Below is a collection of links to free software that may be useable for classroom teachers. This listing was composed mainly for Mac users, although much of the software is cross-platform, free, open source software. Also on this page is a collection of free Mac Classic applications suitable for use in the classroom that I have permission or am legally able to host on this server. I also posted a few of my classroom files. Since some of the applications are getting really hard to find anymore, I've kept them here, along with some newer items.
Be sure to check out my page of free Desktop Photos and the Educators' News features, Resource Sites for Teachers and Free Stuff for Teachers, Homeschoolers, and Students - 2011, as well.
Please send your suggestions for this page to :
Celestia - Free, space simulation software that can simulate perspectives from other points in space
Stellarium - A free open source planetarium for your computer - This one is great for those times when you're outside and wonder about the name of a celestial object, or if it's a star or planet.
Mom's Calendar - An excellent, freeware that provides a simple printable calendar - I used this one extensively when I was teaching. If you have to put out a printed calendar, this is the one to use!
Pando Calendar - A freeware program that places a customizable calendar on your desktop
Classic Mac Emulator
Concept Mapping Tools
IHMC CmapTools - Empowers users to construct, navigate, share, and criticize knowledge models represented as Concept Maps. (Free for educators)
Course Management Systems (CMS)
Joomla! - Joomla is a CMS that I read a lot about for use with businesses (often in combination with Moodle). I've not used it, but a buddy, Mark Crosby, used it to create the Electrical & Computer Engineering site at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Another acquaintance, Paul Brumley, used it to create one of the nicest looking school sites I've seen, Randolph Eastern School Corporation. (Paul also runs a Moodle server for his teachers at RESC.)
Moodle - Moodle is a free, open source Course Management System (CMS) designed to help educators create effective online learning communities. The word Moodle is actually an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, although the "M" originally stood for "Martin’s", as in " Martin Dougiamas," the original developer of Moodle (Martin's Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment).
Sakai - A collaborative, open source CMS developed originally by Indiana University, MIT, Stanford, and the University of Michigan
BlueGriffon - A WYSIWYG content editor powered by the Gecko rendering engine of Firefox 4. Available for Windows, Linux, and Intel powered Macs.
Nvu - A WYSIWYG HTML Editor, based on the Composer component of Mozilla Application Suite and Gecko 1.7.
Adobe Photoshop Express - This one is currently in beta. Adobe offers a streamlined, free, online version from its Photoshop series that is really excellent for simple retouching and cropping of photos.
Picasa - Google's Picasa allows one to "organize, edit, and upload your photos to the web from your computer in quick, simple steps. Arrange your photos into folders and albums and erase their blemishes using powerful editing tools in Picasa." Picasa is currently available for Windows XP and Vista and for Mac OS X (Intel CPU only).
GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. A variant of GIMP, GIMPshop, "intended to replicate the feel of Adobe Photoshop" is also available. (Note to Mac users: GIMPshop 2.2.11 requires Apple's free X11 installed from your system disks and from reports on the net appears not to work under Leopard.)
The official GIMP site refers Mac users to the Wilbur Loves Apple Community for Mac downloads of GIMP.
Seashore - A basic, open source image editor for Mac OS X based on GIMP technology. It features gradients, textures, and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes, multiple layers and alpha channel editing. "Seashore only aims to serve the basic image editing needs of most computer users, not to provide a replacement for professional image editing products."
Fraction Calc - FractionCalc will perform standard operations on fractions, improper fractions, or mixed numbers. The interface is designed to be in a similar format to the way fractions are taught in school.
Geometry - Geometry is a calculator which will calculate surface area and volume of a variety of geometric figures such as prisms, cone, sphere, pyramids, torus and cylinder. The software will perform calculations involving the pythagorean theorem, sine, cosine, tangent, special triangles, regular polygons, circles, arcs, triangles, squares, rectangles, distance, slope, midpoint, Trigonometry, and coordinate geometry.
MATH DITTOS 2 - our own unique, fact supported approach to teaching computation. Each page in the series presents a limited number of problems with plenty of workspace. The facts necessary to complete each problem are presented on the page in a fact reference and practice section. Re-released as freeware, January 1, 2010.
Microsoft Office Alternatives
OpenOffice.org - A multi-platform, multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute. (Open Office for Mac - also requires X11 from your system installer disks)
NeoOffice now charges $10 for downloads, so it no longer can be included as a free item here.
OpenOffice for Kids (OOo4kids) - a slimmed-down version of the open source OpenOffice.org productivity suite with simplified controls targeted for children between the ages of 7 and 12. It could also be quite useful for the geezer crowd (me!) needing a simplified office suite with larger than standard controls.
Bibliographer - An application that generates bibliographies in standard MLA format. (Mac only)
Unscrambler - An application that will unscramble those scrambled word assignments you lost the answer key for! (I recommend this one for LD teachers who have workbook pages that require unscrambling words. When I was teaching, my kids had "always permission" to use Unscrambler on such assignments.)
Smell-O-Mints - Smell-O-Mints is a Periodic Table of all the chemical elements known at this time for Macintosh. Click on an element symbol to get a little more information on the item, like atomic weight, radioactive properties, and atomic number. You can use the popup menu to switch between the basic table and a table of solids, liquids and gasses, and more.
Periodic Table Classic - This Windows application contains all the elements of the Periodic Table along with images of the elements in their natural state, as well as lots of other information and interactive displays.
Vienna - A freeware, open source RSS/Atom newsreader. This is the application I use when writing Educators' News.
Screen Capture Software
Capture Me - An open source Mac OS X screen capture utility which features a floating capture window, resize, invert, and MPEG-4 QuickTime movies (no sound). Users can save images in a variety of formats and locations.
CamStudio - CamStudio records activity from your screen and audio from a microphone into AVI video files and can also convert the AVIs into Streaming Flash videos (SWFs) using its built-in SWF Producer. (Windows only) Note that you'll need to download the codec and the application (I recommend the 2.5.1 beta.).
AdAware Free - A free anti-malware that offers real-time protection, a rootkit removal system, and automatic updates. (Windows only)
avast! - A free antivirus program that provides minimal protection against viruses and spyware. A commercial version is also offered.
ClamXav - a free virus checker for Mac OS X. It uses the tried, tested and very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end.
PC Tools iAntiVirus - protects against Mac threats.
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition - a free, full-featured anti-virus program based on Sophos Anti-Virus 7.2. Detects both Mac and Windows threats.
SpywareBlaster - A free app that "started out as a malicious software blocker focused on ActiveX-based attacks." It continues to do that and also blocks "all kinds of spyware that gets delivered through your Web browser, although its defenses are most useful for Internet Explorer users." (Windows only)
MAMP (Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP) - Installs a local server environment in a matter of seconds on your Mac OS X computer. Note that the MAMP site clearly states "MAMP was created primarily as a PHP development environment for Macintosh computer and should therefore not be used as Live Webserver for the Internet." The Moodle Organization also offers a free MAMP download with Moodle pre-installed.
XAMPP - An easily installed, free and open source cross-platform web server package. It includes the Apache web server, MySQL, PHP, Perl, a FTP server and phpMyAdmin. The Moodle Organization offers XAMPP with Moodle pre-installed for Windows and Macintosh.
Spelling Practice Software
Master Spell - An excellent Mac-only spelling practice application. Teachers may either enter word lists and use the computer's text-to-speech capability to read the test to students, or they may record the test themselves. We had incredible results using a similar program with our special education students.
TeX FoG - A tool that helps TeX and LaTeX users type equations without the need to remember all the commands. (Mac only)
Texmaker - A free LaTeX editor, that integrates many tools needed to develop documents with LaTeX, in just one application.
TextWrangler2 - A freeware text editor for Macintosh from Bare Bones Software, the makers of BBEdit. Older Mac Classic compatible versions of BBEdit Lite, the predecessor to TextWrangler, are still available at times.
HandBrake - An open source, cross-platform video transcoder that can convert MPEG video (including DVD-Video) into a MPEG-4 video file in .mp4, .avi, .ogm, or .mkv containers. The program is used by many people to convert DVDs into other forms so they can be viewed on iPods, iPhones and with the Mac QuickTime Player.
Camino - An open-source GUI-based web browser based on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine and specifically designed for the Mac OS X operating system.
Classilla - A port of Mozilla for classic Macintosh systems, using the same technology underpinning the popular Firefox browser. This one allows older Macs running classic to have some modern web browser functionality.
Firefox - An open source web browser developed by the Mozilla Corporation available for Mac, Linux, and Windows. This browser provides Windows users a great alternative to Internet Explorer (and likewise, Mac users to Safari).
Google Chrome - A excellent web browser with lots of extension and application add-ons for education.
iCab - An interesting, alternative web browser for Macintosh with versions for OS X and older versions for the Classic Mac OS
Opera - A cross-platform web browser and Internet suite which handles common Internet-related tasks.
Safari - Apple Computer's web browser supplied on new Macs...also available for Windows.
TenFourFox - TenFourFox is a port of the Firefox web browser for PowerPC Macs that employs most of the recent features and improvements of Firefox releases since Mozilla dropped support for PowerPC Macs at version 3.6.x. The open source effort has releases for G5, G4 (both 7400 and 7450 series), and G3 powered Macs running OS X. It obviously takes its name from Mac OS X 10.4, as version 10.4.11 was the last operating system update from Apple, and eventually marked the end of most third party developer support for applications on PowerPC Macs.
ZAC Browser - This is a browser developed especially for some autistic children. It limits choices to just a few items such as an acquarium, stories, music, games, and TV. Currently, this one is Windows only.
Years ago, I put up a page of Mac OS 9 freebies that I had permission or was legally able to host on my server. Most of the titles were Mac Classic applications suitable for use in the classroom. I also posted a few of my classroom files. Since some of the applications are getting really hard to find anymore, I've kept them here, along with some newer items.
The following are Mac OS 9 and earlier third-party items that I used to load on our student take-home machines.
Board Games (28K) by Daniel E. Gisselquist
GNU Chess 4.0 (160K) port by Dan Oetting
Josh's Apple Game (132K) by Eric Long
Math Flash Bash (84K) by Samuel Davidoff
PhrazeCraze Plus (117K) by Brad Pettit
RiskII (57K) by ??
SnakeByte (466K) by Pierre-Luc Paour
The Solar System (844K)
I heavily relied on ClarisWorks/AppleWorks when I was teaching. I still revert to AppleWorks when I can't get graphics to behave in Word and save the file as a Word document! Obviously, the ClarisWorks/AppleWorks libraries require the application for use.
Cartoon Characters (178K) AppleWorks 5 library
Cold Frame Plans
Cold Frame Plans w/ photos
Lesson Plan Templates (45K) AppleWorks 5 format-Mac
Minicalendars (44K) AppleWorks 5 document
Paycheck (13K) AppleWorks 5 format
Personal check (10K) AppleWorks 5 format
Small Flashcard Masters
Spelling Worksheet Templates (1.4 MB) AppleWorks 6, Pages, and Microsoft Word formats included
The MATH DITTOS 2 series and many of the items above require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Compressed files (both Mac and Win) have been created using StuffIt Deluxe and can be decompressed using the freeware StuffIt Expander.
Please send your suggestions for this page to :
links checked and updated 2/25/2012
©2012 Steven L. Wood