Free Software for Teachers and Students

My Web Site:

Educational Games & Activities
Graphics and Multimedia Software
Web Software
Productivity Software


Miscellaneous Online Tools

While working as a technology specialist, I have found a number of quality free programs on the web for use in the classroom. I have included links to software for science, math, language arts, social studies and more. I hope you find something useful in this list. When this page was created, all of the software listed was freeware or had an unlimited trial version. If you find a link where the software is no longer offered for free, please contact me. In addition, if you know of a free program that would be a good addition to this page, please let me know. Cameron McKinley

Educational Games and Activities

Site Description

1. Crocodile Clips Elementary

You can download free software for teaching the first principals of electricity. Students can simulate working with circuits using the software and actually see light bulbs going on when the parts are connected correctly. It is a safe way for kids to practice. The software comes with printable activities, too. Crocodile Clips was established in 1994 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

You can find a companion BBC online activity here:

2. Google Earth

Google Earth is a free download offered by Google and originally designed by Keyhole software. Download this and you can go around the word and see satellite photos. You can also find detailed information on lodging, restaurants and more. Use tools to measure distance between places or to get directions. This is great software for lessons on geography, maps, measurement and more. Make your own tours using placemarks. Watch this webinar on incorporating United Streaming video on a placemark tour. Try it out!

3. Owl & Mouse Software


You will find LOTS of free educational software here. Use the online interactive maps in addition to free map learning software for learning about geography. In addition to the map software, there are three free language learning programs including learning letters, letter sounds, and blends. You will also find a neat set of programs where students can make a town, village, farm or castle. The program lets you print out various buildings and/or animals for the project and students color and create a paper town. The site has links to pages that describe how you might use these activities in your classroom. The software is provided by Owl & Mouse Educational Software.

4. Tales Animator

Animate your favorite fairy tale with this free animation program. You can add sound, too. This takes a little bit of thought to use but can be quite fun. The program is provided free from DollySoft.

5. Celestia

Educational Resources for Using Celestia in grades 7-12

This is a free 3-dimensional space simulation. It is extremely realistic. Check the documentation link for an excellent users guide. Chris Laurel is the software developer. Though the educational activities on the second link are listed for grades 7-12, the program itself can be used for younger grades. My five year old son loves to explore space using this program. The Motherlode site that includes add-ons and more documentation for Celestia was conceived by Joe Bolte and is maintained by group called the Celestia Motherlode Team.

6. Planetarium 2.0

See where Planets are in the sky now, in the past or in the future. Ideal for students and astronomy beginners.

7. Squeak

This is a media authoring tool used to design and create projects. It involves a lot of different skills which include sequencing-like programming commands. On the site you will find many educational uses. There is a great html page showing an excellent introductory project for 9, 10, and 11 year olds. Reading through this project will help you understand what Squeak is all about. Squeak is open source software, created by a body of individuals. You can read more about the significant contributors on the Squeak site. A new book by BJ Allen-Conn and Kim Rose was published in 2003. It is called "Powerful Ideas in the Classroom - Using Squeak to Enhance Math and Science Learning". It tells of exciting projects created in Squeak with 5th and 6th Graders and would be a useful guide for parents and teachers.

8. Scratch

Scratch is a new programming language that lets you create your own interactive stories, games, music, and art. Tutorials and examples are available on the site.

9. Alice

Alice is free programming software for kids. The focus of the Alice project is now to provide the best possible first exposure to programming for students ranging from middle schoolers to college students.

10. 2+2 math for kids-Click the English Flag

This program helps children learn how to count, compare numbers, add, subtract, multiply, and divide. 2+2 can be used for individual lessons as also at school. Interesting exercises, graphics, music and narration make children want to learn math using this program. Marek Andusiak created this program.

11. Community Signs for Windows

Use this free software when teaching environmental print. The program has sound and can be customized. This freeware is provided by Bill Straub

12. Switch Zoo

This site has an online activity where students can create unique animals and also learn facts about animals and their habitats. The site also offers a deluxe version download for educators. The free download ends September 2005 so download now! Only one download per organization. The form to fill out for the school download is here. This will allow you to download Switch Zoo Deluxe. Go to the web site for details on the Deluxe version features.You will also find a link to art, language and science lesson plans on the school download page. The program was created by Tubehead, a multimedia studio and publisher located in New York. Penny Kurtz (artist) and Guy Spataford (animator/musician) are the creators.

13. Sebran's ABC - Free Software For Kids

This is excellent software for preschool and kindergarten. The software is free and teaches letters, numbers, simple math, and beginning skills for reading. One of the programs helps with letter recognition and keyboard letter location skills since dropping letters have to be located and typed before they hit the bottom of the screen. Children will be delighted with the sounds and colorful graphics. The software was created by Marianne Wartoft from Uppsala, Sweden. All of her education software is freeware.

14. Sketch-Up

Create your own 3D model with this free software: from Google. Students learn real world 3D modeling skills. There are any number of lessons from learning about area and volume to studying building and community design whose concepts are best illustrated in 3D. SketchUp is one of those products that will easily get kids learning and thinking they're just having fun, as your classes apply SketchUp to geography, social studies, history and industrial technology. Students can use SketchUp to visualize geometry and other mathematical concepts, create models to learn about architecture, and design everything from games and toys to models of spaceships and cars.

15. Lego Building Program

Try this free online Lego Building program. Students learn real world 3D modeling skills while buildling online with Legos.

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Graphics and Multimedia Software

Site Description How Can I Use It
1. UnFreez This is an easy to use graphics application to make animations. You can take a series of GIF pictures and turn them into an animation. The site and software are from Whitsoft Development. Have students draw the steps in any cycle or problem and then animate them for the web. PowerPoint will save slides as gifs so you can use this program. Paint will also save pictures as gifs.
2. Tux Paint
Tux Paint is a free, award-winning drawing program for children 3-12 (preschool and K-6). It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program.
Have students create an I Spy book using stamps. This program is similar to Kidpix so you can do similar activities. Stamps include shapes and coins and can be made smaller or larger or different colors.
3. Drawing for Children
Drawing for Childen is a free drawing program for children with many nice options. The best way to learn to use it is simply to use it. There is though a document describing the use of the program. The program features 3 modes, CHILDPROOF, NORMAL, and ADVANCED. These have different settings regarding fonts, saving and printing.
This program has some neat options to include drawing lines as roads and railroad tracks. Design your own town. You can save drawings as bitmaps. Use the shape stamps or create a 100 days of school stamp project. It also has a mirror image feature you can use to discuss symmetry.
4. Irfanview This is a FREE graphics program. Work with images with an easy program that can make you look like a professional! You can use this to crop photos, alter, rotate and much more. The software author is Irfan Skiljan from Bosnia. Have students work with graphics or digital pictures to customize for use on web pages, in presentations or for use as signs around the school.
5. VicMan Photo Editor This is a versatile image editor with an intuitive interface and a wide variety of features. Just click the download free version link. Have students work with graphics or digital pictures to customize for use on web pages, in presentations or for use as signs around the school.
6. PIXresizer PIXresizer is a photo resizing program to help you create web and e-mail friendly versions of your pictures with smaller file sizes. The reduced files are saved in a different folder, so your original
images are not changed. PIXresizer automatically recognizes image sizes and calculates the best fit. It can also convert between image formats, rotate images, convert to grayscale and resize multiple images all at once.
You can get all those digital photos ready for the web easily now. You can also send smaller image files to parents through e-mail.
7. WinMorph This program will let you create a free morph by taking two images and morphing them into one. There are many great options in this free program. The Developer is S. Satish Kumar Use a before picture and an after picture to show growth or progression. Examples might include seed to plant, baby to child, room before and room after decoration or construction changes.
8. Picasa Photo Organizer This is a free picture organizer from Google. It will help you find photos on your computer, edit photos and remove red-eye, create and share albums, print your photos easily. Easily organize and edit class and school photos for presentations and lessons.
9. Photo Story This program lets you create slideshows with digital photos. The program has many features that allow you to touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. You can also add special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. You can personalize the stories with titles and captions. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows-based portable device. Microsoft offers this excellent program free. Have students create a photo story for your lesson. An example might be to research someone who survived the Holocaust and to create a photo story with facts, pictures, music and narration to tell the story. This idea can be adjusted to fit your particular topic. Students can show what they've learned through powerful multimedia Photo Story presentations.
10. Flash Slideshow Maker
ANVSOFT Flash Slide Show Maker is a Flash album creator to make animated photo slide show with SWF file as the output format. It transforms your digital photo collection to Macromedia Flash file format ( SWF ) which you can share your memorial moments with your family or friends on your own homepage or website.With ANVSOFT Flash Slide Show Maker, you can easily turn a folder full of still images into a stunning Flash slide show with background music and special transition effects .
Create shows about fieldtrips, class activities and projects. The program is easy to use.
11. Audacity
Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. The link goes to the Windows version.. You will also need to download the Lame encoder if you want to export sound files in mp3 format.
Use this to record students reading and e-mail to parents. Create podcasts for annoucements or to share information with others around the world. Create audio books. There is a great tutorial here:
12. Skype
Skype is a little piece of software that lets you make free calls to anyone else on Skype, anywhere in the world. And even though the calls are free, they are really excellent quality. If you have a webcam, you can also make free video calls.
Bring experts to your classroom, collaborate with other classes around the world. Check out the Global School Network for ideas.
13. Microsoft Producer
You must be a licensed user of Microsoft PowerPoint to use this. Microsoft Producer makes it easy to capture and synchronize audio, video, slides and creating engaging rich media presentations. Capture, synchronize, and publish audio, video, slides, and images to create rich media presentations viewable in a browser.
Capture/record your computer lesson presentations, student presentations, and more. Create tutoriials, for playback for parents, absent students, online reviews and more.
14. MW Snap
Screen capture software. Capture entire screen, one window, or part of a window. Current version is capable of capturing the whole desktop, a highlighted window, an active menu, a control, or a fixed or free rectangular part of the screen. MWSnap handles 5 most popular graphics formats and contains several graphical tools: a zoom, a ruler, a color picker and a window spy. It can be also used as a fast picture viewer or converter.
Use to caputre images for creating student tutorials. Students could use to capture images, toolbars, and other information from web sites or programs.
15. Gimp Shop
alternate link
GimpShop is a free image editor that is similar to Adobe Photoshop.
Have students work with graphics or digital pictures to customize for use on web pages, in presentations or for use as signs around the school.
16. PhotoFilter
PhotoFiltre is a free image editor and effects program. It allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters on it. PhotoFiltre is simple and intuitive to use, and has an easy learning curve.
PhotoFiltre comes with many features that rival some commercial packages, as well as additional add-on that can be downloaded from the web site.
PhotoFiltre offers all the standard editing features (selection, clone brush, paint brush etc.) as well as a large selection of image effects, photo masks, image adjustments, thumbnail browser and much more. Must pay a fee if using for commercial or professional use.
Have students work with graphics or digital pictures to customize for use on web pages, in presentations or for use as signs around the school.
 17. Windows Media Encoder   
 Windows Media Encoder is a powerful tool for content producers who want to capture audio and video content using the many innovations in Windows Media, including high-quality multichannel sound, high-definition video quality, and support for mixed-mode voice and music content.
 Teachers or students can create tutorials by recording the computer screen while giving instructions. These can be played back as Windows Media files for instruction. An example might be recording how to insert a picture in a program or how to use a particular website.
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Web Software

Site Description
1. FireFox Browser Firefox is a web browser that has a lot of neat features such as tabbed browsing, easier bookmark organization, and more. Try it out! It's free! You can download it at this site. The software producer is Mozilla, an open source developer with many contributors.
2. Moodle Moodle is free, open source software to allow educators to provide online course delivery. Moodle is a collaborative effort with many contributors. Moodle started with a man named Martin Dougiamas.

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Productivity Software

Site Description
1. Open Office This is a free office program suite which includes a word processor, database, spreadsheet and presentation program. The programs work almost exactly like Microsoft Office. The programs can open files with Office extensions. In addition, files created in the suite can be saved as Microsoft Office files.Open Office is a collaborative effort. Contacts include: Jacqueline McNally Marketing Project Lead and Louis Potts Community Manager CollabNet, Inc.
2. IHMC Cmap Tools-Concept Mapping Tool This is a free concept mapping tool. Though it is not as colorful as Inspiration, it does create concept maps for free. There is good online documentation and maps can be uploaded to the web. The program was created by Joseph D. Novak.
3. TypeFaster
Learn how to type. This program also offers a teacher management system if you want to manage a class. It supports French, German, Portuguese, US-Dvorak, US-English, Hebrew, Numeric-keypad and more. Typefaster accessible is for blind users. Full Spanish version also. Includes a 3d game.

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Site Description
1. SwapMouseButtons SwapMouseButtons is a free utility program to quickly and easily swap the mouse's left and right button assignments by just pressing the F12 key on the keyboard. This program is for use with Microsoft Windows.
2. Zoom This is a screen-enlargement utility for those with trouble seeing. It displays a floating window that shows an enlarged view of the area around the cursor. Paul Scott created this freeware program.
3. ReadPlease Read Please is free software that will read the text on your screen. There are choices of different voices, too. The standard version is free but there is a charge for the Plus version. This software is provided by the ReadPlease Corporation.
4. ClickAid Mouse Helper This program is for those who have trouble using a physical mouse to double click or switch between mouse buttons. It works will all types of touch devices. This freeware is provided by Polital Enterprises LLC.
5. Additional Accessibility Programs This is my accessibility bookmark folder. As I find new programs, I add them to this folder on Links provided by Cameron McKinley.

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Site Description
1. Free Play Music This site offers free original music in many categories. You can search by style, feel or category. Make sure you read the terms of use. It is free in certain circumstances. For educational, non-commercial use it is limited to student use on school grounds and in the classroom - non broadcast. If you have questions, contact Scott Schreer Freeplay Music, Corp.
2. Sheppard Software Free Online Web Games for Geography, Vocabulary and Trivia There is nothing to download. These free online games are a great online tool for learning. There are different levels for learners. There are also options for dial-up versus high speed access. These games are high quality. Try them today! Thanks to Sheppard Software for offering these great resources. They do sell computer software for some of the online web games plus other software for home use but they offer them free for schools. Explore the site and you will see how to get software for your school for free.
3. Storyline Online The Screen Actors Guild Foundation together with its BookPALS program offer this excellent online reading site. Hear famous Screen Actors Guild members read quality books. These videos are free to stream online. However, you cannot download the videos at this time. One of my favorites is No Mirrors in My Nana's House. It even has the song at the end of the book. Each book has free downloadable lesson plans and activities. Enjoy!
4. IKeepBookMarks
Be more productive by keeping your bookmarks/favorites online. Wherever you have access to the Internet, you have access to your bookmarks. Set up your free account online. Though there is nothing to download, you can put a link on your toolbar or in your favorites for an easy pop-up menu to add bookmarks. This site was created by Software Designs Development Corp.
5. Timer
Use this online timer for group work or breaks. You can add this timer to your web site by going here to get the necessary files and instructions. If you want a standalone timer, try this downloadable version. Thanks to Vicki Blackwell for the online timer and link to the source. The downloadable program timer is courtesy of Paul Scott.
6. GCast
Record podcasts using a telephone. What's a podcast? Your own audio broadcast, where you can easily record voice messages, mix in your favorite music, and share it all for the world to hear.
7. Download YOUTUBE videos
Most times YOUTUBE is blocked in schools. However, there are some great tutorials and interesting videos you might want to use in your classroom. Open them at home and go to this site. Copy the url (address) from the YouTube video you want to download into this website. When finished, you will receive a download link. Save the file with an .flv extension. You will also have to download a free player HERE to play it on your computer.
8. Google for Educators

You'll find a teacher's guide to Google products, including basic information about each tool, examples of how educators are using them, and lesson ideas. You'll also find lesson plans and videos Discovery Education focusing on two popular teaching tools: Google Earth and Google SketchUp.

 9. Primo PDF
 FREE! Convert to PDF from any application by simply 'printing' to the PrimoPDF printer - it couldn't be easier! Within minutes, you can create high-quality PDFs by converting from Word, Excel, PrintShop, Internet pages, and virtually any other printable file type.  This program has an online conversion program, too.


Contact Me: Cameron McKinley
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