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Online Arts Learning: Tools for Now & Into the Future


Rebecca Recco, an Oakland Unified Visual Arts teacher at Bret Harte Middle School, joined our Teaching Artist Think Tank on April 22 to share her knowledge of designing online arts education learning spaces. A graduate of Lamar University’s program of Digital Learning & Leading, she had a wealth of knowledge to share. Below is the video of her presentation and discussion as well as the list of links and resources she provided.




Workspace Tools:

Edmodo -- Learning Management System (LMS) -- Easy to use. Organize learning into folders. Compatible with Youtube, Vimeo, etc…

Schoology -- Learning Management System (LMS) -- Similar to Edmodo.

Weebly -- Free website tool. Not a LMS but easy to build a website to hold your digital collection.

Wordpress -- Free website tool. More robust than Weebly, but also more challenging to use.

Google Sites -- Free website tool. Easy to use.


Not free but notable:

Hapara -- This is the workspace tool I use because it is provided by my employer. Hapara is best known as a device management tool that allows teachers to see what kids are doing when they are online, but it has a really cool Workspace tool, too. I like the way it allows me to arrange and track student workflow, and it integrates with Google Classroom and G Suite. It also comes with amazing tech support and training.


Free Online Tools:

Flipgrid -- Allows students to record a quick video response to a question. Great for sharing those sweet dance moves or improv pieces! Flipgrid has now opened up video responses to 10 minutes, but you can set the time for whatever you want.

Padlet -- This app allows you to create collaborative idea-sharing spaces in a variety of formats (flowchart, productivity, backchannel chat, tiles, etc…) Students can upvote, downvote, “like” and respond to other students’ ideas. Great for feedback activities or brainstorming.

Sketchpad -- Awesome digital drawing/painting app. It’s free, online, AND offered in different languages.

Pixlr -- Very cool Photoshop alternative. Great for editing photos, making posters, etc… Comes in 2 versions; an easier version (PixlrX) and a more robust version (PixlrE).

PBS Learning Media -- Great resource for reference videos to use in teaching. Many are produced by KQED and have great local artists, musicians, etc… that tie learning to our community. Create a free account and you can even download the videos and lesson plans.

(Look for KQED Art School and KQED Spark)


Productivity tools:

Toby -- (Chrome browser) I set Toby as my launch page and put all my links on there, organized by category. This way, I can find everything without having to scroll through bookmarks. I can share collections with other people. It’s kind of like Pinterest for productivity, but all your collections are on one page.


Free Video Editing Software that isn’t iMovie:

Filmora -- Easy, intuitive design. Very much like iMovie on iOS. Free version has a watermark. Upgrade for $45/yearly.

Lightworks -- Design is maybe a little more complicated. $29/month or $175 basic upgrade.

WeVideo -- Free online video editor -- interface is intuitive and easy to use. Offering support for K-12 schools during COVID shutdown, so maybe available to arts orgs! Pretty extensive educator free trial. Looks to operate a lot like Filmora. Pay versions start at $5/month.

Vidyard -- Free online video creation/sharing tool with decent free options. $15/month upgrade to pro.


Online Exhibit/ Student Portfolio Spaces:

Instagram -- Social media feed for visual work (photo/video/digital art)

Bulb -- Free student portfolio space. Host video, photo, writing, etc… kids get to keep their portfolios and can use them to apply for programs, etc…

Seesaw -- Digital portfolio/ work sharing space. Great for younger kids, too.


Food for thought:

Why aren’t students turning in work? -- Great information about the reality of teaching during a pandemic

9 Elements of Digital Citizenship -- Good place to start for creating digital learning norms and promoting much-needed digital skills.

Common Sense Media -- Great resource for digital citizenship info/ advocacy. Great, fun resources for teaching students how to stay safe, healthy, and productive in digital spaces. If you are working with digital tools, you really should be including digital citizenship in your teaching.


Rebecca offers more thoughts on Twitter here and on her blog:

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