Give it a try – our pick of the best apps and tools, part 13

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 7part 8,  part 9, part 10 , part 11 and part 12.

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.

Let’s take some photos

Great set of well-designed accessible photography activities from filmmaker and cross-arts facilitator Justin Allder, who specialises in working with at-risk and vulnerable young people, as well as those with special educational needs. Aimed at helping children explore and make sense of their home and the wider world, they include fun tasks such as ‘animal eye view’, ‘exploring textures’ and ‘composing with colour’. There’s an audio explanation of each activity, too.

Photos for Class and Pixabay
A couple of good suggestions for public domain and creative commons images and video clips courtesy of Richard Byrne’s updated Guide to Finding Media to Use in Classroom Projects (Google doc / PDF). He recommends Photos for Class, a free site that helps students find Creative Commons-licensed images that have attribution information embedded into the footer of the image. For free, public domain video clips try Pixabay and simply choose “video” from the drop-down menu that appears in the right edge of Pixabay’s search box.

Look up

This excellent database for teachers and schools, from A New Direction, highlights more than 100 free arts resources, programmes and events for teachers to explore and share with pupils. It can be searched by art form, key stage and accessibility.

Playing with sound

“There is no audio equivalent of a zoom lens, so I became interested in getting microphones very close — into places, a lot of the time, where you wouldn’t be able to, or wouldn’t want to, put your ears.”

You and your pupils may be using technology much more these days but how much are you using audio? Children may send teachers photos they’ve taken at home but have you encouraged them to record sound as well? Combine nature and audio technology by encouraging pupils to collect sounds of nature. Inspire them with this recording by Chris Watson, a veteran of recording sound for TV.

Choose your own fake news
Test your critical literacy skills by choosing a persona and seeing how you navigate the world of disinformation in this chirpy little game.

Alternatives to YouTube… on YouTube…
Hat tip to Richard Byrne for this week’s suggestion, which is part of a post on alternatives to YouTube. One of his five suggestions is Flipgrid. Here’s why:

“People tend to think about Flipgrid as just a tool for students to use to record video responses to a teacher’s prompts. Flipgrid is capable of much more than that. You can upload your own videos to share with your students. You can upload them either as a resource at the start of a topic or upload them as a part of a topic. Likewise, your students can upload videos rather than recording directly in Flipgrid.”

He’s also got a short video (hosted on YouTube) on uploading to Flipgrid.

Litfilmfest resources
LitFilmFest has a fun summer holiday project with seven weeks of free videos and worksheets. Based on the free digital book, ‘El Dorado’, it culminates in a swashbuckling pirate treasure-hunting adventure that can be written and videoed at home. Check out the overview document to get started. There are also simple writing challenge videos.

Little Angel puppetry fun
We love puppetry at London CLC. These puppetry guides from the Little Angel theatre are easy to follow and use simple materials aimed at KS2. Encourage children to film and share their creations and performances.

Noun project
Do you struggle to find free but good images icons for illustrating PDFs or blogs? While all the icons in the Noun Project are good, we particularly like the Redefining Women collection, featuring females doing cool things like going into space, DJing and chairing meetings.

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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

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

Creative technology projects

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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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