference, in-service plans, or PD you might wish to include me in. ( You can learn more at the Booking Link.  Please continue to network and join me for our special journey into 21st century education, something that is very magical to me.  Next few posts include… creativity in the 21st century classroom, twitter in education, alonfg with PBL, STEM, Web 2.0 Integration, and the Common Core. – Mike Gorman (


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10 responses to “Part 1… Creativity In The Digital Classroom… Over 40 Resources… Are They in Your School?

  1. Thank you for this list. Just great.

  2. John

    I have been using SketchUp with my Y1 children aged 6, we also use Audacity Y5/6 for our school news podcasts on Moodle. Will look at these others Thanks.

  3. For music on Windows, check out ACID free from Sony

  4. Reblogged this on mrs. yates class and commented:
    Great resources!

  5. Pingback: Part 1... Creativity In The Digital Classroom... Over 40 Resources... Are They in Your School? | Edtech for Schools |

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