Give it a try – our pick of the best apps and tools, part 10

Each week in our newsletter we highlight a favourite free or low-cost app/tool/resource/piece of software that we think might be useful or fun in your classroom or school. Every few weeks we round them up here on the blog.

We’d love to hear what you think about them if you give them a go, and any others you’d like to share – leave a comment in the box below. Catch up with all the tools in Give it a try, part 1 part 2, part 3 part 4, part 5, part 6part 7, part 8 and part 9.

Don’t want to wait for the roundup? Sign up to our newsletter to get a new ‘give it a try’ in your inbox every Thursday lunchtime.

One of Hour of Code’s new backgrounds, designed by Amy Zhou – find out more below.

Stay Focusd
Use Chrome? Easily distracted? Stay Focusd is a free Chrome extension that will shut down specified time suck sites, such as Twitter or Facebook, after a set time and not allow you back on. It also has a nuclear option…

Storyboarding PDFs for iMovie trailers
Why would I want to create an iMovie trailer, I hear you ask? Well, they can be a fun way to show learning, explain vocabulary, document experiments and summarise things.  iMovie for iOS has 14 trailer templates, each with its own musical score and graphics, and to make your own trailer, you simply choose a template, insert your text and fill each shot with a video or photo. iMovie offers its own outline and storyboard for each template but Tony Vincent found them limiting so, brilliantly, he’s created his own set of fillable PDFs for each template and shared them.

Children one of our Tate Exchange projects – find out more about Tate’s digital Art Parts below.

Art Parts
We’re proud to partner with Tate on its Tate Exchange programme (earlier this year we worked with 170 pupils from 20 schools to deliver our Making Moves workshop at the gallery) and really like its fun Arts Parts game which encourages children to fill in the gaps (digitally!) on some of its famous artworks.

Poets in action
Why not bring inspiration into the classroom with some great films of poets in action, including Julia Donaldson, John Hegley and Roger McGough, or this series especially for KS1 and KS2 with the wonderful Joseph Coelho explaining how poetry is relatable, fun, and achievable.

Can you spot when you’re being phished?
Phishing attacks – when fraudsters send you emails pretending to be from someone you know in the hope that you’ll share sensitive information or click links in fake websites  – are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Could you be taken in, putting yourself or your school at risk? Take the test and find out…

Does your school’s internet filtering make the grade?
This great little tool from the UK Safer Internet Centre is incredibly simple to use and tests how appropriate your school’s internet filtering is and if it adheres to SWGFL’s filtering guidelines.

Family link
Google has introduced a new app allowing parents to manage their children’s screen time. Available on both iOS and Android, it enables parents to “set digital ground rules”, approve or block apps, manage in-app purchases and set device bedtimes. Could be worth sharing with parents.

Is your school making the most of digital technologies for teaching and learning? SELFIE (Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering the use of Innovative Educational Technologies) is an EU-funded tool designed to help schools embed digital technologies into teaching, learning and student assessment. It claims to highlight what’s working well, where improvement is needed and what the priorities should be.

Hour of Code Dance Party 2019
For this year’s Hour of Code the HofC team relaunched one of their most popular activities, Dance Party, with new backgrounds, new coding blocks, and new music. Find out more and give it your best moves!

Get doodling!

Quick, draw!
Can AI recognise your doodle? Help teach a neural network by adding your drawings to the world’s largest doodling dataset, shared publicly to help with machine learning research.

A bit of fun – can you sing like Freddie Mercury? Sing along and a neural net will tell you…

Chatterpix Kids
Hat tip to @ICTEvangelist Mark Anderson and his Appvent Calendar for this one. Bring a photo or character to life. Load the free app (for IoS or Android), add in your photo, draw a line over where you want to animate the mouth movement then hit the record button and you have 30 seconds to deliver your speech. Take a look at Mark’s post for lots of great ideas for using this in class.

Plague Inc – fake news
Misinformation spreads like the plague – infect the world with the plague of false information in a new game from fact checking charity Full Fact and Ndemic Creations. It’s a fake news version of the bestselling game Plague Inc, which challenges players to infect the world with a deadly plague. In this new scenario, players spread false information across the globe, trying to deceive everyone before fact checkers can thoroughly debunk them and save the world from chaos and confusion. Partly based on Full Fact’s experiences, and that of its fellow international fact checkers, the game is a heightened view into the extremes of misinformation and the serious consequences it can have for our democracies, health and society. Currently iOS only with PC and Android versions coming soon. Play now.

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Does your school need a sustained programme in the use of digital technology to underpin your whole school aims and plans?

Our support package covers the following:

Professional learning

Teacher professional development which puts digital at the heart of teaching and learning

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Engaging, practical workshops for your class, in your school, at our Clapham centre online

Creative technology projects

Engaging, immersive educational experiences with corporate and cultural partners

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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