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Freebee Friday: Free Windows

Win 10 previewFresh from the Windows 10 preview event, there’s news that every school will want to hear: the next version of the computer operating system will be free. Does it sound too good to be true? For those schools still using Windows XP, it is because the free upgrade applies only to those who have licenses for Win 7 or 8.

Windows10_Continuum-1C-500x299The software continues the company’s move towards a more tactile approach to computing, which works best with touch screens. One big change is the ability to not only to divide the screen into horizontal segments but to do it diagonally, as well. In addition to holographic goggles, Windows 10 will usher in a cool touch-screen interactive board called the Surface Hub that should open new vistas of instruction. The two big questions that remain are, what happened to Windows 9 and when will the new software appear? While Microsoft might be playing a name game with numbers, company insiders say the new software should be ready later this year.

Freebee Friday: Be Bilingual

Screen322x572 (1)One of the best ways to teach a foreign language is to pair a kid with an app and let them learn. That’s the idea behind DuoLingo, which uses an iPad, Android or online service to teach any of nine European languages. It’s free-flowing and interactive with lots of activities and quizzes.





Lunch Time

MenuIt’s time for the cafeteria to go high tech with software that not only can post the day’s menu on the school’s Web site, but handle payments and even make sure the kids are getting the proper nutrition. It can’t make sure they’ll clean their plates, but MealsPlus covers everything from menu planning and inventory management to collecting digital payments and working with reduced or free lunch programs. You can try it out for a month to see if it fits in with your school’s meal plan.


Freebee Friday: Google Central

Google devicesWith phones, Chromebooks and tablets all over the classroom, keeping each device straight is no easy task. Google has a settings dashboard that consolidates key pieces of information from all the devices that are associated with your account to what data plan you have and how much spare space is left. The dashboard is free and remarkably easy to use.


Freebee Friday: Shopping for Photoshop?

Paint netIt may be early for Christmas presents, but if you’re looking for a less expensive replacement for Photoshop, how does free sound? Versions 4.03 of Paint.net is a powerful Windows image editor that can work with layers, has a good variety of plug-ins available and – best of all – unlimited undo history. On the downside, you’ll need to load Microsoft’s .Net Framework for Paint.net to work. There are helpful tutorials and how-to videos available online that can be the basis for several classroom lessons. The software is absolutely free, but feel free to donate to the effort.

Freebee Friday: A Lesson on Spending $100 Million

Apple connect ed aerohiveThe first tangible results of President Obama’s ConenctEd program are starting to be seen with Apple announcing the first 114 schools that will share its $100 million in donated iPads, Macs and Apple TV devices as well as Aerohive 802.11ac wireless access points, switches and networking gear. It’s meant to enhance their educational technologies and is part of a $750 million White House private-public partnership to boost the technological and communications prowess of deserving schools. The gear should be put to good use because most of the schools that Apple has chosen are financially challenged and located in underserved urban areas.




Freebee Friday: Picture Paradise

FlickrNeed historical photos of the Depression for a lesson or just looking for a certain shot of piles of money for a school fundraising flyer? Flickr has millions of copyright-free images, including at least one to suit your needs. Just set the License terms to Creative Commons on the main page and search to your heart’s content. Many of the images have historical explanations, links to similar ones as well as information about who shot it and often what camera was used. In addition to shots of the first moon landing and Prohibition era-cartoons, there are images of every president, early computers and a whole lot more. In many cases the only restriction is that you give credit to the originator.

Freebee Friday: Office for Free

Office_365_Logo_WebWhat’s better than paying a reduced amount to use Microsoft’s Office software at school? How about free? I thought I’d get your attention. Formerly known as Student Advantage, Office 365 ProPlus is a school freebee that can put the full suite of heavy-duty apps onto students’ computers. It’s open to all students who are 13-years or older and go to a school that has a site license for Office. The plan provides the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher for up to five systems (PCs and or Macs) as well as for five tablets per student. The set up includes an hour every month of Skype Premium usage and a terabyte of online storage with Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Freebee Friday: TED Jr.

TedThe next TED Youth event will be at New York’s Brooklyn Museum and will be free for 400 middle- and High School students to attend. To be held at the historic Brooklyn Museum, the theme this year is “Worlds Imagined.” It is sure to have thought-provoking presentations and discussions and will take place on Saturday, November 15th from 11am to 6pm. If you can’t get there, video of the event will be available.

Next-Gen iPad Now

Ios 8Got a lot of iPads at your school? You need to stay ahead of the software curve by downloading and trying out the iOS 8 Beta to make sure that it works with all your software – old and new. It’s a free download from Apple site that includes more ways to share items, add custom buttons and add links to online storage systems. You’ll need to register to get the software, which includes a guide on how to use app extensions.






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