“Unique & Nifty” is a humble nod to my father’s Unique & Nifty BBS which ran from 1988-1997 as well as his Unique & Nifty computer store.
There are a multitude of great digital tools for teachers and students. This page will be constantly growing as I discover new and useful apps and tools for the educator, and especially the art educator.
iPad Apps for Educators:
The Apple app store has several apps for teachers and students. You can access the app store through your iTunes or view the website here. Although my school has not caught up with the digital times, many schools are purchasing iPads for the classroom. These schools are finding out that iPads can be cheaper than desktop computers or laptops, and can offer a lot more than textbooks. Teachers, those who can afford them, are also finding out that iPads are an indispensable tool in the classroom. These devices can be used to take notes, design lessons, send e-mails, watch educational videos, and more. I have created a list of iPad apps that art teachers could find useful. I’ve also created a Popplet to highlight these same apps with images and videos.
- SketchBook Pro – SketchBook Pro is great for an art teacher! It allows the user to create amazing digtal art. Similar to Adobe Photoshop, SketchBook Pro has over 60 brushes and tools, lets you create images in layers.
- Penultimate – Penultimate is the only notebook you’ll ever need. You can create several notebooks filled with writing, photos, and sketches. You can also e-mail entire notebooks or single pages as a PDF file. Great for staff meetings, jotting down ideas for lessons, and more.
- Art Authority for iPad -Art Authority is a wonderful real-world art museum containing over 60,000 artworks. The museum is split into eight rooms: Early, Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, Impressionist, Modern, Contemporary, and American art. This is a great app for an art teacher to view and show artwork in the classroom and learn about art history.
- MoMA Books – The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Books app contains books that the museum publishes. You can zoom in on pictures and bookmark your favorite pages. This would come in very handy for a teaching a lesson on Modern art.
- Splashtop Whiteboard – Splashtop Whiteboard is great for the classroom! This app turns your iPad into an interactive WhiteBoard. You can annotate lesson content, play videos, access desktop applications with a WiFi connection to your classroom computer.
- TeacherPal – TeacherPal is a personal organizer for teachers, allowing you to track attendance, grades, and behavior of students. It even lets you upload photos of students.
- American Art and Artists – Oxford Dictionary – This Oxford dictionary contains over 2,500 entries on styles and movements, materials and techniques, and museums and galleries. This app is the ideal compainion to teaching a lesson in art history.
- You Can Handle Them All – The You Can Handle Them All app is a nifty resource that helps teachers deal with unwanted student behaviors. You can look up the behavior alphabetically and read how to handle the student.
- Teacher’s Assistant Pro – Teacher’s Assistant Pro lets you track student behavior and e-mail parents and administrators with a push of a button.
- PowerTeacher Mobile – (This app is only for schools using Power School.) This app allows teachers to access Power School through their iPads. You can enter grades, post assignments, e-mail students, etc. from anywhere.
Android Apps for Educators
Online Educator Tools
There are many online tools available for educators, however some schools block these great tools. I looked at several tools that I thought could be helpful and relevant to what I teach, and tried to view them at school. Many tools were blocked by my school’s overzealous filtering program, but these top 18 tools made it through. I’ve created a SpicyNodes presentation showing why a teacher would use each tool, or you could look at the list below.
PowerPoint Presentation Alternatives: These are websites that provide interesting and visually pleasing slide presentations. These websites also allow users to add videos, photos, and hyperlinks.
Online Communities: These are websites that allow teachers and/or students to communicate online. Some of these websites allow teachers to post class assignments and grades, chat with students and parents, and maintain a classroom blog.
Tools to Allow Students to Work in Groups: These websites are perfect for group projects. Students can work online collaboratively through recorded audio, text, or highlighting and note-writing.
Online Mind Maps: These websites are great for collecting ideas into an interactive visual display. Users can add photos, videos, and hyperlinks.
Story Creators: Students can use these websites to create their own stories. Story Jumper is more geared towards elementary students and Storybird could be elementary through High School. Both websites allow students to obtain paper copies of their stories (for a fee).
Specific Online Tools for Special Projects: These websites are useful if you have a specific project in mind that needs a special tool.