Apps, Programs and Websites
Apps, Programs and Websites for Parents, Teachers and Kids
Art and Music
App: GarageBand

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to High

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Creating, Applying

Costa: Level II and III

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Modeling, Experimentation, Planning

Website: https://goo.gl/Y88ti

This is the granddaddy of apps for the do-it-yourself musician and it’s almost impossible to go wrong with this app. The biggest plus about Garage Band is that it allows kids to make their own recordings, on multiple tracks, and then share them out with other individuals. Thus, a teacher can break a class into groups and then have each group share their creation with the entire class for evaluation and discussion, thus ending the problem of, “Who is the audience for my homework?” How cool is that? In Garage Band kids can practice scales, chord progressions, rhythms, produce sounds on certain instruments, loop music, record their music, and make audio and podcasts. Garage Band doesn’t have all possible musical instruments available for music creators—many instruments in a typical orchestra are missing, for example—but there are plenty of others available to keep everyone busy for a long time.

Overall: This is still one of the better create-your-own-music apps on the marketplace. You are not going to go wrong with Garage Band. Five Stars ★★★★★

App: Interaction of Color

Grades: 7-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Applying, Understanding, Remembering

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Diagnosis, Judgement

Website: https://goo.gl/VeHf3L

Unless you are dealing with an artistic savant, Interaction of Color is not something you are going to give to younger middle school kids. This is definitely geared toward, at the earliest, seventh grade kids. You can use this app with younger kids, but it will only be in bits and pieces to accessorize what you are doing in the class or at home. The app is modeled after a famous book by Josef Albers. The app is primarily designed to help students learn how to use colors and which colors go together in a color palate. Included in the app are color studies, videos on using color, commentaries by artists, and interactive activities. The vocabulary used in this app is difficult, especially for those who have no art or study of color in their background.

Overall: For serious artists, or for older kids who are trying to understand how colors interact in art and design, this will be an extremely useful app. Three Stars ★★★

App: iTooch Music

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Applying, Understanding, Remembering

Costa: Level I

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Causation, Judgment

Website: https://goo.gl/CwBv4g

Younger kids may struggle with some of the concepts in this app, which is available on both Apple and Android platforms. The purpose of this app is for kids to learn basic music concepts, similar to what they will learn in music appreciation or general music, or music theory courses. The app has a funky cartoon-like character which guides students through music history, world music, and theory lessons. There are quizzes and tests available for students, so parents who home school their kids and classroom teachers may find these useful, as far as determining a grade. The app is broken down into four main areas—basics, theory, cultures and styles, and history—but I don’t see this app as a stand-alone music course. Think of it more as a supplemental resource and you won’t be too far off the mark.

Overall: This is a decent app for kids who are learning about general music principles. Four Stars ★★★★

App: Mo Ma Art Lab

Grades: 5-7

Level of Difficulty: Low

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Creating, Applying

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Experimentation

Website: http://goo.gl/L3IcW

This is a fun app to play around with, although it is better suited for younger middle school kids. The app focuses on the Museum of Modern Art in New York and includes pieces found in the museum. The primary advantage of this app is that kids get to look at some of the art pieces in the museum and learn a bit about the artist. They also get to create their own drawing or collage. It is possible for collaborate art drawings to be made with Mo Ma Art Lab. Included within the app are the tools to create these activities. The art activities included are fairly basic. For example the artistic drawing within the app focuses on simple line, shape and color. Classroom teachers may not be fully enamored with this app because it is more difficult to track individual student’s progress as it does not come with a complete dashboard for multiple classroom use. However, there could be occasions where teachers and parents, on an individual basis, find this app useful.

Overall: A good intro to art with a connection to a world class art museum. Three Stars ★★★

App: Noteflight

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to High

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Creating, Evaluating

Costa: Level II and III

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Modeling, Experimentation, Planning,

Website: https://goo.gl/HwTiVB

If you have a child or students who want to write music, Noteflight is the app for you. Younger middle school kids will struggle with this app because some knowledge and skill at being able to read and write music is a necessity before using this app. The heart of Noteflight is that it lets kids write and share music. As a plus, they can also hear the music and chords as they are creating them. User guides and videos are available to help kids when they get stuck or need extra help. There is a more advanced version of this app but it will cost you extra money and will probably only be used by those who are more proficient in writing music. An extra benefit is there is a sharing mechanism so kids can comment and evaluate what others have created. A teacher dashboard makes this app friendly to entire class use. This app can quickly get complicated.

Overall: This is one of the better apps for creating music. Music lovers will have lots of fun with the inventive process. Five Stars ★★★★★

App: Sketchbook Express

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Creating, Applying

Costa: Level II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Modeling, Experimentation, Planning

Website: https://www.sketchbook.com/

This app is clearly intended for the artist or budding graphic designer to come fully forth into the world and spread their talents. The app allows the kids to use a variety of brushes and colors to make any type of drawing they want. The variety of colors and types of brushes—including thicknesses—is really mind-boggling. There is also way for kids to take notes and have a personal gallery and to share their sketches online. (Just remember that adults may also be sharing their sketches online.) The only downside of this app is that kids will have to get specific ideas and suggestions as to how to create their sketches and drawing, from somewhere other than this app.

Overall: A good choice for students who want to try their hand at drawing. Four Stars ★★★★

App: The Orchestra

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to High

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Evaluating, Analyzing

Costa: Level II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Prediction, Experimentation, Causation

Website: http://goo.gl/5d5LtU

If you have a musician in your household and they are interested in orchestra, this app is one of the best apps you can buy for them. It’s expensive and large, so you are going to need money and memory to install this app. But if neither of these are problems, then full steam ahead. The coolest part of this app is that your kid will be above to zoom in on the orchestra seating and, while the overall song is playing, tap and highlight certain instruments to hear what they sounds they are making. Thus, while the full orchestra is playing, they will be able to zoom in on the horns and only listen to their sounds at that particular juncture in the music. Kids will also be able to follow along on the actual score, which can show all of the parts on a moving scroll as the full orchestra moves through the music. There are also interviews with members of the orchestra, a traditional book to read—via scrolling—and close-ups you can rotate of all the major instruments.

Overall: Much of this will be over the head of very young musicians but this app is a big winner for many kids and parents serious about orchestra. Five Stars ★★★★★

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