Free And Opensource Software

There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as free software. There are a lot of reasons to consider free software, one of which is of course its affordability. Some of the reasons I consider free software are the following:

More money into equipment
More money for professional development
Transparency between home and school
Free Updates
No limits on numbers

Below I have listing and links to many of those free and open source programs.

Open Office - the leading open-sourceoffice software suite for word processing,spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on allcommon computers. It stores all your data in aninternational open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completelyfree of charge for any purpose.

Lotus Symphony - Lotus® Symphony™ is a richly-featured set of productivity tools that are intuitive and easy to use and provided at no charge. There are three applications that make up Lotus Symphony: Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets, Lotus Symphony Presentations. Lotus Symphony puts you in charge – take control over spiraling upgrade costs, ensure access to documents well into the future with new standard file formats (ODF), get more from your current investments with support for Microsoft Windows and Office file types.

Google Docs - Could be the wave of the future and can be integrated with Office. There is even special programs available for schools. Collaborative projects really make for an excellent education experience not only because students bounce ideas off each other and improve each other's writing skils, but also because the process itself teaches them how to work well with others - a valuable skill for everyone. There is of course a word processor, spreadsheet, presenter, and most recently a draw program.

GIMP - While Photoshop is awesome you can get a program much like it for free. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc. GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted. I have a page on this website that includes lessons and tutorials for Gimp.

Scribus - A desktop publishing program for free? Scribus is an Open Source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4/eComStation and Windows desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, Spot Colors, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.

Scratch - Computer programming mixed with multimedia and game making ability! Not only that it can be understood at all levels of education for elementary to high school. Use it in the school and students will be downloading it at home!Students will enjoy this programming language as they make their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. They can even share their creations on the web. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Check out the interactive e Scratch Boards. I have a page on this web site that is useful for exploring scratc h and provides lessons and ideas.

SketchUp - CAD that's easy and CAD that's fun from our friends at Google. Most students get rolling with SketchUp in just a few minutes. The site has dozens of video tutorials, an extensive Help Center and a worldwide user community mean that anyone who wants to make 3D models with SketchUp, can. This is another program that students will download at home! I have supplied information in this wiki that will help you get started with SketchUp in the classroom.

West Point Bridge Design - Not as well known but a program that students will enjoy as they learn about physics, math, engineering, and CAD. Let them know where to find it and they will be working at home. I have provided on this site a complete unit on bridge studies which incorporates West Point. Could be used from upper elementary to high school in varying degrees! A must have program for those considering serious STEM education. There are several version and I suggest WPBD 4 Vs 4.1.1 for ease of use, training, and materials I supply on this site.

ESRI GIS Software - The leading company in GIS offers schools a free AEJEE (mac/win) ArcGIS Explorer (win) Program and also allows schools a chance to earn a free site license for ArcGIS by doing a simple PBL project. Great for studies in social studies and math. I have supplied a site in this Wiki that gives all the information plus inexpensive books that will help you build an entire curriculum integration tied to national standards. It is applicable from elementary to high school.

ITSI ProbeWare and Models - This comprehensive information technologies (IT) project for middle and high school teachers prepares diverse students for careers in IT by engaging them in exciting, inquiry-based science projects that use computational models and real-time data acquisition. The project provides over 126 hours of lab-based, credit-bearing activities for 90 teachers and full support for classroom implementation. Much more then free Java application it is a complete curriculum including classroom activity management. I have a page dedicated on the Wiki that will give more information.

Audacity - If you are working with sound, music, and recordings in the classroom then this is a must program. Audacity® is free cross platform, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. A great program for creation of Podcasts in the classroom.

GarageBand - Probably the most envied program of Windows users. Not much to explain other then creating great music. The MAC people already get it, us Windows users have no need to since the closest program I know is available costs a few bucks.

Photo Film Strip - Video clips created from photos in 3 steps. Select images to determine motion, and produce video. There are output formats for VCD , SVCD , DVD and FULL -HD available. The slideshow effect is known as the |Photo Film Strip]] Photo Film Strip video clips created from photos in 3 steps. Select images to determine motion, and produce video. There are output formats for DVD and -HD available. The slideshow effect is known as the "Ken Burns" effect. Comments on pictures are generated in a subtitle file. Furthermore, in the slideshow background music can be used. Unlike other programs, offers the possibility Photo Film Strip, the slideshow in full-HD (1920 x 1080) resolution to produce. This page may require you to translate from German to English which is easy with a button at the top.

Photostory3 - Possibly the best free program from Microsoft. Great for digital story telling. Easy to learn and a great in-service for teachers. Outstanding effects. It only allows for still pictures and has one audio frame although it is possible to have voice and music using the narration tool in PhotoStory3. Runs on Windows XP and 7. May have to use emulation mode on 7 and I have been told emulation mode will sometimes work on NT.

iMovie - Awesome program and does some of those awesome av features that MAC does best. Great for movies and digital stories. Usually already a part of the MAC operating system.

Movie Maker - Windows answer to iMovie. Great for Windows users although their are some audio limitations as far as number of tracks. Seems that Windows enjoys hiding it in the accessories area. There are Windows Movie Maker Live for Windows 7, Windows Movie Maker 2.6 for Vista and possibly Windows 7, and Windows Movie Maker 2.1 for XP. The main link on this site links to a Wikipedia article that attempts to explain differences.

Cmap - Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts.|Cmap]] - The most known program in the world of cash is Inspiration, and it is hard to beat! Cmap is one of the better options for making a concept map. For those unfamiliar, >Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts. You need to use the Concept Map on the website provided to download and learn about Cmap.