When the Best is Free: Open Source Software in Education
Thornburg began by giving an update on the state of linux on student desktops. "No operating system in history has advanced the cause of Linux like Microsoft Vista."
Every software title shown in this session is open-source, free, and will replace a commercial product.
- Celestia – space simulator, provides virtual tours of planets and stars
- Scratch – teaches programming skills, a language developed at MIT. Characters (sprites) are animated using a series of icons. Concepts are similar to LOGO. Animation commands are automatically indented following good programing format. Variables are available.
- PHET – A collection of simulations developed at the University of Colorado. Some are written in JAVA, some in FLASH. The simulation demonstrated showed how orbital bodies and gravity interact.
- MVT (Mathematical Visualization Toolkit) – Also from the University of Colorado, this math program allows you to plt various functions on cartesian coordinates. Does both 2D and 3D forumulas.
- Math Tracks – from NASA Learning Technologies. Similar to MVT, this program allows users to enter equations and plot them on
- a graph. A text paragraph also appears with an extensive description of the formula.
- JAlbum – creates HTML albums of various images.
- C-Map – Concept Mapping tool similar to Inspiration, developed by Robert Novak. It doesn’t have the variety of styles and images of Inspiration. However, it does have an online help function which polls CMap servers for other maps on the same topics. Users can also collaborate on various maps and make their maps available to the CMap servers.
- Molecular Workbench – From the Concord Consortium, allows users to manipulate molecular models.
Programs can be download from www.tcpd.org or www.tcpdpodcast.org
[tags]NECC, NECC 2007, EdTech, David Thornburg, Open Source[/tags]