Here are a few of my favorite Free (or almost free) applications. Many of these are available for both Windows and Mac operating systems. Several have versions you can run from a flash drive.

*If you've got a tool you like but can't afford it for school, try Alternative To. Use it to look up the app and see suggested alternatives.


  • Audacity- Audio recording and editing - Mac, Windows
  • Artrage- The free version is great for kids, and the paid version is affordable for IWBs. Artrage is also part of the ClassmatePC Ecosystem, so schools using Classmates can get it on these machines free of charge. Starter edition is free. Mac, iPad, Windows
  • Dropbox- 2 GB of online storage on Mac, iPad, Windows & Droid; pay for more storage Tour Use Tami's referral Ultimate toolkit For teachers
  • Geogebra – Geometry visualization, compare to Geometer's Sketchpad Mac, Windows
  • Google Earth - Navigate the world or the stars from your computer. Mac, Windows
  • Google Sketchup - Professional-grade 3d illustration Mac, Windows
  • Picasa - Photo management and basic editing Mac, Windows
  • iTunes - Manage music, podcasts, videos & more Mac, Windows
  • Firefox- My browser of choice – use w/ IE Tab, Zoom Toolbar, Smart Bookmarks Toolbar, Embedded Objects Toolbar Mac, Windows
  • Nvu - Web page design Mac, Windows
  • PDF Creator or Cute PDF - Easy way to create PDFs from any printable document on Windows
  • Stykz Stick figure animation Mac, Windows Stykz sample
  • VLC Media player that plays anything Mac, Windows
  • (I like this better than Gimp) Windows If you're a Mac user, try Pixelmator
  • Jing- Screen recording
  • Celestia& Stellarium – Astronomy tools Mac, Windows (Also use Google Earth with Sky)
  • Scratch – Great tool to help kids learn programming and create animations (wish it exported to common format, though) Mac, Windows
  • OpenOffice(no tabletpc support; works but won’t ink) Mac, Windows (Mac users should try NeoOffice)

Which ones do I pay for?
  • MS Office – because I need the inking support for my tablets and because OneNote has been an essential tool for our 1:1 program.
  • Inspiration- but I may be changing my plan in the near future as free versions improve in quality.
  • Comic Life – Very affordable and cross-platform; more user-friendly than online comic book tools.

Intriguing, but I haven’t used it yet or in a while:

Want to learn more about free and open apps for your school?