Tag Archives: Free

Thursday’s Tip: Open Source Software

Some people love their open source software. - Click for source.

One of the major problems with equipping schools with new technology is the cost of constantly updating and replacing software. Not only is software expensive, but the licenses for an entire school building or district really add to the overall cost. This obstacle means that schools will be stuck with outdated tools or, even worse, go without.

This is where open source software can save schools an incredible amount of money and resources. Open source software is software developers have created that are free to use and distribute. They share the coding for the software so that users may create their own applications and fixes for bugs that may arise. The process for improving and updating open source applications has improved so much that it’s become as efficient as those of for-profit software. The other great thing is that using the software is free. Most developers just ask for donations and/or participation in their edit and revision process.

Here’s a list of some popular open source applications ready for download today:

These are just a few of the more popular open source programs out there. There is plenty more open source software out there. Lists of open-source software can be found at Damicon, Wikipedia, and Ubuntu.

All of this software is free to download and distribute. Expensive updates and licensing are no longer necessary. Plus, many of these applications work well with existing for-profit software already present on most computers.

Which open source applications do you use on a regular basis? Which software do you wish had an open source equivalent? How might the use of open source allow more accessibility for our students?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center. He would also like for you to be aware that he publishes this blog using WordPress and facilitates his training sessions using MOODLE, both open source applications.

HD_Links: Free Tools

For this weeks list of helpful links, we’ll keep it simple. Here are five links to tools or list of tools that won’t cost you or your district a cent.

Get a head start on creating your Web 2.0 Toolkit this summer with Larry Ferlazzo’s list of “The Best Collections Of Web 2.0 Tools For Education.” Instead of your typical list of tools, this is sort of a list of lists of Web 2.0 tools for your classroom. This link alone will provide you enough work for the summer.

Do you want to have your students blog without going through the process of setting up a blog site and assigning logins? Try Instablogg, a free blogging tool that simply allows users to publish one post at a time without having to set up an entire blog. Each post is given a unique URL for sharing.

Ayushveda Web has provided a nice list of six online diagram tools for creating graphic organizers or your very own infographics.

Issuu is an online magazine publishing service that anyone can use. As far as classroom application, it seems it would be a great tool for a large interdisciplinary project or even a portfolio. Watch the video and see what you think.


Finally, every 21st century classroom needs an image editing program, but software like Photoshop or Fireworks can be expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of great, free alternative out there. Check Web Design Booth‘s list of Photoshop alternatives here.

As you can see, there is no shortage of free and effective tools online. It’s just a matter of hunting them down and spending time learning how to use them. I guess that’s what summers are for. 😉

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

4ALL: Convert PowerPoint Presentations to Video

Are your students bored with PowerPoint? Do they respond better to video? Well, there’s a free converter you can download today!

Convert your Power Point presentations to video. This program will allow you to turn your static slide presentation into a video for streaming online. Best of all, it is free! (Did we mention that it was free?)

Carla Chaffin is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.