One of the beautiful things about the 21st Century and the Internet is the amount of free stuff you can find out there. This month's Tech&Learning magazine talks about funding resources, but I want to address some of the things that are free.
The first free resource I use is Google. Google Mail, Calendar, iGoogle, Google Docs, Blogger, Earth...and the list goes on and on. If you are looking to start using Google, the best place to start is the Google Educators page (http://www.google.com/educators/index.html ). This site describes the applications available to educators for free, how to use them in class, and has lists of resources to help you use these resources. I personally use so many Google resources because they all "play well together." There are a lot of other free resources out there that I will list below.
Free Productivity Software:
1. OpenOffice - http://www.openoffice.org - free office software that can be downloaded onto a computer. It includes documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
2. Google Docs - http://docs.google.com - online, hosted office software. Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations.
3. Zoho - http://www.zoho.com - online, hosted office software. Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations, and much more.
Free Grade book
1. Engrade - http://www.engrade.com - online, hosted grade book. Students and parents can be given access codes and will be able to see their grades at any time.
Free Windows Power Toys
A variety of free tools that Microsoft programmers created on their own. Includes SyncToy (for syncing files across multiple disks or computers), Alt-Tab replacement (adds a thumbnail view to the task switcher), Power Calculator and Taksbar Magnifier (which allows you to magnify part of your screen).
Miscellaneous Free Stuff
1. CutePDF - http:// www.cutepdf.com - free download that allows you to "print" any file to a pdf file. Very easy to use and very useful.
2. Adobe Acrobat Reader - http://get.adobe.com/reader/ - read pdf files.
3. Foxit Reader - http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php - read pdf files.
4. Evernote - http://www.evernote.com - note taking system. Very powerful. Mobile, desktop, and online versions are available.
5. PBWiki - http://pbwiki.com/education.wiki - free wiki creation and hosting
6. Currki - http://www.curriki.org - educational wiki's, wiki hosting, and more.
7. Objectdock - http://www.stardock.com/products/objectdock/ - free download that allows Windows users to organize their shortcuts, applications, and programs in an attractive animated dock at the bottom of the screen. It is similar to Mac OS's dock.
8. Ninehub - http://www.ninehub.com - free Moodle hosting. Ninehub will host your Moodle classes for free.
1. Tech&Learning Magazine - http://www.techlearning.com - free educational journal
2. THE Journal - http://www.thejournal.com - free educational technology journal
3. eSchoolnews - http://www.eschoolnews.com - free newsletters and "Classroom News" educational technology newsletter.
4. Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators - http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/ - list of web sites and educator resources
5. Teachopolis - http://teachopolis.org - huge resource for educators, with information on educational technology, pedagogy, and more
I also share my class website, http://www.physicsmedic.org , with other teachers. Besides having resources on here for my students, I have links, articles, and downloads for teachers.
I also have my own blog, http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com , that I invite teachers to visit, read, and comment.
This is just a small sampling of some of the free resources out there for educators. It can be overwhelming at times, so start small, try a couple of them out, and then move on.
For a more expansive list of resources, click HERE and then download "Ed Tech 103 - Free Educational Technology."