Funding Technology Applications

Free Software for Students

free software
Written by Lori Gracey

This list of free software will ensure your students always have the tools they need for creating and learning, even if the budget is tight.

While the adage “You get what you pay for” is definitely true, I am still a fan of free. And for cash-strapped school districts, free software may make the difference in whether a student has access to tech tools or not. With that in mind, here are some software programs that are so good, students will definitely find them useful. Most of them are available on a variety of computer platforms. And, as of today, they are all free. (By the way, I did not include more well-known free software such as the Google Suite, OneNote, etc.)

2D/3D/Art/Drawing/Creating

Flowchart/Diagram Creator

  • Draw.io (online diagram software)

Foreign Language

  • Duolingo (learn a wide variety of foreign languages)

Game Design

  • Unity (game design software)

Math/Science

  • Cymath (online math problem solver)
  • Desmos (online graphing calculator)
  • GeoGebra (online graphing calculator)
  • Mathway (online help for basic math, algebra, pre-algebra, calculus, pre-calculus, trigonometry, statistics, linear algebra, chemistry, and graphing)
  • Solar System 3D Simulator (as the name says; only available for Windows)
  • Space Engine (space exploration simulator)

Music Creation/Audio Recording

Utility

  • Cold Turkey Blocker (free version runs in your browser and helps you focus on your work with no online distractions)
  • f.lux (day/night cycle on the monitor’s brightness and color)
  • KeePass (password manager)

Video Creation/Editing

Writing/Citation Creation

  • LaTex (document preparation for scientific and technical writing; great for math and science papers)
  • Zotero (reference manager)

What other free software programs or online tools would you recommend for students? Please add them to the comments section below.

 

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About the author

Lori Gracey

Lori Gracey has 28 years of experience in education, with 22 years as a curriculum and technology director. She currently serves as the executive director of the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) and is responsible for training technology directors, administrators, curriculum supervisors, and teachers across the country. During her nine years in this position, she has led TCEA in membership and revenue growth, helped to pay off their building and purchase a new, larger building, and implemented new conferences, partnerships with other associations, and professional development opportunities for members and non-members. She serves more than 17,000 members and oversees a staff of 21. Lori is also on the board of the Texas Society of Association Executives and SXSWedu and recently served as the Regional Program Chair for the ISTE 2017 Convention in San Antonio.

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