But apart from that, what have Microsoft done for us?

This might only make sense, if you read yesterday’s post, because I’m going to continue the theme.

Firstquotes All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have thEndquotese Romans ever done for us?

Here’s another conversational ice-breaking-list, of free Microsoft software to help with teaching and learning. Just in case you weren’t sure what we do to help learning. Yesterday I gave you a baker’s dozen. Today, one extra – fourteen free things:

  1. Learning Essentials, a free add-on for Office, that contains a set of tools to help teachers and students. Things like curriculum templates, and toolbars for Word, PowerPoint and Excel to help students and teachers get started on projects and stay organised during them. Students get tools, templates and tutorials to help them get past “Blank Page Syndrome”, language tools and templates, and tips and tutorials for managing projects and producing high-quality work.
    Download it for free from here

  2. Save as Daisy XML, which is a free-add in for Word, which helps you to make your learning resources more accessible for visually impaired students. DAISY is a global standard for rich, multimedia text resources which is used extensively by organisations such as the RNIB
    Download it for free from here

  3. SteadyState is a free tool for PC management in schools – and simplifies the setup of managed desktops and things like kiosk-PCs. You can read more about it on wikipedia’s SteadyState entry, but in a nutshell, it allows you to force a PC to return to a specific configuration every time it reboots, and restricts what users can do. Ideal for libraries, or where you need public access PCs.
    Download it for free from here

  4. SkyDrive is an online service that gives you 5GB of free storage on the Internet. The main thing I love about it is its simplicity – by simply dragging files onto SkyDrive, I can store them in my own personal folder, or share them with others (which is exactly what I do when I share presentations etc on this blog). No more memory sticks! It’s much easier for staff and students to be able to transfer files between home and school, or between different computers on and off your school network.
    Sign up for it free here

  5. Free Maths add in for Word, which helps students to write complex equations and adds graphing tools to the Word 2007 ribbon.
    Download it for free from here

  6. Get busy with robots in your D&T lessons, with the free Microsoft Robotics Studio. It’s built by a team that are seeking new ways to engage students with the idea that programming is cool and valuable (and if current predictions come true, we’re going to have a shortage of suitably skilled people in the workforce very soon!). You can read more about the work here, or just…
    Download it for free from here

  7. Why not throw caution to the wind, and start creating your own SCORM learning packages, with the free Learning Content Development System (LCDS)? Now this might be a little techie, but organisations like Becta insist that SCORM is the way to go, and that schools should start to use SCORM standard content, so that it can be loaded into different learning platforms. We actually use LCDS to create our SCORM packages for all of our internal learning materials (with 100,000 employees to train across 100+ countries, e-learning’s big in Microsoft).
    Download it for free from here

  8. Help keep your students safe on the Internet, by using the free Know IT All resource packs, for teachers. It’s designed to help you teach e-safety principles to 11+ year olds, and you can also order copies of a free DVD for distribution to parents and students.
    Find out more, and request free Know IT All DVDs for Teachers, here

  9. Explore CodePlex, which is where we release lots of free software under the Community Source licence. There’s the Community Kit for SharePoint, with templates for a school website, and others focused on things which are starting to be used in new models of learning, such as creating wikis & blogs. You can also find the free SharePoint Learning Kit there.
    Download whatever you want for free from here

  10. Don’t forget Windows Movie Maker is free, and in almost everybody’s copy of Windows. After watching The Apprentice last week, I know I too could make an “Atishu” advert, with just my camcorder and Movie Maker. It’s great for making an interactive version of the World War II timeline that every Year 6 pupil creates (ask my daughter!). If you just need a way to get your teachers trained and enthused, use this page to help.
    Download the latest free version for Windows XP

    Take a look at some of the free downloads from Microsoft Research. The researchers there spend their time dreaming up new ways of using and interacting with technology, and there are some real finds amongst their downloads, which can help you to teach, or to just engage students in discovery. You can explore the full Microsoft Research website for your own pick of free software downloads, or take a look at my top three examples

  11. The WorldWide Telescope was released recently, allowing students to explore the skies from their classroom. 
    Download the free WorldWide Telescope here

  12. HD View is a new way of creating high resolution images from a collection of others – good for geography and other subjects where images are manipulated or analysed.
    Download HD View here for free

  13. InkSeine allows you to interact with your Tablet PC, or conventional PC with a digitiser, in new ways Download InkSeine for free here 

    And finally, my favourite freebie

  14. Lastly, how about downloading PhotoStory 3, which is free and brilliant. It helps you to co-ordinate images and music, and turn it into an impressive slideshow, with special effects, narration, titles, captions, and then publish them for viewing on a computer or TV. (Also ideal for the Year 6 World War II timeline!). My description simply can’t do it justice, so here’s an example Photo Story output.
    Download it for free from here
I thought you deserved some reward for reading this blog during your half-term holidays. And fourteen freebies can’t be bad!

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