Give it a try – our pick of the best apps and tools, part 12

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 and part 11

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.

Nasa pic of child with VR headset
Credit: Nasa

How to use an LED with Raspberry Pi

“Blinking an LED with the help of Raspberry Pi has become a rite of passage for new digital makers: it’s the physical equivalent of the ‘hello world’ program! It’s the first thing … many young people in physical computing sessions at coding clubs in our networks, learn how to do.” This step-by-step video shows you how to do it in less than two minutes.

Chrome Music Lab

We really rate the Chrome Music Lab website as a great way for children to get creative with music and explore its connections to science, maths, art, dance and more. It’s free, you don’t need to set up an account and it works across all devices. We’ll be highlighting a few of the experiments we like the most in the following weeks and, if you already use it, we’d love to hear what’s worked for you. Chrome has linked to some uses on Twitter.

Book Creator premium

Book Creator is one of our favourite tools and the premium version is now free for 90 days. This version allows users to work together on books in real time, and Book Creator has also collated some ideas for how it can be used for remote learning.

Daily Scratch challenge

This week’s Give it a try comes from our very own Rowan Roberts. For the next two weeks she’s sharing a daily Scratch challenge via @LdnCLC, from creating different sounds to practicing French. Find it at @LdnCLC or #dailyScratchchallenge.

Give it a go

It’s a give it a try bonanza this week as we share Julia Lawrence’s Give it a go padlet, which is packed full of online art, creativity and culture ideas for young people of all ages.

Mouse open projects

Our colleagues at the Dreamyard Center in the Bronx, NYC, work in partnership with Mouse: ‘a youth development nonprofit that believes in technology as a force for good’. We like this collection of technology projects which young people can work on independently, from animation and storyboarding to Scratch-based music projects.

OBS Studio

Suggested by Doug Belshaw in his always interesting and entertaining Thought Shrapnel newsletter, OBS is free, open source video conferencing and video editing software.

Nasa at Home

Got some 3D glasses (or even a VR headset!) at home? Escape lockdown with a virtual tour of the International Space Station, the TRAPPIST-1 star system or the surfaces or other planets with Nasa at Home.

Video Puppet

This week’s suggestion is via Richard Byrne, who suggests an easy way to turn slides into a narrated video using the free tool Video Puppet. The free version is limited to 20 slides but, as Richard points out, “anything longer than that and students will probably tune out anyway. You’re probably better off making two videos that have ten slides than one video that has twenty slides.” He’s made a video showing how you can use Video Puppet to quickly create a video from PowerPoint slides.

Google Meet

Using Zoom for family/friends virtual meetups but need to keep going for longer than 40 minutes? Google Meet is now available to all personal accounts for free. Our IT manager Krzysztof also recommends Jitsi Meet, which is free, open source and doesn’t require any accounts to set up and use.

BBC Together

It’s like Netflix party but for the Beeb – an experimental tool from the BBC “that will let you watch or listen to BBC programming with others over the internet, with everyone seeing the same thing on-screen at the same time”. It makes synchronous BBC bitesize watching possible for schools.

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