I am trying to expose my colleagues to great open source (or otherwise free) software. So far they use or have access to Moodle, Audacity, Sketchup, Google Earth, Tuxpaint, and of course Firefox. For web site maintenance we use Joomla! We have MS Office, so Open Office and friends are not really necessary. I have contemplated exposing them to The Gimp, or Gimpshop, but for most elementary classrooms that would be primarily a teacher tool.

I am looking for tools that would be especially good to use with elementary students. What other great classroom tools should I share with them?

Tags: elementary, open, oss, software, source

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I would recommend del.icio.us! I set up an account for the teachers at school (we all share the same account) so we can store and share links.

The teacher page came out of self-defense, when I found myself flagging things at home and then printing and stuffing mailboxes or passing papers around at staff meetings or setting up “resource folders” … Well, you get the idea. I set up a tag for each teaching team:FYI-Primary, FYI-Intermediate, etc. I also set up a “to-print-share” tag, as well.

Another cool thing–we have a tag for each class and I have dragged the link to it onto our browser toolbar as a button that the kids can click to get to the websites we want them to find. The computers in our technology studio all have buttons in the Firefox browser that say “Primary” and “Craig’s Links”–soooo much easier to tag something the night before in del.icio.us at home and then know that it will be set up for the students to click and go at school the next day!
I do something very similar with LinkaGoGo. I have a page for each of my schools that we use as the home page on the lab's web browsers. I actually have been contemplating switching to del.icio.us! It's good to hear of someone using it successfully in the way that I would like to use it. Right now, teachers email me links and I add them to their section in LinkaGoGo. I would like to get away from a model where I have to control things. I should see if one big shared account would be acceptable to my teachers. Thanks for the idea!
That is a really clever use of del.icio.us. I gotta give that a try! Thanks for sharing...
This is a great use of del.icio.us, and one that I've been employing for a while. Sadly, some districts block del.icio.us because of its "social" nature - students might find their ways to something, um, less than academic.
I really like this use of del.icio.us Why it never occured to me. Geez! Thanks for opening my eyes!
Thanks, all, for this positive feedback. I feel very validated for my early ventures into social networking! I so often feel isolated in the middle of nowhere with NO other person / school / to interact with, this has been great! I had never heard of LinkaGoGo and several other programs mentioned already, so I will be spending my next free time checking them out.

I really like this use of delicious, and I checked out more than a dozen social bookmarking sites before settling on delicious (magnolia was close, but delicious' more streamlined page listing made it easier for my younger students to find the links!)

I'll add one more idea: I tried this with a middle school class, and it worked really well. I opened them an account and then assigned them to look up the derivation of a word. When they found a good site, they were encouraged to bookmark it. That weekend, from home, I checked their group account and found that one student had bookmarked several sites for a "timeline" assignment. On monday, I rewarded that student with a hershey's kiss for each site bookmarked. They took off from there! I had the students "tag" any bookmark they added with their first name, and then they could click on their name to see all their tagged bookmarks. I removed anything not tagged with a student name. Pretty soon, I could click a student name and see the quality of research they'd been doing...

Hey--can I encourage you to add your idea to the Classroom 2.0 wiki? www.classroom20.net. There is a section on "social bookmarking" and you could add this in as a lesson idea! If you need help, ping me. :)
Hokay, Steve,
Let me put it into more of a lesson plan/idea format and I'll post it up. If you don't see something soon, nudge me. #%^)
I really like Scribus for desktop publishing. It is user friendly and quite powerful. I also like Komposer over NVU - although lately I have most of my webpublishing on blogs, wikis and social networks.
I have a couple of teachers who I think would love to use Scribus. I will add it to my list of things to install and explore. Thanks Sharon!
You can get a collection of opensource software at software for starving students. Each item on the list found here: http://softwarefor.org/faq.html#q5 is a link to the software.
Celestia for studing the planets is great.

This list includes Freemind which is good inspiration alternative. THere are a couple of Web 2.0 tools that do a nice job too...
mindomo, glifty and mindmeister

GoogleEarth has tons of uses. We are doing literature tours. Students with the world History topic of WOmen's rights used google earth to tour us through the world and show images and discuss issues geographically. It was very effective.

Seashore might be easier than gimp and if you want a browser based editor for images, try picnik.com.

Not open source but cool, creative web2.0s
Jumpcut.com and http://www.imagelooop.co.uk let you do some cool things with images and video through the browser.
Comics from photos with http://www.comeeko.com/
I do enjoy Freemind. It is still a little glitchy sometimes, but it is the only concept mapping software that I install on my personal computers.

Software for starving students has quite a few pieces of software that are new to me. Thanks for the link!



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