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Free/Open Sources Software

Free/Open Sources Software

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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I am involved in a multiple intelligences camp this summer and my role is to introduce students to interesting, useful, educational software. It must be open source/free so that students can use it at home without incurring any cost. So far I have: Audacity Google SketchUp Windows movie maker (not free but loaded on just about every PC) We are a PC environment and, as such, are limited to applications that run on these machines. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Russ

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Ed Hitchcock's picture

Online Stopwatch
Freemind - mindmapping
Orbiter (space simulator -
Tracker (video analysis -
Free Audio Editor (
Jamendo (free music)
PhET simulations
Camstudio (for screencasting)
Raven (sound analysis)
Stellarium (outstanding planetarium software)

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Senior Editor at Large

These came from the Edutopia facebook page:

Nicole C recommends it's free and compatible with microsoft office

Leslie S recommends
scratch is amazing

Michelle S recommends
1. Google Earth (FYI use Google SketchUp to create 3D models to place in Google Earth)
2. Anim8or: 3D models that can be animated (not updated for Windows 7, however)
3. Gimp: like Photoshop, but free.

Rich H
Software for Starving Students

Kathy R
I like Glogster- online poster-maker

Jennifer H
Try Scratch with them
I also have links to lots of resources on my website. Most are free.

Jerry C
Photo Story 3 also from Microsoft. It's free and a nice complement to Movie Maker. I haven't looked in a while but I believe that KDE has some Windows versions of their Edutainment suite, which has apps for all grade levels. Tux Typing and Tux Math also have Windows versions. For office apps,, or either Google Docs or Zoho Docs if they want to use an online office suite. There's more I'm sure, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment.

Debbie L
Photostory 3 is also a free download:

Gretchen Q Wordle. Mywebspiration.

Lisa S
Something in this message is triggering spam filters on Edutopia, so am posting it here:

Russ: You are off to a great start! The other "usual suspects" include Paint.Net, Open Office, Udutu - there are so many! I am going to suggest three sites to really give you some exploring to do: (offers Open Source alternatives to proprietary ...
See More

Emma H
Glogster, Edmodo, Animoto, Voicethread, Prezi, Goggle Docs, FreePlay Music

Tanya A

Kirsten A
google docs have a ton of applications from grade sheets to selfgrading exams and surveys...

Gillian B for 3d

Cori P
Open Office, it's just like MS Office, but it's free and it works with MS Office.

Donna P
We love glogster, animoto, voicethread and google earth.

Tamara E
go to great blog!

Daniel D
have links to several resources at:

Tamara E
primoPDF & eToys are good

Kim M
Freeplay music is a great site for downloading free instrumental music! I use this with my students for digital storytelling or movie making.

Keerstin H
Try to store many classroom links together. Sign in as a guest and use keersyandheyhey to visit mine. It is wonderful for all ages!

Kim P
I have a huge list of free web apps for teachers at


Richard H
If you are getting into any programming, there are plenty of free software development packages, but vpython is way cool with its no brainer 3d imaging

Sean W
"GIMP" is a great open source image manipulation and creation program, similar to PhotoShop and easier to use for most projects.

Alice M
Audacity audio editor/recorder.

Debbie W
RobotProg is a good intro to computer programming. Scribus is an open source desktop publishing program. GIMP is similar to Photoshop. Nvu is a HTML editor.

Mick C
Check out Lots of good ideas.

Susan G
The UDL Toolkit

Diane D
Open Office is good. It is like Microsoft Office, but free. My students use the slide show like PowerPoint.

Catalina B
Forkin ,,,

Connie W
Our class network uses an ELGG platform, not as good as Ning ( which you can't use with under-13s) but similar

Gwynn M
For digital
Online (Don't forget the /edu the public site can be risky
Home/school & lesson great activities K-5
Hope this helps,...

Lee R
Use the ALICE computer animation software. There is an easier and more challenging version. It was begun by the "Last Lecture" prefessor at

Angie B
Stellarium is a cool one! Astronomy/Observatory on your own computer!

Linda D
Please note that some of the suggested sites have Terms of Use agreements that forbid use by the age group in question.

Wayne M
Karafun -- free at
The program is made for making Karaoke --but also works great as a multimedia production suite and media player.
You can add PPT slides (as jpeg) and audio ( --student record, or mp3/wav) Check out my site below for student projects.

Dynamic subtitling of children's music with audio and video --looks like Karaoke...

Kimberly F
Here are a couple of links provided at a Discovery Education workshop.
Try these too:

David L - The Facebook for schools - Free, fast and easy to use...

Debbie W
Check out

Diane W
I second the idea for Stellarium.
"Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope"

Susan G
To go along with Stellarium, "Solar System Science" from Hands on Universe published by Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkekey. The textbook is free in pdf. There is a subscription to Image Processing Software, not free, $5/student. at

Renee C
Check out

Diane W
Nasa's Virtual Microscope is a fun, free program...

Spencer D
west point bridge designer
great intro to engineering. just google it.

Crystal F
Has anyone used nvu? is it easy to use? How does it compare to Dreamweaver or Frontpage? Thanks for any feedback.

Crystal U
Blender is another free 3D sketch program online that is easier to use (in my opinion) than google's.

Sarah M
In addition to all the other ones mentioned, here are two, one for elementary and one for high school:

Lucas Spriggs's picture offers everything that Microsoft Office does but free. Google Docs provides a pared down package similar to the office package but requires an Internet connection at all times. These are great for my students who have computers at home but can't afford to buy Office.

Lucas Spriggs's picture offers everything that Microsoft Office does but free. Google Docs provides a pared down package similar to the office package but requires an Internet connection at all times. These are great for my students who have computers at home but can't afford to buy Office.

Ken Cornett's picture
Ken Cornett
Retired: Grades 4 to 12, specializing in curriculum development

check this site to master the basic facts - the Addition Program is free, it has 270 pages of instructions for the teacher and parents and students, over 90 lessons, 28 audio files, 10addition songs, and flash card designs.

go to for the free Addition Download

Matt Hurst's picture
Matt Hurst
Middle school instructional coach, Keizer, Oregon

Good question. I see Joanne mentioned PhotoStory 3. PhotoStory is a bit easier for students to use than Windows Movie Maker (photos only, no video). I have a tutorial on PhotoStory on my blog and some other great sites like KidBlog and Gamestar Mechanic. (I also like Audacity.)

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