Give it a try – our pick of the best apps and tools, part 14

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,  part 12 and part 13.

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.

AR insects

Google has added insects to its AR search results. Search for the name of the insect and click the ‘view in 3D option. Android users can hear them, too.  You’ve a choice of rhinoceros beetle, Hercules beetle, Atlas beetle, stag beetle, giant stag, Miyama stag beetle, shining ball scarab beetle, jewel beetle, ladybug, firefly, Rosalia batesi, swallowtail butterfly, morpho butterfly, atlas moth, mantis, grasshopper, dragonfly, hornet, robust cicada, brown cicada, periodical cicada, Walker’s cicada, and evening cicada.

DIY Radio

Hunt & Darton is a long-standing collaboration between artists Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton and they have set “a challenge from us to your family”: A downloadable pack providing everything you need to record your own family radio show. Sounds like fun! Download the pack here.

Lo-fi player

We always like a digital music tool and this lo-fi pixelated music mixing experience is very simple and curiously relaxing.

Shared piano

A cool new tool has been added to Chrome Music Lab. It’s a collaborative keyboard!  It lets people play on the same virtual keyboard from different devices at the same time. There’s potential here for teachers to use it either during school closures or when some pupils are isolating at home.

Tone Transfer

Another musical treat, this one from Google’s research team. Tone Transfer takes any audio, from a hummed tune to a dog’s bark, and uses machine learning to convert it into what it sounds like played on a flute, saxophone, trumpet or violin. There are pre-selected inputs, such as birds chirping or pots clanging, or you can add your own. It also explains how it works.

Covid Symptom Study

You may well have heard of this excellent project from King’s College London, which tracks Covid symptoms using daily reports from millions of people across the UK via an app. The project is now calling on headteachers, offering regular Covid data insights for schools in return for contributing to critical scientific research into the impact of Covid on children. The callout is currently flagged up on the front page of the project website.


Blacklight is a free public tool that can be used to inspect websites for potential privacy violations in real time. Put in a website address and Blacklight reveals the trackers loading on the site – including methods created to thwart privacy-protection tools or watch your every scroll and click. There are also tips for what you can do about it and more background on the pervasiveness, and possible implication, of online tracking.

Scratch: Match the patterns

A quick activity that illustrates the basic building blocks in Scratch

Scratch: Voice and motion

Can you make Rowan sound like a robot?! Explore this project and see how we can generate sounds through movement in Scratch.

Why do we need https?

Let Certificat, Compugter and Browserbird explain how https works in this fun comic – a great way in to teaching about the web and privacy.

What’s the rule? 

This week we are (virtually) hosting teachers from across Northern Europe as part of our Co-make Erasmus+ project exploring computational thinking in kindergartens. We really like this idea of using ‘what’s the rule’ to think about categories and patterns. (Thanks to Aaron Davis for sharing it in his excellent Read Write Respond newsletter)


Turn your photos and 10-second-long videos into cartoons with an AI-based cartooniser. Unlike many AIs, this one also seems to work well on people of colour.

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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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