Friday, September 25, 2009

Finding Educational Software on the Web

While the Ubuntu repositories are filled with great software applications for educational purposes, you can download and install many other programs from the open source world as well. The web sites that are highlighted here all contain free, open source software that is meant to educate others whether they be children in school, young adults in college, or people interested in just learning something new.

SchoolForge is an organization that took the basic philosophy of open source software and applied it to education. Their goal is to bring together organizations and individuals who “advocate, use, and develop open source resources for education.” Since this site is geared toward an educational audience, it is broken down into categories that include office tools, utilities, and other things that a school would make use of. For those looking for programs that will enhance learning, the Educational Software category is the place to go. This page is broken down into two subcategories, Edutainment and Games. Here you will find some of the same titles available in the Ubuntu repository and some new ones as well. Make sure to follow the instructions for any software you will be installing. If you have any difficulties, visit the application’s home page for help. While the software found on this web site is primarily geared toward working in a GNU/Linux environment like Ubuntu, you will see that many times an edition is available for the users of Microsoft Windows and the Mac OS. The effort to design their educational software to be used in multiple computer environments shows how the open source community strives for the betterment of all humankind.

The Linux4Kids project is supported by the FileGate File Distribution Network, who provide freeware and open source software files to end users. Their web site won’t be winning any design awards, because the site is merely a two-column table—one column containing the name and file of the software and the other, a description of the software application. While the aesthetics may not be too appealing, the software available to the user is. Over 70 different programs can be downloaded and installed, from typing tutors to programs that will draw complex chemical structures. While Linux4Kids offers a nice library of educational software, you may notice that all of the files here are compressed using ZIP or RAR formats. Early on in this book, we discussed how these file formats are not native to GNU/Linux, so without a program like Ark or Fileroller, Ubuntu will not decompress them for you to install. Both programs can be installed from the Synaptic Package Manager.

The Free Software Foundation
The whole purpose of the Free Software Foundation is to support software where the user has the freedom to analyze, study, and modify the source code. With learning and education having such a strong emphasis in the mission of the Free Software Foundation, it is no wonder that they include a healthy sampling of educational software in their free software directory that they maintain in partnership with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). Not only does the Free Software Foundation have the largest library of educational software for you to download, it is also organized much more formally than the other two sites mentioned. The Education category is broken down into eight subcategories: Online, Elementary, Secondary, Adult, Typing, Programming, Misc, and Language Learning. Once you start browsing the subcategories, you can find software to help with learning, but you will also find robust applications that educational institutions can use to deliver online training and courses, student management systems, and grade-book software to accommodate the growing number of schools, colleges, and other educational institutions that are turning to open source software.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Osborne Media How to Do Everything Ubuntu

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