Do you have a computer or laptop that doesn't have an operating system on it? Is your older system no longer powerful enough to handle the newest operating system? If so, you should consider looking at Edubuntu. This is a free operating system based on LINUX. I have installed this on a few systems and am very impressed with its ease of use and how simple it was to install.
Edubuntu comes with Open Office.org, G.I.M.P. and many other educational programs. As this is LINUX, not Windows or MacOS, you will need to look for programs that run under LINIX. There are literally thousands of incredible software programs available.
This is an excellent free alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The award-winning Web browser is now faster, more secure, and fully customizable to your online life. With Firefox 2, we've added powerful new features that make your online experience even better.
Format Factory is a multifunctional media converter that will allow users to easily and quickly convert audio formats, video formats, image formats, rip DVDs to video files, rip music CDs to audio files, and supports iPods/iPhones/PSP/BlackBerry formats too.
GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. While this is not as powerful as Corel Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop, it is free.
Google Earth gives you a wealth of imagery, and geographic and astronomical information. Explore destinations like Maui, Paris and the Milky Way, or browse content from Wikipedia, National Geographic, the Hubble Telescope, and more.
Picasa is a free software download from Google that helps you locate and organize all the photos on your computer, edit and add effects to your photos with a few simple clicks, share your photos with others through email, prints, and on the web and best of all, it's fast, easy and free.
Google SketchUp 6 is a 3D modeling software tool that's easy to learn, simple to use and gives students an incredible opportunity to enter into the professional world of computer engineering and design.
After downloading the software, I also recommend that you install all of the free components and materials too. See my other link.
On this webpage, you will find a number of files, each containing different components and materials for Google Sketchup. We sometimes use these in the classroom, so you will probably want to have these too.
Please note that since these were from an older version (though they still work) this particular site may change from time to time. If so, simply search for Sketchup 6 Bonus Packs and you should find them.
WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky.
If you do not have Microsoft Office at home and are looking for an excellent, free, compatible product, I recommend downloading and installing this product. Included is a word processor, spread sheet, illustration, presentation, math, and database software.
Students can create, modify and save files that will be compatible with Microsoft Office programs.
Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software that runs on Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. Again, while not as powerful as Corel Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop, this is free.
Here is another excellent alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Apple has released their browser, Safari, and it is not available on the PC. This browser is quite fast and rich with features too.
Scratch - Object / Visual Oriented Programming Language
This is an amazing program that came from MIT. Through simple dragging and dropping, users can begin programming with amazing results. Warning! This can become quite addicting and very educational too.
uTIPu is another fine freeware product that will allow you to easily record, save and publish videos of your screen that can be used for training, teaching, demonstrating and more. Use uTIPu to help friends learn how to use their computers, train employees, demonstration something new and cool that you have learned how to do and more.
Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users.