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Animation Tools


Digital Course Content Tools

Save some time! Here are great sources for digital content to use in your classes. You don't always need to build everything from scratch.

  1. Ted Ed
  2. Khan Academy
  3. LinkedIn Learning (
  4. Otis College Youtube Channel
  5. Shaw Academy

Digital Project Board Tools (Collaborative)

  • Upload tons of images. Create collections and connect ideas with other people.


  • From your hobby to your career, your class notes to your final exam, your mood board to your runway show, padlets help you organize your life.


  • Milanote is a tool for organizing your ideas and projects into visual boards. 


  • Scalable, secure, cross-device collaboration whiteboard for distributed teams.
  • Great for collaborative timelines.
  • Can embed Miro boards with public access permission directly into Nest html content pages. Instructions to embed Miro boards.


  • A digital idea board.


  • A more robust version of padlet.

Generating PDF Tools

Adobe Scan 

  • The free Adobe Scan mobile app works on your mobile device, scans documents into PDFs, and automatically recognizes text.
  • Do not need to have Adobe Creative Cloud to use.

Mac Os

  • Save an existing document as a PDF using File > Print
  • Combine multiple files into one PDF using Preview

Gamification Tools

"Gamification is the application of game elements in non-gaming situations, often to motivate or influence behavior. The rewards or the spirit of competition can spur students’ concentration and interest and lead to more effective learning. The use of gamification is wide-ranging in higher education, from extra-credit awards and in-class team competitions to complex multi-level schemes that can pervade a course." - Educause

  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Gamification" (Educause)
  2. "Teaching as Designing" (Huffington Post)
  3. "7 Things You Should Know About Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)" (Educause)

ARGs weave together real-world artifacts with clues and puzzles hidden virtually any place, such as websites, libraries, museums, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages, movies, television programs, or printed materials.

Seth Priebatsch's TEDxBoston 2010 talks about how game dynamics are reshaping classroom learning. (TED)

Digital Badges

We already have a game layer in education - it's called GRADES.

But grades are so insubstantial. A letter in a database. The only physical representation is a boring piece of paper. Easily forgotten, added to GPA calculations, there is no jazzy sense of ownership when you get a letter grade. Wasn't it much more satisfying to get a GOLD STAR in elementary school? You had physical, visual proof of what you had accomplished.

  • Digital Badges = the digital equivalent of gold stars

Badges and Gaming Principles:

  • Make each class module a "game level." Whenever a student "levels up" they get some reward.
  • Create a visual representation of the progression of a class in LMS, The Nest, by creating custom Awards.
  • More fun - create a progress bar with percentages. People want to reach 100%.

Graphic Design Tools


  • Free templates for posters, presentations, postcards, etc.
  • Free accounts available for faculty and students


  • Copyright free images.  It is still always nice to give credit where credit is due.


  • Search millions of Creative Commons photos and add them to your blog posts easily.


Infographic Tools

Infographics describe a wide range of graphics used to display complex amounts of data and/or ideas.

  1. Powerpoint
  2. Microsoft Office SmartArt
  3. (Online)
  4. Canva
  5. "7 Things You Should Know About Infographic Creation Tools" (Educause)

iPAD Apps For The Classroom


  • GradeBook Pro is a powerful and intuitive paperless classroom management tool. Record grades, attendance, and student performance in an app and be able to email results to individual students.


  • A web-based collaborative real-time editor, allowing authors to simultaneously edit using the iPad.


  • Make your lectures more engaging through interactive multimedia presentations.


  • Create a collaborative web wall for students to post comments and information.


  • Audience response system that uses mobile phones, twitter, and the web to allow for live classroom participation.


  • Easily curate engaging magazines.


  • Snapguide is the easiest way to make and share great looking guides. Create your own guides with our mobile platform and discover guides on the go.


  • An amazing drawing application that records the process so you can watch how you created your own artwork.


  • Procreate is the most advanced painting app ever designed for a mobile device. Create beautiful sketches, inspiring paintings, and stunning illustrations.

Messaging + Calendar Tools

Microsoft Teams

  • Provided for free by the College as part of Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft Teams is the hub for team collaboration in Office 365 that integrates the people, content, and tools your team needs to be more engaged and effective.
  • Supports live transcription or transcription after in the Cloud.
  • Getting started guide.


  • Zoom is the free web conference platform used at Otis College of Art and Design.
  • All staff, undergraduate/graduate/CE faculty, and undergraduate/graduate students at Otis have free access to the system.
  • Within Zoom is a "Chat" tool available outside of meetings.


  • Discord is the easiest way to communicate over voice, video, and text. Chat, hang out, and stay close with your friends and communities.


  • Free! Save the emails back and forth. Create a Workspace for your Classroom. Invite your students.
  • You can text message back and forth. Free apps available for computers and mobile devices.

Microsoft Bookings

  • Provided for free by the College as part of Microsoft 365.
  • Simplifies scheduling appointments.
  • Syncs to Teams and your Otis College email calendar.

Calendly or You Can Book Me 

  • Start for free but for more features will need a paid account.
  • Sync your calendar to make it easier for students to schedule appointments with you. You no longer need to email back and forth.

Polling + Quiz Tools

These tools allow you to interject interaction into presentations increasing engagement and participation.


  • Add live audience response activities to presentations.
  • Free + paid accounts.


  • A free game-based learning platform for live questions and answers.


  • Live and interactive Q&A and polling platform.
  • Free + paid accounts.

Screencasting Tools


  • Take a screenshot or capture a video of what you see on your computer screen.


  • Available in the TLC production studio. Quickly create eye-catching videos.


  • Easily record your screen or a specific app, with or without your camera.


  • Free online screen recorder.


  • Start a web conference, just don't invite any participants, use the screen-share option, and record the meeting.

Tips and Tricks

  • For best results for the narration, use a headset with a microphone. Although many computers have built-in microphones, the audio can sound scratchy and distant. If you do not have your own mic, you can borrow one from the Video Lab or stop by the TLC.
  • Since whatever is on your screen will be recorded, hide extraneous icons and browser menu bars.
  • Make text appear larger by: boosting the default font size of your browser; zooming in on a browser (usually in the View menu); or switching to a lower screen resolution.

Either way, practice, practice, practice. It may take a few (or several) takes to get the screencast done.

Sharing Tools


  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Blogs" (Educause)
  2. "7 Things You Should Know About WordPress" (Educause)


  1. "10 Surprising Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom"
  2. "8 Ways to Integrate Instagram into the Classroom"
  3. "The Beginner's Guide to Instagram"


PB Wiki is an easy to use free wiki web tool.

  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Wikis" (Educause)


Video + Blogging

Combines the concept of student feedback, but rather than writing, students respond with a unique video they create. Students can use the "Video Note" tool to record video responses directly into Discussions in the Nest. 

Art Steps

Virtual Gallery Space

  1. Art Steps Website
  2. Art Steps Instructions

Tools We Do Not Recommend

Too Expensive:

Not Effective:

Video Captioning Tools

When creating demo or instructional videos, it is a required practice to meet ADA compliance and include either a script or captions for your video.


Zoom Cloud

  • Record to the Zoom cloud, auto-transcription available for free.
  • Can share view with students via share link.


  • Resource for captioning long videos. Cost is 20¢ per minute.

The Nest: Video Note

  • Use the video note feature in the Nest to directly record video up to 30 minutes, free auto-captioning is available.

G-Drive Slides

  • When in presentation mode, you can turn on live text-to-speech captioning. These captions could be recorded through Zoom when in screenshare mode.

VTT / SRT File Format Converter

Video Editing Tools

Apple: Quicktime Player

  • Native video player on all Mac computers that allows for basic trimming and splitting.
  • Select Edit > Trim to trim the beginning and/or end of the video, Edit > Split to split video into clips, and File > Save to export the edited video, lossless, as a new video file. 

Windows 10: Photos

  • Native in the video player for all Windows computers that allows for basic trimming.
  • Open the video to view. At the bottom of the player, click the pencil icon to Edit in Photos to trim. and the Save a Copy.


  • Free basic video editor to trim and crop after uploading to either hosting site.
  • YouTube: View video lab tutorial

Zoom Cloud

  • Free basic video editor to trim and crop



Adobe Premier + FinalCutPro

  • full video editing software - for advanced users
  • tutorials available on LinkedIn Learning

Type Studio

  • Edit your video by just editing the transcribed text
  • Add subtitles automatically, turn the video into a blog article
  • Everything runs online in your browser
  • FREE for 20 minutes or less per month. Tiered plans for more time for a fee

Video Project Tools

Adobe Express

  • Slideshow video format.
  • Free version + available with Adobe CC.


  • Video discussion platform.


  • Host meeting and connect an external camera that can be positioned like a webcam, document camera, or mobile phone. Use record meeting feature to capture video.

Video provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning. Great way to record process + share what they are working on.

Below are some best practices if asking students to create video:

  • consider the outcome you want - length of video and expectations of quality and content as will determine how much time students need to complete the task
  • assign students to work on projects in small groups to promote student-to-student interaction and build collaboration skills
  • provide training and support resources to help students learn multimedia tools and software they will need, know what resources are available on your campus
  • educate students about the resources and methods for acquiring digital assets, as well as the ethical and legal issues related to using these materials in their projects
  • address a real problem to increase motivation and to provide students with the opportunity to share their projects with an audience outside the course if applicable

Consider for Video:

  • Write out a script first
  • Average 150 words spoken per minute
  • 15 minute video = about 2200 words
  • 10 minute video = about 1500 words

Web-Based Presentation Tools


Google Slides 

  • Free - With Google Slides, you can create, edit, collaborate, and present wherever you are. (Part of Google Drive)


  • A Mac alternative to PowerPoint


  • Pay - Nearpod allows an instructor to create an interactive classroom "powerpoint" presentation that students access on their mobile devices or computers. You control the pace of the presentation in the classroom as students follow along on their devices. Interactive elements can be seamlessly added to the presentation such as: videos, browsing websites, Q&A, and polls.


  • The most commonly used presentation platform


  • Free - Discover, Share, and Present presentations and infographics with the world's largest professional content sharing community..


  • Free (Pay for upgrades) - Create Interactive Presentations and Meetings. Use live polls, quizzes, word clouds, Q&As and more to get real-time input.

​How to create effective presentations:

  1. "Presentation Zen: What Is Good PowerPoint Design?"  
  2. "10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations"

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