There are quite a few tools teachers should consider to complement their work. Some of these make life easier. Others may add elements to assist the students in their engagement with the content. Whatever the purpose, the following list is worth exploring. A number of these are explored in more detail within this site. If any of these save you time or heartache, please consider buying me a coffee. If visitors have any recommendations for must-have tech tools, please drop me a line here or on Twitter.
- Adobe Animate CC: https://www.adobe.com/products/animate.html
If you want to create a traditional cartoon, Adobe Animate is a great 2D animation software option. With this software, teachers and students can animate via a range of techniques, including hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animation, as well as puppet animation.
- Adobe Animator: https://www.adobe.com/au/products/character-animator.html
Character Animator uses your expressions and movements to animate characters in real time. It’s so fast, you can livestream animations.
- Animatron: https://www.animatron.com/
Animatron is an easy-to-use online animated video maker that enables users to create animations and videos right in the browser. It features a free Marketplace with hundreds of pre-animated characters, props and backgrounds that allows creating animations with a simple drag-and-drop. I obtained a lifetime licence. for under $100. There is a free version.
- Blender: https://www.blender.org/
Blender is an open-source 3D animation suite, developed by many contributors from around the world. It supports the entire animation workflow from start to finish including modeling, rigging, animation, rendering and video editing. Users can import external objects, such as textures and other animations. It’s free but a little overwhelming to novices.
- Cartoon Animator 4: https://www.reallusion.com/cartoon-animator/default.html
Cartoon Animator 4 is a 2D animation software intended for both beginners as well as for professionals. Users can design characters and digitally animate them via expressions and lip-sync capabilities. Much like Adobe’s Character Animator, you can use your facial expressions and your voice to make animations.
- Moho Debut: https://moho.lostmarble.com/products/moho-debut
The Moho Debut is an animation software suitable for beginners interested in learning the art of animation. The interface is easy to understand and allows you to animate quickly. Features such as bone rigging, animated effects for shapes and layers, and keyframe options are available.
- Pencil2D: https://www.pencil2d.org/
Pencil2D is an open-source 2D animation software, allowing users to create a traditional, hand-drawn style of animation. Overall, the software is fairly minimal and easy to use, so teachers and students can focus primarily on their animating.
- Powtoon: https://www.powtoon.com/edu-home/
Powtoon has a free option with some pretty significant restrictions. Teachers should use this option to see whether the software meets their needs. Powtoon is designed for beginners but can also be used by more advanced animators. It can be used to make infographic videos and educational tutorials. There is a range of educational licences available and discounts for these can be readily found online.
- Spine: https://esotericsoftware.com/spine-purchase
Spine is an animation tool that focuses on 2D animation for games. Spine has a streamlined workflow, both for creating animations using the editor and for making use of those animations in games using the Spine Runtimes. Educational Licences are available.
- Stop Motion Studio: https://www.cateater.com/
Want to create movies like Wallace and Gromit or those groovy Lego shorts on YouTube? Stop Motion Studio is an amazing app to create terrific stop action movies with a whole host of features such as the frame-by-frame editor, the timeline and sound editor. In Australia, the software can be purchased for about $15.
- Synfig: https://www.synfig.org/
Synfig is another open-source 2D animation software that is free If you are not comfortable with a frame by frame animation software, this is the perfect tool for you. Synfig provides more than 50 layers to make artworks and animations which can be connected via mathematical expressions. With the help of this, you can make characters, puppets, and complex dynamic structures. The software has a steeper learning curve for beginners.
- Audacity: https://www.audacityteam.org/
It’s hard to go past Audacity. It has stood the text of time because it does what it does beautifully. This is one for teachers who need to edit audio files. The interface provides a graphic representation of the sound file, allowing for easy editing. Additionally, multiple tracks can be overlayed on each other giving students and teachers the opportunity to create rich soundscapes. Furthermore, a vast array of effects can be applied to each audio track.
- Descript: https://www.descript.com/
Descript lets users edit sound files using a word-processing-style document system. Waveforms and tracks are presented at the bottom of the screen. Sound files can also be edited in the same way you’d cut out bits in any other digital audio application.
Content Collaboration and Creation
- Answergarden: https://answergarden.ch/create/
There are a host of these word cloud services out on the web (firstly popularised by Wordle). Whilst teachers are encouraged to tread carefully with Answergarden as it doesn’t require student authentication, it is a fast and effective means to create word clouds based on student contributions.
- Book Creator: https://app.bookcreator.com/
Originally, this was a platform that was released shortly after the first iPads. Users could create interactive iBooks using software on a Mac and deploy these to iPads via an intranet. The software has been updated to run on PCs and can be used to create browser-based interactive resources. Book Creator comes with a host of widgets that add functionailty to the content created.
- Canva: https://www.canva.com/
Canva is a browser-based publishing environement, allowing users to create posters, pamphlets, letters, charts and other visual mediums. It comes in paid and free flavours, with the free version giving users access to 250,000+ free templates,100+ design types and hundreds of thousands of photos and graphics. Teachers and students can collaborate and comment in real-time. The free version also grants 5GB of cloud storage which is more than ample for class projects.
- Comic Life 3: https://plasq.com/apps/comiclife/macwin/
Comic Life 3 is software that provides everything students and teachers need to make stunning comics. Users upload their own images and combine these with panels, balloons, captions, and lettering art to create compelling comics. Comic Life is easy-to-use and is perfect for school projects, how-to guides, flyers, storyboards, book reports, graphic novels and comics.
- Eclipse Crossword: https://www.eclipsecrossword.com/
I have been using this software for years and I simply cannot understand why it isn’t more popular than it is. It is free, although I strongly recommend donating to supporting the devs who have crafted an elegant, functional and intuitive application. The software can create crosswords and exports them to a range of formats, including an interactive webpage.
- EdWordle: http://www.edwordle.net/
EdWordle is a tool for editing word clouds.. The initial word cloud can be generated from the input text or read from an existing one. Users can re-font, re-colore, resize, move, rotate, add and delete words to create custom visualizations. The images created can be saved.
- Mentimeter: https://www.mentimeter.com/
Mentimeter has a suite of online services including presentations, icebreakers quizzes and polls. Their free service is really just a sampler limiting users to 2 question slides and 5 quiz slides. Mentimeter also has a host of plans for educations starting at approximately AU$10 a month. In additions users can create free word clouds with student input.
- Microsoft Teams: https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/microsoft-teams
The COVID-19 lockdown served as the catalyst for my English faculty to commit to Microsoft Teams and it has afforded us a level of asynchronous communication and collaboration that is difficult to conceive on other platforms. Our documents, photos, videos are brought into one place centralised around an every-changing discussion. Teams has allowed us to move as a group with everyone aware of what their colleagues are doing. Sharing on the platform has been incredibly easy, as well as the provision of feedback and support whilst in lockdown.
- Monkey Learn WordCloud Generator: https://monkeylearn.com/word-cloud/
MonkeyLearn’s free AI-powered wordle maker is equipped with advanced relevance algorithms. It can automatically recognize collocations (words that typically go together) and compound words, as well as remove stop words (‘like,’ ‘and,’ ‘from,’ ‘with’).
- Padlet: https://padlet.com/
Padlet is an online noticeboard which is able to feature images, links, videos, and documents. The interactive space is easy to use and easily accessible from nearly any web browser-capable device. If teachers were to use this, I would recommend a site licence with a dedicated domain – the free service is extremely limited.
- Pobble: https://app.pobble.com/
Pobble provides everything you need to teach, improve, and assess writing. Teachers can find or build lessons, and provide their pupils with digital tools to write. Pobble strives to provide opportunities to improve writing in schools. Teachers can find exemplar writing examples, publish writing, share peer-to-peer feedback, use assessment and moderation tools.
- Prezi: https://prezi.com/
Prezi is like PowerPoint after ten coffees. The browser-based software creates online and offline presentations that are animated and dynamic. Users can incorporate video, audio, graphics and other elements into the presentations. If required, users can move through presentations in a non-linear fashion. There are free and paid versions of the service.
- Stile: https://stileapp.com/
This was developed locally – i.e. in Melbourne, Australia – and has rapidly grown over recent years. Strangely, it is geared towards Sciences teachers, but it is something that all teachers could use to great effect. Stile is the equivalent of an online worksheet, but a number of collaborative and interactive elements elevate it to something special. Polls can be answered in real-time and teachers can respond to students as they type.
- Sutori: https://www.sutori.com
Sutori is a collaborative instruction and presentation tool for the classroom. Students can create stories, add text and images, and collaborate on content creation. Sutori can be embedded into other sites amd LMSs. It has free and paid plans ($99 a year for teachers with an unlimited number of students).
- Voicethread: https://voicethread.com/
VoiceThread provides an online platform that lends itself to students presenting ideas and opinions via video, audio or text. It offers a service dedicated to schools called Ed.VoiceThread and describe it as ‘the perfect online environment for students to practice their communications skills online, yet in a controlled, accountable, and transparent setting.’
- Visme: https://www.visme.co/
Visme is a one-stop shop that enables ousers to create high-quality digital assets, such as slideshow presentations, infographics, storyboards, timelines and posters. Visme falls within a new category of services that combine features from both presentation and collaboration apps.
File Storage and Sharing
- Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com
Dropbox has been around for decades. Its free service allows for up for 2 GB of storage. Users can access and share photos, documents, and other files from any device (but not executable files). Dropbox also has educational plans but these are geared at tech administrators at schools and not teachers.
- WeTransfer: https://wetransfer.com/
We Transfer offers temporary storage for large files. I have found it a life-saver when I’ve wanted to share a file with someone outside the boundaries of the school’s LMS e.g. a teacher in another school; a student’s tutor; a parent etc.
There are many sites that provide high quality images but do not charge a subscription fee such as Shutterstock and iStock/Getty Images. Unless otherwise specified, these are free and attribution-free.
- Artvee: https://artvee.com/ (Public Domain Artworks)
- Burst: https://burst.shopify.com/ (Photographs)
- Design Dev: https://design.dev/ (Icons and illustrations)
- FreeIllustrations: https://freeillustrations.xyz/ (Icons and illustrations)
- Freerange: https://freerangestock.com/index.php (Photographs)
- Kaboom: https://kaboompics.com/ (Photographs)
- Morguefile: https://morguefile.com/ (Photographs)
- Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/ (Photographs)
- Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/ (Photographs)
- Reshot: https://www.reshot.com/ (Icons, illustrations and photographs)
- Stocksnap: https://stocksnap.io/ (Photographs)
- Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/images/stock (Photographs)
The software options for manipulating images are vast; there are countless applications out there that will be able to achieve comparable results. Ultimately, it will come down to personal preferences. There are also innumerable applications for tablets; with the exception of Procreate, I have focussed on computers here.
- GIMP: https://www.gimp.org/
GIMP is a popular, free alternative to Photoshop. It is not as intuitive as Adobe’s powerhouse, but it does offer a user interfact options that resembles Photoshop.
- Paint.net: https://www.getpaint.net/download.html
This is a variation of Window’s Paint, but don’t let that put you off. Paint.net does a lot of things Paint couldn’t do and is free. A paid version (approx. $10) is also available in Microsoft’s store. Paint.NET runs on Microsoft .NET, which is included as part of the app. It does not need to be installed separately.
- Photopea: https://www.photopea.com/
Photopea is essentially a browser-based version of Photoshop. Photoshop in the browser, and it’s free if you can ignore the advertisements. Users can pay to remove them.
- Photoscape: http://www.photoscape.org
PhotoScape is easy-to-use photo editing software. I use it often to crunch down images in order to share them via email or for applications and documents that do not require high-definition images. The ability to do this crunching as a batch process makes this one a no-brainer.
- Photoshop: https://www.adobe.com/au/products/photoshop.html
Whilst this list primarily focussed on free and/or inexpensive options, it’s hard to go past Photoshop for any form of image manipulation. In a nutshell, if a school provides it, I recommend spending the time to nail the basics. Photoshop is incredibly powerful, and has become increasingly intuitive over the past twenty years. A basic understanding of layers, filters and colour adjustments can achieve incredible results.
Pixlr is browser-based image editor. It is free, and simple to use. It comes with many effects, overlays and borders, as well as a range of image editing elements such as cropping and colour manipulation.
- Procreate: https://procreate.art/
Procreate is a digital painting app for the iPad. It is inexpensive for what it does. Over the years it has transformed into a viable tool for digital artists. Procreate is packed with features ranging from true-to-life pencils, inks and brushes to advanced layer compositing.
- Sketch: https://www.sketch.com/
Sketch includes tools similar to that of Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator but is dramatically less damaging on the wallet ($99 per year). It is popular among Mac users; unfortunately, there is no Windows version for people on PCs.
Firstly, research suggests that the best form of note-taking occurs using pen and paper, but there are plenty of services, apps and software that are superb digital alternatives, or can serve to supplement physical note-taking.
- EditPad: https://www.editpad.org/
To have a text editor that offers tabs and sits on top of every other program (i.e. does not minimise) is brilliant.
- Notion: https://www.notion.so/
Notion is the natural evolution of the wiki. It’s basically a notebook that has most of the functionality of a website. It allows for embedded content, nested pages, shared files. It is a one-stop shop for all your files. I regard it as my workspace and because I can access the entire space from my phone, it has replaced the sublime Simplenote as my notebook of choice. The presence of shared templates, collaborative tools and the ability to make subdirectories makes Notion everything you could want in a notebook. Also, they offer an educational plan for free!
- Simplenote: https://simplenote.com/
This is a simple, elegant solution for teachers who have their notes in numerous places.
Language and Grammar Websites
- English Stack Exchange (English Questions) https://english.stackexchange.com/
- Etymonline (Etymology Online) https://www.etymonline.com/
- Fliptext (upside down text) http://www.fliptext.org/
- Grammarly (Online Grammar Tool) https://www.grammarly.com/
- LitCharts (Literature Guides) https://www.litcharts.com/
- Literary Devices: https://literarydevices.net/
- OneLook (Advanced Dictionary Searches) https://www.onelook.com/
- Rewordify (Replaces Words) https://rewordify.com/index.php
- Write Words: Frequency (How often…) http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp
- Word Time Traveller (First Use) https://www.merriam-webster.com/time-traveler/2020
Via Office 365, Microsoft produces a range of services that will augment any classroom: Forms, Lists, OneDrive, OneNote, and Stream and Sway. If your school has Office 365, you should consider investing your time in these online applications. Not only do they offer a range of collaborative and interactive opportunities, but your students will be automatically authenticated which means greater security and fewer issues regarding passwords and access. Forms does exactly what you’d expect it to do. It also has a quiz aspect built into it and although it is a little limited in terms of question type, the availability of branching logic creates opportunities for dynamic questioning. Lists is a very easy way to share and gather information. OneDrive is for storage and sharing. OneNote is perfect for digital notetaking and collaboration. Sway is pretty much PowerPoint online with a few more presentation options. Stream is a video-hosting platform that also offers automated transcriptions and commenting functionality.
Quizzes, Polls and Forms
Most LMSs will have their own quiz-making applications. I know Canva for example has an extremely robust one. The selections below may offer additional functionality, but the advantage of using an LMS is the data produced is already in the school system. In addition to the suggestions below are a host of other solutions such as Survey Monkey.
- Clickview Quizzes: https://www.clickview.com.au/formative-assessment/
Use ClickView interactive videos to formatively assess your students on any topic or unit of work. You can add an interactive layer of inbuilt questions or problems to any existing video. Choose from a range of different question types such as multiple choice, short answer or annotation. With interactives, you have effective formative assessment strategies and resources at your fingertips.
- Doopoll: https://www.doopoll.co/
Doopoll is a paid service that allows users to make simple, accessible surveys and polls in a matter of minutes. It provides real time results. I purchased a lifetime licence from one of the software sales sites listed below in Websites for a small price and have used it in class many times. The students respond well to the live polling which I tend to use to get as sense of their understanding and mastery of concepts I teach.
- Factile: https://www.playfactile.com/
Online Jeopardy-style quiz game board with a Buzzer Mode – for in the classroom and for remote learning.
- Google Forms: https://www.google.com/forms/
Some teachers use Google Forms for classroom use. I prefer to restrict my use of Google to search. Google Forms works in a very similar fashion to Microsoft Forms, but uses Google for authentication instead of Active Directory.
- Jeopardy Labs: https://jeopardylabs.com/
I don’t think I’ve ever watched Jeopardy so this service’s focus (to create Jeopardy quizzes) is a little lost on me, but I have used Jeopardy Labs to good effect in the classroom. The UI is a little dated, but it isn’t hard to get an interactive quiz up and running in a relatively short time.
- Kahoot: https://create.kahoot.it/
Kahoots are easy-to-run online quizzes. I tend to avoid it whenever I can, but it is very popular among students. In fact, they tend to go a little crazy whenever that Kahoot theme plays. Walk past any classroom in the final days of term and there’s a fair chance you’ll see a Kahoot in action. Obviously, they’re at their best when the quizzes are customised for the class’ learning objectives.
- Mentimeter: https://www.mentimeter.com/
Mentimeter has a suite of online services including presentations, icebreakers quizzes and polls. Their free service is really just a sampler limiting users to 2 question slides and 5 quiz slides. Mentimeter also has a host of plans for educations starting at approximately AU$10 a month.
- ProProfs Quiz Maker: https://www.proprofs.com/
ProProfs Quiz Maker is a popular online quiz maker with over 100k+ quizzes. Teacher can create a range of quizzes that lead to comprehensive reports and analytics. Currently the Teacher Premium plan costs approximately AU$10 a month.
- Quizizz: https://quizizz.com/
Quizizz is a one-stop platform where teachers can conduct pre-assessments, formative assessments, homework assignments, and post-assessments. It’s a free quiz maker that allows educators to siview thousands of ready-made learning quizzes and create new ones.
- Quiz Maker: https://www.quiz-maker.com/
Quiz Maker is a free quiz platform with a straightforward interface. It offers different quiz types including trivia, personality, graded, survey and polls. It provides score results and leaderboards, as well as completion certificates. The free plan is rather basic; there are paid plans too.
- Quizlet: https://quizlet.com/en-gb
Quizlet is a free online quiz maker for teachers with some advertising. It is fairly easy-to-use and offers a range of fields to use. There is a version called Quizlet Plus with is AU$64.99 a year. This version allows teachers to track set up classes, monitor student progress, customise images and audio and remove advertisements.
- Socrative: https://www.socrative.com/
Immediate feedback is a vital part of the learning process. Socrative gives users an efficient way to monitor and evaluate learning twhile delivering fun and engaging interactions for learners.
- SurveyMonkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/
SurveyMonkey is a popular online survey service that allows users to quickly create questionnaires. The free basic plan is highly limited with a view-only mode of up to 40 survey responses so unless your school has added the service for HR (which is not uncommon), it may be best pursuing some of the other options here.
- TriviaMaker: https://triviamaker.com/
TriviaMaker offers a range of options to gamify lessons. including a Jeopardy-style grid, a trivial pursuit dynamic, a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ game among other formats. If offers a clean UI. It is currently offering a lifetime subscription at US$99 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Typeform: https://try.typeform.com/quiz-builder/
Typeform has an elegant user-interface and users can create clean, accessible quizzes in minutes. Unfortunately, it’s not designed with education in mind and the prices are prohibitively expensive. There is a free plan that currently allows users to create three typeforms andget 100 responses.
Research and Citation
- EasyBib Online Citation Tool: https://www.easybib.com/
- Citemaker Online Citation Tool: https://www.citemaker.com/
- Ultimate Manuals Library: https://www.manualslib.com/
- Comixology: https://www.comixology.com/
Purchased by Amazon in recent years, Comixology is a digital store containing over 75000 comics from publishers such as Marvel, DC, and Image. These can be read on computers and mobile devices.
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/
Goodreads is a social network for readers. Users can follow each other, record their reading progress, write, read and share reviews on books, and gain insights into authors and literature.
- Premier’s Reading Challenge: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/events/prc/Pages/default.aspx
The Premiers’ Reading Challenge encourages children and students to read a set number of books over the year and record their efforts online. Since the Challenge first began in 2005, more than 3 million students have read nearly 51 million books.
- AVG: https://www.avg.com/
I run AVG on my home computer, and it does the job, but the number of notifications and pop-ups does get a bit much. The dashboard is easier to navigate than most comparable programs, and if you want to pay for it, it’s system tools will help keep your computer speed up where it should be.
- Calibre: https://calibre-ebook.com/
Calibre is a cross-platform open-source suite of e-book software. Calibre supports organizing existing e-books into virtual libraries, displaying, editing, creating and converting e-books, as well as syncing e-books with a variety of e-readers.
- Everything: https://www.voidtools.com/
I was quite late in finding ‘Everything’ which is quite annoying given the amount of time it has saved me. Although local search has improved on PCs and Macs over the years, once you’ve used Everything, you’ll never go back. It’s fast and reliable – essentially, if the file is on your machine, Everything will help you find it.
- Glary Utilities: https://www.glarysoft.com/glary-utilities/
My one-stop shop for keeping my computer clean and fast. A free-version does everything you need, but I was so impressed with the elegant and comprehensive application, I purchased it just to support the company. It will clean out files and idenitify issues quickly and IMHO, puts other virus management and system repair applications to shame.
- Keeper: https://www.keepersecurity.com/
Keeper is a password manager. I have been using it for years. I find many people use the same password over and over as they can’t remember multiple passwords. Whilst understandable, this leaves a person in an extremely vulnerable position should a single site be compromised. I use a password manager to keep everything organised. Keeper integrates beautifully with my phone. It’s a paid service, but I prefer to skimp in other areas. There are plenty of alternatives out there but this is the one I have stayed with due to its stability, reputation and usability.
- Malwarebytes: https://www.malwarebytes.com/
IMHO, this is the best anti-malware software around. There is a free version that does an incredible job, but I ended up buying a lifetime licence as the software was that good.
- Print Friendly: https://www.printfriendly.com/
I do not know where I would be without this service. It acts as a browser plug-in and allows users to save a webpage as a PDF. It also allows for easy editing so extraneous text, advertising, inappropriate content and anything else can be removed before it locks it all down as a PDF. This is perfect for repurposing content for students. The service automagically adds a URL for citation purposes, so you can always go back to the original source. In a number of cases, a website has closed, but Print Friendly has allowed me to take a snapshot in time so what I need is preserved.
- SpyBot Search & Destroy: https://www.safer-networking.org/
This has been around for decades and still does a fine job of finding and fixing adware, malware and spyware.
- ToDo: https://todo.microsoft.com/
RIP Wunderlist – we hardly knew you. It was no surprise that the original version of this software/service was gobbled up by Microsoft. ToDo not only allows users to create lists and reminders, these can be shared extremely easily, especially if your staff and students are in a Microsoft ecosystem. ToDo helps me remember meetings, events, and even student birthdays.
Video Production and Hosting
- Ace Thinker: https://www.acethinker.com/download-video
Much like Softorino YouTube Converter (below), this application extracts videos from online sites so they can be watched offline. I am yet to come across a site from which it has been unable to download the video. I bought a lifetime subscription and rely solely on this program to obtain videos for offline use. Obviously, ensure you are abiding by each video site’s terms of service. That said, there are statutory provisions and fair use arrangements across the world that may permit teachers (and students) to downloads videos from certain sites. In Australia, go to SmartCopying for more information.
- Ant Video Downloader: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloader-player/
The Ant Video Downloader is a Firefox browser extension with a companion application for downloading and merging streaming video segments.
- Adobe Media Encoder: https://www.adobe.com/products/media-encoder.html It’s a shame that this program gets ignored as it is brilliant. If your school has the Adobe Suite, you should be using this. It will crunch down the largest video file in no time. Additionally it allows users to change the format of videos. In these days of UltraHD leading to ridiculously large files, tools like Media Encoder are essential.
- Adobe Premiere: https://www.adobe.com/au/products/premiere.html
Premiere is my go to softeware for editing. It does everything. In fact, a number of notable movies were edited on Premiere (Deadpool, Mindhunter, Sharknado 2, Terminator: Dark Fate, Avatar, Hugo, A Ghost Story, Gone Girl) so if you have an Adobe licence, it is worth getting to know this software.
- Camtasia: https://www.techsmith.com/video-editor.html
Camtasia makes it simple to record and create professional-looking videos on Windows and Mac.. There are a number of free alternatives out there, but this is one area that I’d prefer to have the best (and I consider Camtasia to be the best). It gives a lot of post-production options that are intuitive; efficiency is key in screen recording and I have found that Camtasia gives me everything I need and more.
- Clickview: https://www.clickview.com.au/
To my knowledge, many Australian schools have Clickview, and if they don’t they should. Not only does Clickview provide a vast array of curated content, but it is also a means to host teacher/student-made videos without relying on external providers. The videos are hosted on school servers and accessed either via Clickview or any other portal via embeddable html.
- CyberLink Screen Recorder 4: https://www.cyberlink.com/products/screen-recorder/
I have also used CyberLink Screen Recorder 4. It provides desktop capture and video streaming in a single application. Screen Recorder couples the easy-to-use editing features of Cyberlink’s PowerDirector with responsive screen casting and capturing. Currently, this is selling for AU$48.99.
- Da Vinci Resolve: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/
Da Vinci Resolve has been used by the film industry for years chiefly for colour grading as it’s considered to be the best there is for this part of the post-production process. Over recent years, ithe software has been polished to the point that many consider it a viable alternative to Premiere with one single point of difference – it’s free! There is a paid version – and thankfully not a subscription service – and it is said to be incredible, but the free version is a fully-realised video editing suite. It needs a decent machine to run it, but aving played with it, despite years of work in Premiere, I am seriously considering this to be my video editing application of choice.
- DoodleOze: http://doodleoze.com/
Doodleoze is a versatile ‘doodle’ video creator that focuses on helping users create attention grabbing, professional-looking explainer videos in just minutes.
- Flipgrid: https://info.flipgrid.com/
This site became extremely popular when Australia went into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows users to record videos directly to the site and access the contributions of others. Students can leave commentson the videos of their peers and teachers, and these comments can take numerous forms including video. The selling point on the site is its ease of use, but additionally, the opportunity to create secure classes with a specific task supported by additional resources make this a lot more than a video-sharing site. Flipgrid is owned by Microsoft.
- Softorino YouTube Converter: https://softorino.com/youtube-converter/
This gives users the opportunity to download YouTube videos for offline access. It works well, but like many software developers, they’ve moved from a standalone payment to an annual subscription which makes it less of a viable alternative. Teachers and students can save some money by using a download add-on in Firefox to achieve the same result. That said, I did purchase it when it offered a once-off fee and use it frequently. It can also extract the audio from online videos which has proven to be invaluable.
- Production Crate: https://www.productioncrate.com/
Production Crate provides VFX assets and audio files developed by Hollywood industry professionals. These assets can be added to videos to enhance them. Innumerable green screen elements are available to complement video footage. I purchased a lifetime licence using one of the sites below (see Software Resellers below). Production Crate allows five free daily downloads from the basic library but encourages an optional monthly donation of $15. The current paid plan stands at about AU$10 a month.
- Videobolt: https://videobolt.net/
Videobolt has a broad range of template to use as video slideshows, bumpers, titles and visualizers. I purchased a lifetime licence using one of the sites below (see Software Resellers below). The current price is $16.99 a month.
- Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/
Vimeo provides tools to create, manage, and share high-quality videos. Basic membership gives users 500MB per week of upload space, and up to 5GB total account storage. It is a much less toxic platform than YouTube and not subject to censorship and algorithmic constraints the way Google’s behemoth has.
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/
Unfortunately, the YouTube algorithm dictates everything, and it’s not unheard of for entire sites and videos to be blocked as Google endeavour to protect/guide/influence the world through its controls. Also, the comments space may be humourous for students in their down-time, it’s questionable as a forum for measured class discussion.
This collection of sites is primarily concerned with data and information.
- Gapminder ‘Bubbles’: https://www.gapminder.org/tools/
This incredible visualisation provides real-world data in an animated form. Size and movement of individual bubbles highlight trends over time in a vast array of socio-economic areas. Additionally, Gapminder.org provides an offline application and access to data sets.
- Gapminder Worldview Upgrader: https://upgrader.gapminder.org/
Gapminder Worldview Upgrader is a fun educational tool created to help people rid themselves of common systematic misconceptions about global development.
- Gapminder Dollar Street: https://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street
This provides snapshots of everyday life in hundreds of homes on all income levels across the world, to counteract the media’s skewed selection of images of other places.
- TED Ed: https://ed.ted.com/
TED’s education initiative celebrates the ideas of teachers and students around the world. TED-Ed has grown into an award-winning education platform that serves millions, highlighting innovation, provocative thinking and good practice.
- Wolfram Alpha: https://www.wolframalpha.com/
This site is a difficult one to describe. It is a computational engine. Using Wolfram’s breakthrough algorithms, knowledgebase and AI technology, highly specific answers can be found to questions involving data and numeracy.
- Worldometer: https://www.worldometers.info/
Worldometer is run by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time-relevant format to a wide audience around the world. It is also worth checking out Internet Live Stats for specific statistics relating to internet use.
- Scrivener: https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/
Scrivener is an application for writers of all kinds. It assists with structure, layout, format, as well as world-building, character development and plotting. It is versatile offering a wide range of application including play scripts and movie treatments. In fact, I used it to write Sycorax and Danny’s Inferno.
- Twine: https://twinery.org/
- Yo Scenario https://www.yoscenario.com/
Yo Scenario is browser-based branching scenario software or non-linear content. It’s free to use but donations and subscriptions to the project are encouraged. Its uses range from simple branching conversation scenarios or full-screen choose-your-own-adventure videos to immersive choice-driven adventure games.
Buying software online can be expensive but there are a host of sites that act as resellers for software houses and development studios. Sometimes the deals that can be found on these sites cannot be found on the actual retail site for the software. I keep my eyes out for lifetime subscriptions – these can make a massive difference in the cost of software over the lifetime of its use.