Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

9 Interactive Tools to Encourage Creative Learning

9 Interactive Tools to Encourage Creative Learning

By Kristel Gibson

Kids are naturally creative. Take them on a walk and they pick up frogs, sticks, rocks and leading the charge. Building blocks, actors in a play, airplanes that soar. Watch them at home and they’re coloring, reading, building, and coding. Put them in the classroom and that creativity is still there, waiting to be unleashed.

Don’t let testing or standards requirements take creativity out of your classroom. Instead, use these nine ideas to nurture and encourage creative learning in your classroom.

More: 7 Ways to Inspire Creativity in the Classroom With Technology

Offline Tools and Exercises

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

1. The Nine Dot Exercise

First off, think about nine dots—three dots across, three dots down—so that you have a box. Now, draw a line connecting those nine dots.

Is there another way of doing it so that it doesn’t look like the number two or the letter S?


Depending on your imagination and originality—your creativity—there are a variety of other, crazier, sillier answers possible.

This is the beauty of creativity. Creative learning isn’t just about painting, writing, conducting, or filming. It’s about problem-solving. It’s about being faced with something like the nine dot exercise and seeing possibilities and potential rather than limitations and strictures. In other words, creativity is one of the most critical traits to hone in our kids today.

creativity in learning

2. Assign a Maker Space

Creativity is a lot about play. So giving students the opportunity to explore, to try, to make a mess, and start all over again is ideal—invite students to go hog wild.

Remember that a maker space is wherever students “make” things. This can be a special place in the classroom or a safe online community where they can collaborate, co-create, and play.

It’s important to remember that maker spaces are also about community—about creating a space where students can easy turn to one another for motivation, healthy competition, and help when they need it. The important thing is to invite accidents and randomness as a way to help kids work past getting stuck, having things break, or even having a grand “eureka” moment.

More: 4 Project-Based Learning Ideas for the Classroom

Show What’s Possible

“It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.” ― Albert Einstein

3. YouTube

YouTube is one of the most creatively inspired tools out there, with seemingly infinite videos that dissect a specific a topic, teach students how to do new things, and showcase other people’s creativity. Thanks to the sheer amount and variety of videos available, students can spend hours imagining what’s possible.

To get their creativity flowing, find videos about 3D hand painting or how to do push-ups; videos that explain what an unstoppable force is or bring amazing, unbelievable facts to life.


DIY provides a wide range of skills for students to learn and try. Students can learn how to become an Architect, Angler, Historian and Detective, while earning patches for skills they want to have. Better yet, they get feedback from their peers and make friends.

Express Yourself

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” ― Isaac Asimov

5. Smart amp

SMART amp starts out as an online blank canvas that quickly turns into a showcase of creativity and learning. For example, a teacher in Montana created a class project on Lewis and Clark for his 3rd graders. During the project, they find videos, facts, and photos—anything they can dig up—to tell their story about Sacajawea, the trail, the trip and the times. You’ll be impressed to see how kids put these different mediums together in one place to tell a story creatively.

6. Storybird

Storybird lets kids tell their own stories, even publish their own books. Using artwork as a prompt to start the story, students build a library of their own work in no time. From picture books and novels to poetry and comics, kids can use creativity and imagination to tell stories, publish finished works, and share the finished product.

7. Comic Master

Comic Master lets kids create their own graphic novel. They add backgrounds, dialogue and captions, along with special effects; students can also choose how they want their comic to look. When they’re ready, they can share and print it.

8. Codeacademy

Codeacademy teaches the world to code. No matter what age, students (and teachers) can learn SQL, Java, and more. With more than 25 million learners around the world, students can explore how coding is another force of self-expression and discovery that’s more important now than ever before.

More: 7 iPad Apps for Students to Learn Coding

9. Build Your Wild Self

Build Your Wild Self is great for random, silly play. From the New York Zoo and Aquarium, kids pick their favorite animal parts to add to their human selves. They can share their creation of tails, wings and lobster claws with friends too.

Creativity is a valuable trait to nurture. It’s not just 21st century thing—it’s an always and forever thing. What they learn about their own creativity and imagination will likely surprise you and empower them.

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9 Interactive Tools to Encourage Creative Learning

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  1. Pingback: 17 Ways to Use Posterini in Your Classroom

  2. Pingback: 8 Apps for Creative Collaboration in the Classroom

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