5 Amazing & Free Apps for the Art Classroom

5 Amazing & Free Apps for the Art Classroom

In a world that is becoming more and more hooked on technology, teachers are constantly trying to adapt and find new and innovative ways to incorporate all of this technology into the classroom. As a teacher who works with middle and high school aged students, I know that phone use can become a problem. In trying to eliminate the problem, I have tried and tested some apps that students can download onto their phone. This compromise allows for students to still be on their phones, but use their phones are a resource where they can still be working in my classroom.

Here are some of my FAVORITE apps! And yes, they are all free!

  1. Stop Motion App

Let me begin by saying that there are multiple uses and ways to adapt these to better fit the needs of your classroom. For me, I teach different sections of Ceramics classes. I am constantly looking for an easy solution and a time filler for when students are in between projects, when I am waiting for the kiln to cool down, etc. Stop Motion App has been really successful especially for my middle school aged students. Students are able to photograph their images (the images only save on the app, not their camera roll). They can adjust the speed that the images switch, they can title and save their projects. It is also very easy to export the projects so that they can be shared with the entire class. I typically print out blank storyboard worksheets and then have students use this app to make their stories come to life!


2. Adobe Illustrator Draw

This App is recommended for the older kids, but I would use this with as young as middle school. One problem that I often have is wanting students to have access to the various Adobe tools but not have access to any computers. It is sometimes easier for students to use their phones than it is to book a computer lap or get access to a cart of laptops. When I taught a Computer Graphics class, I had access to all Adobe Programs but I know that that is not always the case in all classrooms! Whether you teach a full on Computer Graphics class, or if you just want to find a way to incorporate Adobe products into your classroom, you can do it all on your phone! You can also hook your phone up to your projector, and have step by step instructions where students can follow along with you. This is one of my favorite apps!


3. Paper by FiftyThree

This app is great to allow students to create!! You have the option of creating either a sketchbook, a journal, paper tools, or projects. Each appear as little digital books. Students can select one and it brings them to a blank book. From there, students can draw, paint, write, add color, add text, and pick which page they want to add any of these things to. Like the other apps, you can easily export the sketchbooks from this app. In my classroom, I would use this in two ways. I would either use this to have students brainstorm what they want in their sketchbooks. Since it is easy to erase, start over, begin a new page, it makes it really easy for students to visualize what they want to put in their journal before actually putting it. This could be a really interesting art lesson in how to plan out your ideas before you begin a project. Another really cool way to use this app is to assign students a project, have them brainstorm in their digital sketchbook or journal, and then to have them submit their ideas to use digitally. This allows less paper use, and as a teacher, it would be easy to collect and view all of the students ideas and easily go through them from your own computer or phone.


4. Craftsy

In my opinion, Craftsy is an amazing app! There are so many resources on this app depending on what it is you are trying to do in your classroom. As an artist myself, the resources on this are great for teachers as well! This app consists of tons of different mediums including fiber arts, decorating, cooking, photography, drawing, painting, jewelry, gardening, and woodworking. You can select what you would like to learn and download classes based on that craft. Just an FYI- not all classes on here are free! Some cost money, however, the free resources are also great! For example, there is a free course on How to Draw Better Portraits. In my classroom, I think about my Portraiture Unit and how I often wish I had more time to teach my students different portraiture techniques. I can have my students download this and they will get 4 video lessons in HD, with all the materials they need. To me, this could easily be a homework assignment where students are asked to view a video each week and come in and show me their sketches and what they come up with after viewing the app.


5. How to Draw Step by Step

How to Draw Step by Step does exactly what it says. This app can be used with anyone ranging from young students up to adults. One really fun way to use this is for early finishers. You can have them submit their work to you and then send it to your computer so that you can track their progress. This has also been really helpful for students who are intimidated by art and feel that they don’t draw well. It seems more personal if students are drawing from their phone. I have also had some shy students who don’t want to draw because they are shy about their work and do not want someone near them to look. This app makes it so the student can freely open up and draw, and the only person who will see it is them and the teacher if they choose to view it. There are a lot of really great resources on this app, so if a student is stuck or not sure what to draw, this app can give them lots of ideas.

These are just 5 of my favorite apps but I am curious to hear, what do you use in your classroom?!

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