Give it a try – our pick of the best apps and tools, part 4

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, and part 3.

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Google Earth Timelapse shows how the planet has changed over the past 35 years. It’s a valuable tool for researchers and conservationists but it can also be used in the classroom to explore the world over time, from deforestation to the growth of cities. Here’s a sample lesson plan from an American teacher.

Remember ‘choose your own adventure’ books? This free, open source software allows you to create text-based interactive stories with variables and conditional logic.  It can be used in a very simple and visual way or, once you’re familiar with it, can incorporate code such CSS and more. It publishes to HTML so it can be embedded into website designs.

Teacher Tapp
Have you used Teacher Tapp yet? It collects teachers’ views and experiences via three questions each afternoon to build a data bank  to inform policymakers, school leaders and help them make better decisions. This School Leadership podcast with its founders Laura  McInerney and Becky Allen gives more background (it’s in the first half). You can also read each week’s questions, aggregated responses and the daily CPD tip on the Teacher Tapp blog.

Location tracking
Discover how to turn off Google’s location tracking.

VR Tour Creator
Google’s Tour Creator allows anyone to create their own VR tour using imagery from Google’s Street View or your own 360-degree photos. The app is designed to work with Google Cardboard and Google’s existing VR ‘field trips’ app Expeditions. Once you’ve created your tour, you can publish it to Poly, Google’s library of 3D content. To view it, open the link in your browser or view in Google Cardboard. You can also embed it on your school’s website.

Night Zookeeper
With the news this week that Sky Kids has commissioned 10 episodes of Edtech 50-winner Night Zookeeper for 2019, now might be a good time to explore this online writing tool, which inspires children to invent their own magical animals and write stories about them. The tool suggests age appropriate vocabulary to include in the stories along with helpful tips, there are thousands of lesson plans for teachers plus a free class blog to share children’s work with parents.  The upcoming animated series will invite children to participate by creating characters or background designs and suggesting plot points and dialogue for the show.

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