Since publishing our 30 Best iPhone Apps for Art Teachers last year (August 2009), we have discovered many new apps that are worthy of being added to our best list. Covering a wide range of interests and uses, below are the Teaching Palette’s 10 Best iPhone, iPad and iPod Apps for Art Teachers 2010 – the latest and greatest apps for art teachers and their students. Consider this an amendment to last year’s list.
Apps for Student and Teacher Use
Animalia Based on the beautiful illustrations from the classic book by the same name, this app brings “eye spy” to a whole new level. Explore various artwork by hunting for hidden items.
Accudraw Update your traditional grid drawing system with technology. Photograph an object or use one from your library and overlay with a grid to create precision drawings.
Faces iMake Appropriate for younger students, this app uses a creative mix of collage materials inspired by author and artist Hanoch Pivin. Upgrade to the premium version for additional features. See our full review of Faces iMake here.
KidsOrigami Beautiful images illustrate simple origami folding techniques for kids. Just click on a paper crane, frog, etc. and follow the step by step instructions. Great for the analytical thinkers in your classroom. Recommended for late elementary and up.
Sketchn’ Guess Lite Available only on the iPad this app capitalizes on the larger screen size for game play. Players divide into two teams and try to gain the most points by guessing their team’s themes the fastest. Features include a timer, score sheet, “Sketchn’ Guess” cards and several colored pencil choices for sketching in an easy to navigate format that allows for self directed play. Recommended for late elementary students and up.
fotobabble Great for an art critique or personal reflection, this simple app allows you to record and attach audio to a photo. Saved content can be posted publicly or privately accessible on the fotobabble website.
Art & Music If you enjoy integrating music into your curriculum, this is the app for you. This app matches up music and art from corresponding time periods, ranging from Russian to the Classical West. (not iPad compatible)
Apps for Art History
MoMA AB EX NY Experience 200 Abstract Expressionist paintings all housed by the MOMA. Beautiful images of art that can be enlarged and displayed with additional information. The iPad app includes a selection of videos featuring comments by the curators, artist painting techniques and art terms in action. My favorite video is The Painting Techniques of Jackson Pollack: One: November 31, 1950. There is also an interactive map and Art Terms glossary.
SmartHistory The closest you can get to Italy from home, this app gives an amazing virtual art history tour through Rome using various multimedia including video and google map locations.
French Impressionism Showcasing artwork from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, this app is perfect for Impressionism lovers. View detailed video descriptions, gallery views, and biographies including Monet, Seurat, Ceznne, along with many others.
ArtPuzzle HD (iPad) / ArtPuzzle Lite ArtPuzzle HD is set in an art gallery that you virtually walk through and unscramble over 70 famous art masterpieces. The iPad app features classical music, four levels of difficulty, information about each painting and the ability to save the image to your photo gallery. ArtPuzzle Lite is compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and offers many of the same features but, also has a quiz feature.
Art Start Created by an art teacher from Seattle, this idea generator can spark creativity in your students. Simply pressing the start button produces ideas for media, prompt, and color.
Learn about many other great apps reviewed for education though IEAR.
Major contemporary artist John Baldessari launches new iPhone/iPad app John Baldessari: In Still Life 2001-2010 in conjunction with For Your Art and support from Ovation. According to the the official website, “John Baldessari created the first In Still Life in 2001 for an exhibition at LACMA. He hung Abraham van Beyeren’s Banquet Still Life on the wall next to an empty frame and invited exhibition visitors to digitally rearrange or remove the 38 objects in the original 17th-century Dutch painting, thus creating a new still life of their own. Visitors were encouraged to print out their still lifes and hang them in the room or take them home. When someone completed a still life using In Still Life, it became his or her own artwork, not John Baldessari’s or Abraham van Beyeren’s artwork.”
Although, the app is free through iTunes you might not have access to a classroom set of iPod Touches. That’s why we really love the online preview that allows anyone with a computer to create his or her own still life (click here to preview app online). This is a wonderful alternative for giving a whole class access to creating their own Dutch influenced masterpiece. The website would also work well with an Interactive White Board to introduce a lesson on Dutch still life painting, show connections between modern artists and past art or to talk about symbolism. While visiting the site make sure to check out the “Learn” tab in the menu. It lists each of the 38 objects in Abraham van Beyeren’s original artwork and describes the and meaning behind each object.
In an earlier post, we interviewed Hanoch Piven, illustrator and children’s book author, about his brand new iPhone app, Faces iMake. The Teaching Palette has been testing Faces iMake for several days and below is our review.
Faces iMake is a collage portrait creator with a clean, user-friendly interface, which makes it great for primary students to navigate.
The catchy music (you can turn off the music in the settings) accompanying the app encourages a happy mood while choosing colors, head shapes and objects for your portrait. A wide range of objects, grouped into different categories — such as food, tools, toys, kitchen, school, buttons, letters — provide the app-using artist a plentiful palette. You can even favorite your favorite objects for quick selection the next time around.
One feature we found helpful was that you can save finished portraits to a storage gallery where they can be assigned to a contact, saved to your iPhone photo album, emailed to a friend, or shared via Facebook. Or you can re-select your saved portrait and continue working on it.
As part of the interface, users can rotate objects after placing them on their portrait and easily layer objects above or below one another.
The only feature that seems like it is missing is the ability to scale objects, but as Piven explains, “It would have been very easy to scale objects up and down, but I wanted to have limitations that are real life limitations.”
The app’s included video art “lessons” are a great way to get started, and they’re presented in a style much like Piven’s own hands-on workshops.
Overall, the Teaching Palette gives Hanoch Piven’s Faces iMake app two thumbs up. It provides an excellent way to explain assemblage and portraiture as an art form. And it’s a lot of fun to play with.
One disclaimer, Faces iMake unexpectedly quit on two of our iPhones during testing. A simple restart of the iPhones solved the problem. From what we understand, an update is coming soon to prevent this minor glitch altogether.
Watch the demo below to see how this app works.
While many of us still have limited iPod Touch and iPhone access, here are some classroom/student integration suggestions:
- Use your personal iPod Touch or iPhone and project images under a document camera for the entire class to see. You should definitely check out IEAR (I Education Apps Review) for additional ideas and tips for using Apps in the classroom.
- Create a list of great iPhone apps for your students to try at home. An earlier post offers some great art app suggestions.
- Talk to your school administrator, perhaps s/he would be willing to pilot an iPod Touch or (if you’re very lucky) a classroom set. Or try writing a grant. You never know unless you try! For a list of grant opportunities, click here.
After watching enough people work on sudoku number puzzles, it occurred to me that this logic game can be easily adapted to art by substituting the numbers for colors or symbols.
Color sudoku follows three basic rules:
1. Use all the color options in each box without repeating
2 Use all the color options in each row without repeating
3. Use all the color options in each column without repeating
Since I love sharing – feel free to download the low-tech color version of sudoku that I created as an extension activity. I printed mine on tag board and laminated to keep clean. I also wanted to keep the colors consistent between the game boards and the pieces so I printed out color sheets and cut them down into pieces that fit each puzzle. Since the 4 color sudoku need larger pieces than the 6 color and 9 color, I keep those pieces separate in a zip lock bag. Reuse a shallow class-pack type box to store the entire kit together.
Use the 4-color sudoku for younger students or to introduce the concept for the first time. Let the kids differentiate their own learning by choosing their own difficulty level. I don’t use answer keys (if you follow the rules, you know when you have found the solution) - although you could easily create your own by writing in the color names on an extra printout by solving yourself (or have a student do it for you).
4 Color Sudoku: (Beginner)
4-Color Sudoku #1
4-Color Sudoku #2
4-Color Sudoku #3
4-Color Sudoku #4
6 Color Sudoku: (Beginner/Intermediate)
6- Color Sudoku #1
6- Color Sudoku #2
6- Color Sudoku #3
9 Color Sudoku: (Intermediate)
9 Color Sudoku #1
9 Color Sudoku #2
9 Color Sudoku #3
9 Color Sudoku #4
9 Color Sudoku #5
9 Color Sudoku #6
9 Color Sudoku: (Advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #7 (advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #8 (advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #9 (advanced)
Color-Sheets to print: (Cut down to fit sudoku puzzles)
Idea update 3/18/10: Print out duplicate sudoku game cards so students can challenge each other to see who can finish card first.
Reader suggested update 8/24/13: Blank Sudoku Cards for the students to create themselves. Great idea Amy!
I love the buzz and energy of an art room filled with students actively involved in the creative process. Because of this, I allow my students to talk during art production, as long as they remain on-task and the noise level doesn’t become disruptive. However, some of my classes have a harder time with this freedom than others. Enter . . . “Noise Control“. This iPhone app has been very effective during times when I need students to keep noise down and raise concentration. While I can’t promise this will forever solve noise issues, a little extra help never hurts. Watch the video below to see how it works:
Can’t see video above? Click here.
Here’s a few tips to get started:
I’m always looking for different images to help communicate the concepts I’m teaching. The images I saved were taking up a ton of space on my computer and really slowing it down. Plus it wasn’t very efficient for locating what I needed in the spur of the moment. Then I discovered the Vi.sualize.us website as a way to catalog and collect images. If you like Delicious, you will love Vi.sualize.us for bookmarking images you find on the web.
Vi.sualize.us is a free social bookmarking site that allows you to surf the web as normal, and bookmark any images you find along the way. Images can be tagged so that you can search through your bookmarks to find what you want for your next art lesson. It’s very easy to use, just add a bookmark button on your browser or install a Firefox plugin and start surfing the web. When you see an inspiring image you want to remember just right click (control + click for mac users) or use the button in your browser. There is even a free app called Cooliris for your iPhone or iPod Touch that will let you utilize your images on the go. The feature that really sets Vi.sualize.us apart from other image sites is the “Safe For Work” feature. Just click the “Safe ON/Safe OFF” button in the top right-hand corner of your screen to filter out inappropriate images while you browse.
Below are some of the features Vi.sualize.us offers:
- Bookmark images you want to remember on the Internet
- Safe ON/Safe OFF filter for work environments
- Bulk edit
- Comment on images
- Add tags to pictures so you can easily search for them again
- WordPress plugin to display your images on blog or website
- A watchlist to keep track of images posted by others you want to follow
- Can search with the “And”, “Or” and the negation (“!”) operators. For example, you could search for still life apples or oranges.
You can check out what The Teaching Palette is bookmarking by clicking on this link. We also want to see the amazing images you discover around the web. You can share images by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your Vi.sualize.us name or by adding it to the comments section below. Then we will add your name to our “watchlist”.
Below is a short video that shows what the Vi.sualize.us site looks like and how to tag and save an image. There’s no sound, but a picture is worth a thousand words.
(Trouble viewing this video? Try this link.)
Since the launch of the iTunes App Store in July 2008, over 1 billion apps have been downloaded for use on the iTouch and iPhone. Currently, the App Store has 63,000 apps to choose from and it is no surprise that many of the iPhone/iTouch applications have educational value. Over the last few weeks, we sorted through our favorites to create The Teaching Palette’s Best Apps for Art Teachers, along with some tips and suggested uses.
- Love Art-Natl Gallery London This is an absolutely beautiful museum app that integrates audio and video presentations based on the collections in the museum. A great learning tool containing snapshots of a wide range of art history.
- Brushes Familiar with the New Yorker Cover that was created using an iPhone app? It was created with the Brushes painting app and tops our list. Easy to use beginning with the very young. Watch a speed portrait here.
- TypeDrawing Draw with text. This fun app uses a single letter or phrase as the drawing tool. A completely new way of drawing (and thinking about drawing). See some examples in this Flickr pool.
- TanZen Familiar with Tangrams? This app combines math and art concepts together. Move, rotate, and flip shapes to form a larger image. Great for improving spatial intelligence.
- Art (Lite version) This art history game features five famous artists. Can you identify which artist created each work of art? Master this app, then upgrade to the paid version of Art. Another nice feature of this app is the option to load images into your photo gallery for use in other applications.
- Art2Go This app is an engaging and useful presentation of 19th and early 20th century artists and their work using audio commentary. Useful for all grade levels and art backgrounds.
- Color Splash This is an extremely simple app to use with some amazing effects. Teach the principle of emphasis by isolating a single image in color while the remainder of the photograph stands in black and white. See how easy this app is to use in this video tutorial.
- Animoto Near identical to the traditional web-based version, Animoto coordinates your images to the beat of music. Great for artist presentations or student portfolios. Completed presentations can be downloaded or emailed.
- FlipBook (Lite version) This is one of the best animation apps available. Features allow for replication of images and transparency effects to see previous slide. Click here for a guided tour of the app.
- PixPop Art – This is a challenging and very fun detail detective game. Utilizing fine art, detail images line the right side of the screen while you search for the match. Work in competition mode timing yourself or work at your own pace in Zen mode.
- 3D gallery Be a curator of your own museum. Enter this 3-D room and rearrange the paintings or choose your own images from photo gallery. This would be a great tool to display artwork created throughout the year or to focus on an art time period or genre. Note: There is currently no “save” feature, but if you click your on/off button at the same time as the menu button, you can create a screenshot that saves in photos on the camera roll.
- Comic Touch (Lite version) Add some humor to art historical images or commentary to student artwork with this single pane comic creator. Save to photo library or email. Upgrade to the paid version of Comic Touch and get interesting special effects and fonts. Watch an intro video here.
- Life Strips This is a great tool for creating comic strips. Utilizes a wide variety of comic strip templates and speech bubbles. Add photos and utilize filters to for adding special effects. Even add a Google map!
- Light Painting Have you ever created a photographic light painting? While standard flashlights and LED lights work fine, this app offers additional light features otherwise hard to replicate. Use these tips and tricks to get started.
- Open Culture - Find a nice group of audio and video podcasts from well known art museums in the “ideas and culture” category. The same category also contains animated New Yorker cartoons.
- AP Mobile Create a search for “Art” and get the latest news articles from around the world. Useful app for older students to reflect on culture and current events.
- Jazz Sculptor Utilize a wide variety of virtual materials and textures to carve a sculpture from a variety of forms. Rotate image to view at a 360 degree angle. Nice exercise to understand the subtractive carving process. See the Jazz Sculptor gallery for inspiration.
- ScuptMaster3D Create three-dimensional art using a variety of colors with this virtual material that appears inspired by Henry Moore. Great way to introduce and reinforce positive and negative space concepts. View this video tutorial for an overview.
- Architect Envi Deluxe – This app organizes architecture by building name, architect, or century created. It is presented in a slide-show format with the option to learn more about the building and save in the camera roll for use/manipulation in other applications. Yet, the best feature of this app is the option to view each architectural structure in Google Maps.
- Color Sudoku Forget the numbers – this is Sudoku in color! Game has a different levels of difficulty and color schemes.
- Eyetricks This app has a nice collection of optical illusions. Good for early finishers or as intro to an OP Art unit.
- Color Wheel -This color wheel uses advanced color theory concepts to reinforce color understanding. Useful interactive app for older students.
- Brooklyn Museum Tour the collection of art at the Brooklyn Museum. ”Randomize” is a nice feature to view artwork you might otherwise miss.
- Symmetry Useful tool for teaching symmetry to younger students. Watch this video for a quick demo.
- MovieMaker This is a great tool for creating stop-motion animations and time-lapse movies. Since it requires the camera on an iPhone, this app is perhaps most useful as an extension for students who have access to iPhone technology.
- PotteryWheel While this is certainly not a a replacement for the hands-on wheel throwing experience, this pottery wheel gives the basic idea of the cause and effect.
- Artist’s Touch This app requires little artistic talent but is useful when teaching about abstract art. Non-objective to representational- reveal your image using a variety of textures and paint tools. Be sure to watch video tutorial to get started.
- Google Earth This is a great app to integrate geographic locations of artists or cultures. Watch this video tutorial to get started.
- Gallery of Painters Contains a large collection of artists that can be searched alphabetically, by century, or nationality. View basic information or link directly to Wikipedia for detail information. Useful for research.
- Juxtaposer and Juxtaposer Lite This is a fun tool for teaching about Surrealism. Reinforce juxtaposition by taking a photo of your classroom and a selecting objects from a second photo to create a Magritte-like composition. Watch this video review to see what this app can do.
Ok . . so now what? Here are some additional tips and considerations to start using the apps:
- Not all the apps are free, but once purchased, an app can be used on multiple iTouch’s with no additional charge.
- Most schools do not have access to multiple iTouch’s (yet). But even just one iTouch can be used as an extension for an early finisher or projected on a screen for the entire class to view using a document camera.
- Some students may have access to a personal iTouch or even a parent’s iPhone. Create a recommended app list for these students to try out at home. You could even tie it into an extra credit option.
- Use it yourself to create your own art or brush up on art history.
- Find useful tips, reviews, and connect with other educators using apps in education at IEAR.org
What are your favorite apps for art education?