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Educational Applications


These are a selection of applications that are a good starting point for School Students who need to make a start learning about software development. All the software is free and the majority of them will probably end up being used later this year in the UK for ICT lessons.

Alice

Alice is intended to teach student programming in a 3D environment. The current version I have managed to deploy is Alice 2.2. Installation is just a case of extracting a zip file. Saving preferences to a network share is supported, by creating a folder on the network share and updating the file 'Alice 2.2\Required\etc\version.txt' to contain the network path on the last line.

Blender

Blender is a 3D modelling application. It is quite an advanced program and will certainly take some getting used to.

Dia

Dia is an alternative to Microsoft Visio. It can be used to draw relationship diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, UML diagrams and many other types of technical diagrams. Dia can export into the EPS, SVG, XFIG, WMF and PNG formats.

GanttProject [YouTube Video]

GanttProject is an alternative to Microsoft Project. It is designed for project management. GanttProject can import and export Microsoft Project files. Export formats available include PDF, PNG and HTML formats.  

GreenFoot

GreenFoot is aimed at helping to teach and learn Java programming. The software is available in a portable version, which includes the Java SDK, allowing for easy network deployment.

Google Sketchup

SketchUp is a 3D modelling application. Designed for easy of use it can be used to create some impressive stuff. Installation is via an MSI file. I haven't really used it much myself, but I know it is being taught in Schools.

Inkscape and Paint .NET

Inkscape is a SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) editor, it is an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

Paint .NET is easier to use than GIMP and has more features than Microsoft Paint. While you can't consider it a complete replacement for Adobe Photoshop for most photo and image editing tasks it will be fine.

Scratch [YouTube Video]

Scratch is developed by MIT and is a good start pointing for student learning the basic constructs of programming. The interface provides easy to use drag-and-drop objects to build up games\music\animations and art. Installation is just a case of extracting a zip file. More information is available on the Apps4Edu blog.

Wink

Wink is aimed at capturing and annotating screen-shots for tutorials and presentations. An example would be grabbing screen-shots of how to use Scratch.

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