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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