Monday, March 21, 2011

Top Windows Applications for Educators

Most folks know that I'm a Mac user.  I switched over in 2004 and haven't really looked back.  Windoze is cool now that Windows 7 basically does what Macs have been doing for a while now.  

As an instructional designer, I can't avoid Windoze and I recently brought a cheapo $300 laptop which seems to be just the amount of money I'm willing to put into a Windoze computer.

Last year, I facilitated a session on "Top Mac Apps for the Classroom" at the LEAGUE for Innovation in Community Colleges conference in Baltimore.  

Though I won't be going as in depth for this one, I did want to present a list of Windows tools that I find useful.  Not just an an educator, but as someone who enjoys allowing technology to do the heavy lifting, saving my cognition for the important things:)
Here's the list, in no order:

Adobe Digital Editions
OpenOffice -- tired of Microsoft Office?  Try this free, open-source suite of office tools.  Open office has applications that rival MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. And it is totally free.  Documents from Microsoft can be opened and saved in Microsoft compatible formats.   

Adobe Digital Editions -- Check out e-books from the library and view them on your computer using this free tool.  This software also allows you to take notes and print sections. -- (web pages) Create webpages with this easy to learn, free tool.  

Gimp (image manipulation) -- Edit images without becoming a Photoshop expert.  Does have a minimal learning curve, nothing heavy though.

adaware (Malware protection) -- If you have a Windoze box, you're gonna get hit by malware.  This tool does a nice job of keeping your computer from slowing down.  

Dropbox -- sync files across multiple computers.  This means you can access the file you were working on at the office in the morning when you are in the coffeeshop in the afternoon!  Even if you were working on two different computers!  USB drives are so 2006! video playback
MiMedia -- Upload your music to the Internet and listen online.  As a music junkie, I love this service.  Similar to Dropbox, it syncs files from multiple computers and manages them via the web.  $5 a month for 25 gigs of space.  Best of all, you can PLAY your nusic and video files from the Internet!  

Snagit -- Though I prefer web based versions of screen capture (like Jing or Pixlr), if you have the money, SnagIt is probably the best capture software out there.  They do have a 30 day trial.

Ditto (clipboard manager) -- Everyone uses the clipboard to copy and paste, I love this software as it saves your last 50 COPY commands.  Be careful, this could get some of you in trouble!

Evernote -- This online notebook tool syncs notes, web site clippings, images and more across multiple computers.  With matching apps for mobile phones, Evernote goes everywhere you go.  Here's a Wall Street Journal article on Evernote, which they praise as a 'digital file cabinet.'  

Celtx -- Storyboard software.  It's free and great for organizing your thoughts.


There are a bunch of other apps that I use but not that frequently (cuz I use a Mac) -- like Articulate Studio (for Instructional Designer stuff), Screensteps (for tutorials) and Scrivener (for writing).  I'm hoping you found this list helpful.  Use the comments to add some more of your own.  Let's keep adding to this initial listing!

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever considered SSuite Office as a free office suite solution?

    Their software also doesn't need to run on Java or .NET, like MS Office and so many open source office suites, so it makes their software very small, efficient, and easy to use. :)