Open source educational tools for 2014

Open source educational resources
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Last year was a big year of open source learning for me. I had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of awesome people in the open source field, attending my first OSCon, and being a Community Moderator here on I learned more than I can say last year, especially in education. Here, I'll share with you some my favorite (and super interesting) open source educational tools for teachers, students, parents, and others to use in 2014.

My number one educational tool is WordPress. I know, you thought I was going to say Moodle (which is also awesome), but WordPress is a tool I use everyday to educate others. WordPress powers my personal and work websites, where I write about topics that help my colleagues around the world learn about open source software. It's often important to remember that just because a tool isn't marketed for a specific purpose doesn't mean it won't be the right one for what you're trying to accomplish.

One of the things I use my WordPress sites for is sharing tutorial videos. Last year, I learned about Kazam, another option for this and an open source screencasting application for Ubuntu, so this tool falls under my Must Try in 2014 list. I want to find out how it works in comparison with other tools I've used in the past like RecordMyDesktop and Camstudio.

Right before the end of the year, I met with the local EdTech Women's chapter and talked with some local educators about the tools they use in their schools. I was delighted to learn that Scratch and Alice (both of which I learned about at OSCon) are a big hit with the kids. Any tool that gets children learning about computer programming at an early age is a tool to get on board with as soon as possible.

When it comes to molding the next generation of open source developers, sometimes all it takes is introducing them to open source tools. Then, it's all down (up?) hill from there. Jon Roberts of the Davis School District in Utah spoke at OSCon about how he uses open source in his classroom every day. He's not using it to teach programming though, he's using it to teach math and science. Jon introduced me to the KDE Education Project which offers a suite of applications that you could use for teaching many different subjects.

A full list of my favorite open source education tools and resources can be found on my Delicious page. I also wrote and published a list of Open Source Options for Education over at OSSWatch.


What tools do you think we should keep an eye on in 2014?

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meine's picture
Open Enthusiast

I can't find how much open source it is, but LiveCode [] is something to keep an eye on. It builds on the way HyperCard works -- the programming environment that came with Macs in the 90's. With just basic English syntax and an interpreter that can handle regular human sentences it makes programming easy.

The old HyperCard even provided the possibility to put code though a language filter so that you can use your own tongue for programming. When LiveCode supports such feature all over the planet people who can write are able to program. And that would be a fun thing!


CA Coaching Classes In Delhi's picture

yes you r right wordpress in the number 1 educational tool.
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Akhil Chauhan's picture
Community Member

Wordpress might be a number one tool but now there is tough competition in the coming year. There are some other Opensource tools available.

Akhil Chauhan
Founder & CEO
Klass Touch Informatica

rossdotparker's picture
Open Enthusiast

Nicole, it is great to hear of education and open source in the same breath...they are so well aligned in terms of values, benefits, etc, that it makes sense to use one in the other. Not sure if you saw this other article on Gibbon (disclosure: I wrote it ; ), but that system definitely aims to use open source to improve education: Thanks! Ross.