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 think I may be getting software poisoning. I usually explore about one new piece of software every two weeks, but I have downloaded and played with more than 10 in the past two days. I have started bookmarking them so I can hopefully return later to explore more. To keep my sanity I will slow my pace and explore one new piece of software a week and blog about it to share it with my teachers. Thank you for all of your suggestions and keep them coming!
Yes, I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed by having joined this discussion and one at stopcyberbullying and seeing the classroom20resources wiki. I'm thinking that this kind of listing of resources, in this discussion and in the wiki, and the ability to get wonderful recommendations, links, and videos when I need to delve into something by searching and posting here, means I don't have to rush to check it all out right now, either. I just WANT to .
I have a Primary teacher using Audacity to record, and "Levelator" to even out the different cuts, of students reading aloud. The teacher hopes to have the students illustrate some public domain nursery rhymes and limericks and produce a cd of them reading aloud to match their their reading. They will compile the different students' work, and place copies of the finished book and cd-rom at the local women's shelter and Ronald McDonald House. For many of these students, it was a first "read"!

Audacity and Levelator were both accessible to this teacher, although her having time to do post-production is proving problematical. I find having a teacher "buy in" to the finished product is the best motivator!
Scrapblog is nice for creating an online scrapbook, teachertube for educational videos. Spellmaster http://spellmaster.com/ has to be the easiest way to create vocabulary practice games (once downloaded, all you need to do is copy and rename the whole file and then change one wordlist using a text editor which creates 4 different games immediately.) Jpainter has a nice map creator/editor http://www.izhuk.com/painter/
Wow! I just received an overload of information that I am dying to experiment. Thank you so much for the wonderful resources you have shared!
Here are a couple of free resources I was just given at a conference. Most of these are online tools that don't require you download anything on your PC.

TVnima.com - TVnima is an online real time 3D application that allows anyone to create a TV news program using their personal media (photos, images, videos).

Thinkature - With this tool you can map out a project, and invite others to collaborate with you. Everyone that you invite can add content in real time.

Sketchcast - Talk about creativity, you can sketch a drawing with or without voice or write content and save it to your PC.

Skrbl - It's like a virtual space. Simple and easy online multi-user whiteboard, Sketch, text, share files, upload pictures all in one common shared space.

Fauxto (now called Splashup) - Edit your graphics online - no need for PhotoShop.

Eyespot - This tool is like iMovie, you can upload, edit, and mix your videos.

Brain Honey - You can create an online course, and publish it on their website. No need for an LMS, and yes, there is security involved so not everyone gets to view your information.

Hey! Great discussion...gotta love open source!

Here's a little bit of what I've used in the past from Grades 2-12.

ACS Logo - Logo programming language
Alice - 3D animation
Audacity - sound editing program
Celestia - like Google Earth but for space
Lego Digital Designer - lego!
Scratch - animation
Food Force - fun educational game from UN Food Program
SketchUp - CAD
Stellarium - constellation program

I'll definitely be checking out kompozer and seamonkey and some of the other great suggestions! Thanks for those.

Oh, and I use www.ikeepbookmarks.com/nido for links to websites. Some of our staff use it a lot as a place to recommend websites.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Perhaps easier to use than Gimp, for vector design, there is inkscape (mac, pc, linux)

For help spreading the word to your colleagues, there is an association called FOSS. Free open Source Software (for education). FOSS Education wikibook. There is another place called OSSRC, Open Source Software Resource Center. Also a quite good list of Resources and links.
I use several open source/ freeware applications in my graphic arts class. I've actually been using GIMP as my primary graphics manipulation software for projects including logo design, web design, and animation. I also use ArtRage for digital illustration with Wacom Graphire graphics tablets. For those of you looking for a simple painting program that works well for elementary and middle school age students, this one is awesome.

Google SketchUp is a great architectural 3-D modelling program and to create photo-realistic landscape images, I suggest Terragen. My advanced students used SketchUp for a project where each kid created a building and we put them all together into a "virtual cityscape". Another good 3-D modelling program that's closer to a 3-D Studio Max clone is Anim8or.

My students also do a project where they morph digital photos of themselves and teachers. For this we use Sqirlz Morph.

From what others have suggested, it looks like my list might grow. I'll have to try them out!
Have you checked out Sketchcast or Jing? I made a short tutorial video for one of my online courses using Jing in about 3 minutes this morning. I haven't got to play around with sketchcast a lot but from what I explored last week, it looks like a really neat tool for adding illustrations and audio to blogs (they are embeddable, so I put one in the announcements of my online class page in ANGEL) and other pages.

Here's the little video I made this morning if you're interested: http://screencast.com/t/6VS3NepNuX
Arggggh, too many links. I made an effort to had many links given in response to this post to this listing, about widgets and web services for education. I don't include software because others already do that. I list web applications and web services of interest to educators.

I came to set up that listing because I started to spend too much time on "I know I have seen a nice web application that does this... what was its name again?". I find a combination of text and image to work better than the textual information alone that you would find on delicious.

15 added today... Night time here. More will be added tomorrow.

[For those who have been there before, the removal of desktop widgets is temporary. I need to modify a few things to accommodate for the explosion of web apps]



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