This is undoubtedly one of the most trying and difficult times for our generation. Most people’s daily lives have been disrupted, or turned completely inside out, without certainty of when this will be over. For most of us this now means that were are stuck inside indefinitely without access to our regular means of learning, creating and keeping active: no means of engaging with our usual lessons and all the culture around us in the way we’re used to.
Luckily, this has also opened up a wave of support and compassion all around the world, from individuals and companies who want to do their bit to help us through this unprecedented situation. I want to talk about those who have made their content or software more accessible for those who wish to find a creative outlet or take this opportunity to acquire a brand-new skill. I have a compiled a list several platforms, communities and individuals that have made their services free (or cheaper to use) due to necessary isolation. They are all dedicated to some form of creative or self- improvement, and separated by different categories. This is not an exhaustive list I’m sure, so even if you don’t find what’s right for you, hopefully this gives you an idea of what is out there!
- The big highlight of this has been SkillShare – you may have seen its many adverts and sponsorships on Youtube – is allowing everyone to access its premium membership for free for 2 months. Skillshare gives you access to 25 000 classes and tutorials on absolutely anything you could dream of. You could be looking for something artistic, academic, scientific, creative or casual. You can browse some of what is on offer on the home page.
- If you’re more interested in watching or streaming something educational, than Documentary Heaven may be the one for you! This free websites boasts a large collection of documentaries ranging from history, business, mental health, ecology, politics, cinema, science and more.
- If you’re looking for something to fill up time over a longer period, or you want to engage with an entire course: the Open University are advertising an exciting catalogue of free courses. You can enhance your existing knowledge or dip into brand new subjects. This could be Health, Psychology, Sport, Music, History, Law, Maths or even business!
- And if business is something you’d like to focus on more during this time there’s UHubs which provides training content and webinars from experts in global business, strategy, marketing, management and leadership from a wide variety of businesses and companies. Might be interesting if this is what you are studying at University for example. This one is not quite free, but individual sessions are currently working on a donation which only require a £5 donation to attend individual webinars live.
- Joe Wicks’ daily PE classes have already become infamous among schools and pupils, as a strategy for implementing daily exercise into our quarantine routine. Whilst many would say this is geared towards children, it is a properly intense workout and I would recommend it to all ages. You can watch all the videos and livestreams here.
- If you’re into Yoga, the Yoga app Down Dog -is available for free during Lockdown until May 1st. This exclusive access will be even longer if you are a teacher, pupil or healthcare professional. Yoga workouts on this app are completely customisable in every-way and you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.
- The NHS Fitness Studio (they really are the best!) offers free videos for all kinds of workouts including Aerobics, Pilates and Strength and Resistance, for example.
- For longer workouts, Les Mills have also made all their fitness classes in yoga, body balance, muscle build-up and cardio available for free. Hour-long lessons, for all levels, means you can really dedicate your time to improving your capabilities.
- If dance is more of your jam, artists and companies are offering free dance lessons in ballet, tap dancing , and hip-hop – as a few examples. CLIC Studios are also hosting a significant number of free dance classes, in a variety of styles for a limited time.
- If you are looking for Zumba or even more workouts to sate your appetite, a quick search on Youtube will enable you to find what you need to keep fit, even from your bedroom.
- Given the increased amount of anxiety and stress that Covid-19 has caused, having the ability to practice self-care is more important than ever. Headspace, one of the very first meditation apps is offering free access to a series of short meditations called ‘Weathering the Storm’ in addition to the rest of the free content.
- Calm are also releasing free meditations to help improve mental health, as well as running 10-minute meditation live streams on Facebook and Youtube, Monday to Friday, each week.
- Youtuber Jbittersweet also offers various free meditation playlists covering guided meditation, sleeping, anti-anxiety and spirituality, geared towards all levels including beginners.
- Don’t forget the university’s list of mental health resources. Please don’t hesitate to make use of them no matter how you feel no matter what the situation.
LITERATURE AND LANGUAGES
- If perhaps you’re interested in brushing up your linguistic skills during this time Babbel have the deal you’re looking for! They are giving away a month free on their application as long as you provide a valid educational email address. Babbel allows you to tailor your learning plan to your preferred pace and needs. Find out more here.
- If you are a student at the University of Surrey you have full access to the language app UTalk entirely for free until you graduate. I would personally recommend both these apps over Duolingo as there is no daily limit to how many exercises you can do.
- If you’re looking to practice language reading you can make use of Audible’s new Free Stories range, featuring audiobooks in foreign languages (French, Italian, Spanish, German and Mandarin) as well as British and American literary classics. You can listen to these on any device.
- For something a little more out of the box: University of Edinburgh PE student, Holly McConnel, has just started a free Youtube series teaching sign language. People have already flocked to the channel and are loving it. You can check it out here.
- If you’re thinking of improving your musical skills, Youtube is full of tutorials for singing and instrument playing – you can hear what a piece you are practicing sounds like, watch step-by step guides and hear tips from seasoned musicians.
- For guitar players, Fender is making their guitar tuition app free for a whole three months – normally costing £10 per month. All you have to do is sign up on their website and redeem the code shown.
- Scribd is also giving out a free membership for a month. With this membership you’ll have free access to digital music sheets for any instrument, as well as musical scores, ebooks and audiobooks.
- In addition to this, IMSLP is a free library of choral sheet music and works from classical composers if that is more your style – or if you are looking for more of a challenge.
- To fire up those creative juices, Hobbycraft’s online Ideas Hub contains more than 100 articles and tutorials dedicated to easy crafts, sewing, crochet, knitting and so much more.
- Similarly, The Wool Gang’s website host free video tutorials on various crafting techniques, from crocheting your own espadrille sandal shoes, to knitting a blanket and making friendship bracelets. Wholesome and educational!
- If drawing is more what you’re after: Rapid Fire Art are currently offering free drawing tutorials via the website.
- To our general benefit, Google Arts and Culture have teamed up with 12 museums from around the world to create free virtual tours of their incredible collections. Learn more about your favourite pieces of art and discover new paintings, sculptures and exclusive exhibitions right from home. Some of the museums involved are the Guggenheim Museum, New York, Musee d’Orsay in Paris, British Museum, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, just to name a few.
GRAPHICS AND IT
- Those of you who are more interested in graphics and editing software, there is so much out there to explore! You can use Kapwing, a free online software to create and edit images, videos and GIFs.
- Unfortunately unless your institution organises it for you, you will only be able to access 7 days of free access to Adobe Creative Cloud apps (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator etc). However a free Photoshop does exist: Canva. It offers design templates and is very intuitive to use. You can even get a 1-month free trial of the premium experience to add more flexibility and customisation to your designs and photo editing.
- For video editing, especially if you already have access to iMovie or Adobe Premiere Pro, you can find tutorials for both of these covering all the basics, and more advanced features, right here.
- If you’re into modelling, architecture or 3D construction of any kind, Sketchup is advertising its free browser version and Blender is currently going for free. Blender is also great to use if you are interested in animation, VFX, simulation or motion tracking.
- Are you a student with a remote interest in engineering, architecture or design? You can a free education licence for a year, or more, on many of Autodesk’s applications. This includes Autocad and can be accessed via creating an account with a valid education email. If you are not a student, you can still get a 30 day free trial – which still a good deal.
Hopefully this will have helped some of you or at least peaked your interest. If you find more outside the list, don’t forget to spread the word!