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Saturday, August 13, 2005

ace:UK Free Software Round Up (Part 1)

I've been thinking more about free software these past few days. Not specifically Open Source Software, but the kind of free resources that are referred on to us, or those we just stumble upon on the web. The little things that make teaching (and sometimes life) easier.

In the last year alone, I've tried loads of great free stuff. Most of these things I've shared with you through my public archive of favourites but there are still some things that slipped through that particular net, i.e. I wrote about them on here but they weren't archived. So in this post I've chosen to highlight some of these, with links to the original posts that went with them.

I've only mentioned a handful for now, otherwise the list might become unwieldy but I'll round up some more in the near future (If there's a chance you might forget to check back, remember you can freely subscribe to get summaries by email too. Find out how here.)

So here are the first set of ace:uk golden oldies. Not in order of importance, just in the same order they were in when I wrote about them.

Hope you find some of them useful…!

  • WebCollaborator - this software creates a free and easy way to collaborate and work together on a project. I tested it over the web with someone based in the USA, just for a limited time, but long enough to see it had a lot of potential.

  • Freemind - this is free mind-mapping software which I now use to plan and note my ideas down. It’s a very good alternative to some of the commercial offerings.

  • Visual Thesaurus - not specifically free software this, but an interactive thesaurus with a very jazzy interface!

  • TechLearning Tutorials such as "How to use Microsoft Word like a pro". That particular series covered things like adding audio, using hyperlinks, inserting comments etc (Perhaps they used Snippy for the screenshots?!)

  • Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, for writing training materials for example. You can capture screenshots of your software, use images that you already have, type-in explanations for each step etc.

  • TheOpenCD is a collection of programs that run in Windows and cover the most common tasks such as word processing, presentations, e-mail, web browsing, web design, and image manipulation. The OpenCD was also covered here and here and here.

  • OneLook Reverse Dictionary allows you to type a concept into the search engine and receive a list of words and phrases related to it. Useful when you know what you mean but cant find the exact word. (Happens to me all the time!)

  • UKWizz is a UK based search engine that was designed for UK internet users so they try to keep their results as geographically specific as possible.

  • Several Google resources included a Google Help: Cheat Sheet, a video tutorial that shows you how to search more effectively using the tab features in Google, and a comprehensive guide to using Google in an online tutorial.

  • Vocab, available free of charge to Welsh-language websites. When users hold the cursor over a word, its translation appears.

  • - This site that had games that could be used for learning vocabulary including WordSearch, Crosswords, Hangman, Quiz and Match Game. Had other useful ESOL resources too.

  • Google Suggest - another way to search with Google. This uses predictive texting to guess what you're typing and offers suggestions....for example, if you type "progr" Google Suggest might offer something like 'programming' or 'progress'.


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