I admit, I have been a bit of a snob about open source software. I never really saw that it would be relevant to me or my district. If figured it was for places that were looking to outfit a large number of students with computers and had little money left for software. And I thought open source software was for places that were building computers, as opposed to buying them from Dell or Apple or whoever. I didn't even think they would work on Macs or Dells. I also assumed (and we know what happens when you do THAT!) open source software (oss) was very limited. Boy was I wrong.
I began to think about all the free web tools and software I have downloaded for my personal use. Why do I download this free software? Because it works. And why should I pay for something when I can get something just as good (or better) for free? (AOL mail vs hotmail, gmail, yahoomail, etc, or Moodle - lots of buzz about this) There are also times when a free download is the only way to get something (Writely is sooo cool) -- count me in! I am a dedicated Mac gal through and through, but I dabble with PCs when I must, so obviously a "frankenstein" computer is not needed for oss.
And today I read a blog post that stated there are over 1500 oss titles with more being added everyday. Incredible. As I watched a TILT (Teachers Improving Learning with Technology) video of ThinkFree Office Online (their version of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) I became a convert. Documents created with ThinkFree are even compatible with Word! I can't wait to find more oss that I can use and download for use with my 1st-5th graders.
Watch this spot for links to my favorite open source/free sites.
- Like Stickies for Mac , but better. The ultimate organizing, to-do tool.
- Allows you to resize images and apply some effects, like shapes or even text. Drag and drop interface. I love it! So much easier than PhotoShop or Graphics Converter.
- What's not to like about this browser?: tabbed browsing, auto-updates, lots of add-ons and themes. A great alternative to IE for Mac users and imo, far superior to Safari,
- a word processing, presentation program, and spreadsheet/graph program, compatible withMicrosoftt Office Suite
- an application to facilitate videoconferencing, allows 2 "participant" screens, audio, and a text message area, you supply the web cams, from Cable in the Classroom
LEGO Digital Designer 1.6
- a free virtual building system available for both the Windows and Mac OSX platform
- a powerful 3-D modeling program avaiable for Windows 2000 and better and Mac OS10.3.9 and better; can be used in conjunction with Google Earth or on its own
- an easy-to-use drawing program available for Windows and Mac OSX