Open source educational tools for 2014

Open source educational tools for 2014

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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?


About the author

Nicole C. Baratta - Nicole C. Baratta (Engard) is a Senior Content Strategist at Red Hat. She received her MLIS from Drexel University and her BA from Juniata College. Nicole volunteers as the Director of ChickTech Austin. Nicole is known for many different publications including her books “Library Mashups", "More Library Mashups", and "Practical Open Source Software for Libraries". Nicole can be reached at