Free Open Source Software Tools for Education

Education is an industry that can greatly benefit from the use of open source software. Open source software may be freely re-distributable and modifiable, but it is also inexhaustibly free of cost. The open source model encourages community collaboration and peer-review, fostering better quality software than even well managed proprietary projects.

From my experience, open source software is a great way to get a lot of the basic tasks done without having to pay a license fee. If you’re someone who would want to explore this avenue, there’ll be a lot of tools introduced here which may be able to help you get started.

Open Source Meets Education 

Targeted at instructors and educational institutions. There is a real mix of applications featured in this article catering for the needs of academics, the teaching institutions, as well as students

e-Learning 

Computer and network-enabled transfer of knowledge, behaviors, and skills. We focus on open source software which is both user friendly for students and instructors.

Classroom

With this software, educators can create, administer, and grade tests, help manage a computer-based classroom, create an interactive whiteboard, and produce modular courses.

Flashcards 

A flashcard stores information on a set of cards, with the information being typically portrayed as words and numbers. Flashcards are one of the best tools for memorizing information.

Music education

Music education is a field of study connected with the learning and teaching of music. Music is an essential part of the fabric of our society, and the intrinsic value of music is widely recognized.

Student Information Systems 

A student information system (also known as a student management system or school management system) is computer software for educational institutions to manage student data. They provide tracking of demographic attributes, gradebooks, tracking student attendance, calendars, reporting, building student schedules, transcripts, and managing many other student-related data needs.

Foreign Language

Learning a new language can provide life changing opportunities and enjoyment. We identify the best-of-breed open source Linux software to make language acquisition fun, enjoyable, and stimulating way of learning.

Library Management Systems

A library management system (also known as an integrated library system) is an automated resource planning system which enables a library to operate efficiently, freeing staff from unnecessary tasks.

Moodle

Moodle integrates pedagogical features missing in many LMS tools, allowing instructors to construct customizable, online courses or a wide range of course modules on a flexible platform. Moodle can be downloaded to any computer and used to support a single instructor site or a system of thousands of students. It is licensed by the Open Source Initiative under a general public license (GPL).

Bodington

This Java-based virtual learning environment was developed by the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Bodington aims to provide a flexible, durable learning environment for large, complex institutions with numerous departments. It allows quick upload and management of learning content, and the multilayered administrative model effectively meets varied administrative challenges.

Bodington conforms to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendations. It also complies with the Special Education Needs and Disability Act 2001,13 allowing people with physical and visual impairments people to take part in digital courses supported by the Bodington VLE.

OpenEduCat

  • Free version: Supports core functions such as attendance tracking, class scheduling, student information system, and faculty management.
  • Paid version: Varies from $49-$1,999 for packages for additional features, integrations, and onboarding services.

OpenEduCat is an open source cloud-based educational management system for universities, colleges, and schools.

OpenEduCat offers a variety of features in its core module. These include an information system that keeps a record of students and faculty members, attendance tracking, virtual classroom, fees management, and timetable management.

Support and maintenance are not available with the free version—users have to perform it themselves, which requires coding knowledge. The alternative is to avail paid installation and maintenance from the OpenEduCat service team.

OpenSIS

  • Free version: OpenSIS Community Edition offers core features including student information, advanced scheduling, teacher portal, and attendance tracking.
  • Paid version: The Professional Edition helps with more complex processes school administrators might face. The price is set at $0.25/year per user.

openSIS is an open source student information and school management software. It offers a cloud-based setup for schools ranging from K12 to higher education and integrates with popular third-party video conferencing tools for advanced online classroom management.

The product is best suited for small to medium schools with a knowledgeable IT staff. Being an open source tool, users need to be familiar with PostgreSQL to take full advantage of the software. It also has native iOS and Android apps.

openSIS offers integrations with several popular video conferencing and calendar management applications to facilitate online schooling.

The product’s support options comprise self-service portal, live chat, and an after-hours crisis helpline.

Gibbon

  • Free version: Includes all the features.
  • Paid version: Users can enroll for paid technical service and maintenance support by experts.

Gibbon is a cloud-based open source school management system that offers a wide range of features. Being an open source tool, Gibbon is flexible and gives schools complete control and freedom to use the software however they want.

The core module in Gibbon offers features such as planner, timetable, gradebook management for students and teachers, library management, attendance, and behavior tracking, as well as assessment capabilities for teachers.

Gibbon’s architecture allows users to increase the number of features it can support. With the help of extensions available on the vendor website, users can add features such as alumni and committee management.

Free support is available through the software’s extensive documentation and online support forums.

Classter

  • Free version: Includes the core, CRM, billing, academic, and surveys and quizzes modules for up to 50 students.
  • Paid version: Starts at $50 per month for an unlimited number of students.

Classter is an all-in-one cloud-based school information and learning management system (LMS) that also offers a student information system (SIS).

The software offers several modules designed for K12 schools, higher education institutions, and private academies. Its student registration and management feature make it suitable for storing and organizing student information.

Classter also features advanced integration capabilities with popular work applications and calendar management tools. This makes it easy for teachers to sync calendars and manage curriculums and timetable. Classter offers phone, email, and 24/7 live support as well as an online help desk.

feKara

  • Free version: Can support a class of 50 students and up to five teachers can access the software.
  • Paid version: Costs $350 per feature as a one-time setup charge. Administrators can manage up to 600 students and unlimited teachers.

feKara offers a common and easily configurable school database system for teachers, parents, and students. The product also integrates with popular third-party video conferencing tools to provide a virtual classroom experience to students. Admins or teachers can easily create online classes and manage lesson planning from within the app.

feKara offers email and live chat support.

Conclusion

Open source software is everywhere, and many of us have a lot to say about it. Software used to be a luxury for schools and colleges, but now it has become a requirement, especially for larger learning institutions. When choosing this type of software over proprietary software, the main areas of focus are productivity, integration, privacy and cost.

School administration software tools help create a learning environment where teachers, students, and parents can easily connect over virtual channels. In a rapidly digital world, these software solutions make learning more accessible to students. If your current school administration system is unable to provide you with such an environment, it’s time to invest in new technology.

Open source and digital education and learning, separately and together, aim to reach everyone. Although both movements have gained considerable maturity, a need for greater coordination exists. A cohesive plan must bring together open source principles and technologies, educational institutions, and economic factors so that each component’s role is clearly defined. Both open source and digital education projects are taking their first tentative steps into the consumer world. They have a long way to go before they enter the mainstream, but together they have great potential to change forever the face of education.



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