With all of the great freeware available today you could set up a useful software image on your school network for students and teachers to use without spending a dollar. After recently updating our software licensing at my school we rationalised the thousands of dollars being spent on software and looked at the alternatives in the freeware market and saved a few dollars without compromising quality. A great site for finding freeware that compares with retail software is alternative.to
However; As Mick Jagger says "You can't always get what you want" and sometimes you will have to spend a few dollars to get what you need. Below are three products I use regularly with teachers and students which are clear winners in their field. Best of all they are all at the cheaper end of the pricing scale.
1: Kahootz: Kahootz is a brilliant 3D animation tool that allows students to create either reality or fantasy based environments. It has thousands of highly detailed and multi animated worlds and objects that are an absolute snap to manipulate and animate. you can add text, voice, music, photos and I have used this with students from prep to year 9 with great success. Kahootz will not be a huge surprise to our Australian audience but to anyone overseas who may have missed it be sure to get your hands on it. It is very cheap and is a brilliant tool for students to express their creativity and link to all areas of the curriculum.
Check out the video below to see what Kahootz can do.
There are a multitude of mindmapping software options available. But for mine Inspiration is the one to beat. For visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations. Brainstorm ideas, structure your thoughts and visually communicate concepts to strengthen understanding with the Diagram and Map Views. To take notes, organize information, and structure writing for plans, papers and reports, use the integrated Outline View to focus on main and supporting ideas and to clarify thinking in written form. You can also transform your diagrams, mind maps and outlines into polished presentations that communicate ideas clearly and demonstrate understanding and knowledge. The great thing is when you purchase Inspiration as a school you will generally get Kidspiration and Inspire Data which are also great products for next to nothing as a package deal.
A video below shows you what Inspiration can do.
3: Microsoft Office
I hate to be blatantly obvious here, but this has got to be the number one productivity package available to anyone who owns a computer. You can do SO Much with it. Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher are the cornerstone of education and business. Yes Open Office and Google Docs' and Mac have products that may do some part of Office's functions just as well but nothing comes remotely close to it as a complete package. The great news is that MS Office 2010 is even better than it's predecessor I have been using it daily for three months now and even better news is that most educational departments don't even have to pay for it.
Below is a teaser of what you can do in Office 2010
What software would you part with your hard earned cash for, and why?