epaintingWhether writing a paper or painting a picture, there are lots of software tools young people can use to create. Browser and mobile apps are quickly changing the way people write and create.

readRead Beyond Words in Word: Writing in an iPad, Transmedia World by Annette Lamb to learn about how tablets and other mobile devices are redefining writing. Be sure to explore all six sections: history, re-defining writing, new environments, features, real-world issues, and conclusion.

eye means readRead the following materials resources related to creativity and electronic books for children and young adults:

Open Source Software

Software can be expensive. Increasingly, librarians are seeking open-source solutions to meet their technology needs.

eye means readGo to GeoGebra and download free mathematics software. This tool is a great way to make a teacher connection.

Consider identifying a set of open source software that can be installed in your library and that patrons can also download at

Explore five tools that are popular with young people and can be downloaded at no cost:

The graphic on the right was created in Tuxpaint.

Promotional Software

Lego RobotsAn increasing number of companies are creating software applications that accompany products. For instance, Lego became famous for their plastic bricks for construction. In the 1980s, the company began connecting computers with their construction materials so young people could create robots and other computer-based materials.

Known as Lego Mindstorms, these tools continue to be popular today. Check out winners of the robotic pet contest. Today's version can even be controlled with an Android smartphone using the MINDdroid Application.

Today, the company has expanded into games for popular game systems such as Lego Starwars. Think about ways you could connect the Harry Potter books, movies, games, and Lego resources.

Lego also provides software tools that can be downloaded FREE for designing projects. Users can then build the designs using their own Lego bricks or purchase the materials online. Designers can even create the cover for their Lego project box.

eyeGo to Lego DesignbyMe. Download and try the Lego Digital Designer for either Windows or Mac OSX.

Lego Design Studio

Proprietary Software

Regardless of whether you run the Macintosh or Windows operating system, you'd be surprised how many "freebies" come with your system. Be sure to check out Photostory for Windows and iPhoto for the Mac. These are two wonderful tools for creating simple, yet effective projects with photos.

eyeRead Freedom or Nightmare: The Implications of Open Source Software by Annette Lamb to learn more about the implications of using open source software. Also, explore ten treasures of open source.


viewsWhile some young people love the thought of using Microsoft Word to write a paper or Tuxpaint to draw a picture, others are overwhelmed by the choices. Think about ways that you can help young people by providing prompts, pictures, and other starters to help facilitate their work.

For example, let's say students are learning about alternative perspectives on social issues. Rather than a traditional paper, how about recording audio reflecting two different perspectives. Provide photos that young people might use to represent "characters." Then provide a tool such as Microsoft PowerPoint where students can paste the photo, add bubbles, and record audio.

Go to Desktop Learning Spaces to find examples of PowerPoint Starters.

Curriculum Connections

daringUse creativity tool as tools to create learning experiences as well as tools to help learners express their unverstandings.

The Daring Librarian creates "At-a-Glance" Comic Tutorials to teach teachers and students to use basic online tools. An example and link to more is on the right.

eyeGo to At-A-Glance Comic Tutorials and explore a few examples. What could you create to help others learn?

Combine creativity tools with curriculum area standards to create powerful learning experiences.

eyeRead Digital Storytelling: Myth and Legend Creator by Joyce Valenza. She highlights two great tools: Historical Tale Construction Kit and Myths and Legend Creator.

video clipView The Jazz Age (8:28)

After reading The Great Gatsby, students chose Jazz Age topics, did internet research and created Power Point presentations that related their topic to the book (Grade 11).

Download free Windows Media Player.

Proceed to Creativity Resources of CD and DVD.

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