Perhaps because they're at the top of the list on ISTE's National Education Technology Standards (NETS) . Or maybe it is the wording of the indicators: construct knowledge, develop innovative products, generate new ideas.
I used the following software this past school year with students from Kindergarten to grade 8. The products they created were remarkable.
This was my go-to software in the Kindergarten class this year. We began with the students drawing self portraits and then they were posted on a blog to assist with portfolio building. As the year progressed Pixie was the selection for field trip responses, spring reflections and all things writing.
To see the wonder and excitement on the grade 2 and 3 students' faces when we used frames for stop-motion claymation this year gave me that, "I'm glad I'm a teacher" feeling many times over. Again, the students could create a curriculum related project where none existed before. What began with simple animations at the beginning of the year progressed to more complex projects that included sounds and voice recordings.
The students used both of these products from grades 3 to 8 for everything from taking photographs of a healthy snack way back in September and then adding healthy snack information to the photos taken. To using Bitstrips to create a "Summer is Coming" comic just last week. There is never any boredom or complacency with these two environments. And they are really easy to find a curriculum integration for.
I had grade 2 and 3 students creating with Scratch just last week. But it all started a few years back when my Twitter PLN was all a twitter about Scratch. I downloaded it and gave it the thumbs up and then ran it by our academic software coordinator and he put in on the image. On the first day of school this past year I had a grade 6 student ask me about what kinds of software I would recommend to create computer games. I just had to mention Scratch and this student was away to the races.
Again, I found what was then Google SketchUp through my PLN a number of years ago ran it by our image creator at the board and presto, ready for use. This year was a watershed year for SketchUp at my school. A student in the grade 6 class had heard about it from his brother so he started using it in class on choice days. Near the beginning of June I asked him if he would be interested in teaching the class SketchUp. He agreed and this became the environment of choice all through June and was selected by at least 75% of the class on choice periods.
So there you have it, my top 5 list of academic software for creativity and innovation. If you're still reading this and would like to add to the list perhaps you could write a little something in the comments. I'm always looking for new environments to try with students.
Note: All of the above are software installed on computers. (Not Bitstripsforschools of course). I'd really like to move to similar environments in the cloud beginning next year, so if you have solid examples of innovation and creativity environments to share I'd really appreciate it.