If your bank balance is anything like mine right now, youre looking for ways to save money. Heres one means of economizing -- stop buying computer software.
No, Im not advocating becoming a pirate. Johnny Depp can pull it off, but I wouldnt recommend it for educators. (Too few of us look that good in mascara.) Instead, take a serious look at some high quality software that is now available -- at no cost.
And just how can they do it for such a low, low price," you might be asking. There are basically three types of free" software:
The following small sample of free computer-based software is useful and reliable for the average Joe or Josephine computer user. All run both on Macs and PCs and have good track records of reliability.
Here are a few of the dozens of online tools you might find useful.
Two big advantages of online tools is that they can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet and that the information stored using those tools is designed to be shared.
For more online tools, see the School Computing Wikis Best Free or Open Source Software.
Of course, freeware has its critics as well. Librarian Karen G. Schneider observes: Yes, I know, open source is a saint and you'd let your sister or brother marry it. But I hate the idea that for some if a particular software is open source, hands down, it's the right choice. The right choice is the software that meets the mission." ALA TechSource, 07/26/2006
You will need to ask yourself if free software really does have both the features and reliability you need to get your tasks accomplished. Sometimes you do get what you pay for. As educators, a commercial presence (a bit of advertising with ones e-mail) can be troubling. But if you or your district is strapped for software funds, freeware can be a reasonable alternative to having nothing or being illegal. Give it a shot. Its not like youll be risking a lot of money.
Copyright © 2009 Education World