Give it a try – our pick of the best apps and tools, part 7

Each week in our newsletter we highlight a favourite free or low-cost app/tool/resource/piece of software and give a brief rundown of how you might use it in the classroom. Every month or so 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 and part 6

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.

Scratch image

Scratch Translate
Have you seen the new translate functionality in Scratch? Get your sprite to teach you French!

Scratch Egypt
Even more Scratch fun! This project contains lots of extra blocks in “My Blocks” and you can use them to write different Egyptian hieroglyphs. Find out how an Egyptian would write your name then see if you can make a script to write it on the wall.

Scribbling Speech
At Jisc’s Digifest event this week the closing keynote was by Liz Sproat, Google’s head of education for Europe, Middle East and Africa. She ran through Google’s education suite and also highlighted some of the Experiments with Google around machine learning. One that particularly caught our eye was Scribbling Speech, which turns real time speech into animation.

Animated poem decomposition
Continuing the poetic theme, why not teach decomposition by animating a poem in Scratch? This 60-minute lesson plan from Barefoot focuses on decomposition –  breaking something down into smaller parts to help solve a problem or undertake a task – using poems that children have written or are learning about.

Book Creator alternatives
At our Maths Forum and Science forum last week teachers used one of our favourite tools, Book Creator, to capture practical activity. This blog post suggests four alternatives and includes a video tutorial for WriteReader.

Embedding Slides
Use Slides? You can now embed MP3 and WAV audio files from Drive. To insert an audio file into Slides simply Insert > Audio and select from your audio files in Drive  Hover over the icon to see playback controls. Once the audio file is inserted, you can find more audio settings by clicking “Format options” in the toolbar. From there, you can set playback options, volume, and looping. You can also hide the audio icon, or replace it with an image of your choice. Find out more.
Making a video and need to use a teleprompter? is voice controlled, free and getting rave reviews. Bear in mind it only works on Chrome with desktop. Let us know how you get on with it if you try it.

Classic Minecraft
Did you know you can play Minecraft for free through a browser with up to 10 people in one game? Here’s how.

Hacker Noon Emoji Maker
Hat tip to Cliff Manning and his More Than Robots for this simple tool to design retro icons.


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Upcoming CPD

New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3
New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3

This programme is designed for primary teachers who have recently taken on responsibilities and leadership for technology and computing. It will cover curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Colleagues will be expected to attend all three sessions. The third session will be held in a school and will include classroom visits.

Further details for sessions 2 and 3 to follow:

Session 2: 9.30-11.30am Thursday 27 January (virtual)

Session 3: TBC (in person)

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...
Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds – a blended approach
Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds - a blended approach

Get hands-on with the Swift playgrounds app for iPadOS and resources from Learn to Code and Everyone can Code.

- 17:00
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

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.

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