Open Source Software in Primary School

I have been a keen user of a few simple Open Source software for schools for quite some time.  My rationale was that if we use Open Source at school, then it would be available at home as well.  Access would not be an issue.  Also, if we don’t need to worry about licences and associated costs, it saves heaps of administration worries.

The Open source movement is huge and I just saw a tweet from @kattekrab today about the  Software Freedom Day ” an event held all over the world to celebrate and raise awareness of free software and open source software. Software Freedom Day Melbourne is on Saturday 18 September 2010″

It made me think about my favourite simple programs for primary students :

Screen shot 2010-07-10 at 12.16.55 PMTuxPaint Computer Art software.   Many drawing tools and great library of stamps that the children really enjoy.  The ‘magic’ tool has great activities for symmetry.   Unfortunately, this does not have good features for networked computers (saving etc) , but we make do as it is great in so many other ways.

*Also available fro Tux4Kids are TuxTyping and TuxMaths

From GCompris website
From GCompris website

GCompris Educational and fun games for 2 – 10 year olds – Fun chat feature for within a network – good way to introduce children to chat protocols in safe environment.

Simple keyboard and mouse skills development activities for Preps.

Great logic games and simple numeracy activities.  In this case, I chose to donate a small amount to the author to open up more activities – well worth it.

Pivot – Stick figure animator An open ended presentation tool.  Save the files to .gif (animations)  for portability.   Styx is another program of this type.

Storytelling Alice –  “Storytelling Alice is a programming environment designed to motivate a broad spectrum of middle school students (particularly girls) to learn to program computers through creating short 3D animated movies”.   There are tutorials built in that help with the basics.

Scratch - Instruction cards available from website
Scratch - Instruction cards available from website

Scratch “Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.”   Once again this is open ended so the sky is the limit with this one and there are many resources available throughout the web.  I even received a whole set of lessons on DVD !  Just search for Scratch and you will find Wikis etc with samples, ideas and helpful hints.

I am aware of many others – word processing, presentation and spreadsheets that replace MS Office etc.

Anyone with others to add to my list ?