Digital Life Beyond the Library Website

August 25, 2009 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

It is back to school time!

That means lots of directed learning taking place, but as a librarian I know some of the most powerful learning in our lives comes from discoveries we make chasing our own curiosity. With that in mind I offer you some free open source applications I found on the web that should satisfy your thirst and inspire learners of many ages!

  1. Celestia
  2.  Download this app (Windows/Mac OSX/Linux) and explore space in three dimensions! With Celestia you will find yourself traveling through our solar system, through the galaxy, and beyond! 

  3. FlatWorldKnowledge
  4. This gives site provides college level textbooks written by content experts in a downloadable format for free. These are serious works used as the required text by prominent university and colleges across the country.

  5. Scratch
  6. Serious about gaming? Gaming can be more than mindless, especially when you throw this free app at a gamer. Intended for use by children as young as 8 years old and is all the rage with even the 20-something crowd too this app allows you to build your own video games. This is app promotes creative thinking, compuatational logic, reasoning at a systematic level, and the option to work collaboratively. This app comes from the halls of MIT and runs on either Windows or Mac OSX platforms.

  7. OpenOffice (Window/Mac OSX /Linux)
  8. Can you send that to me as a Word file? Do you have this as a PDF? Microsoft Office is not a cheap investment, but it is the industry standard and the format many expect when colloborating. The good news is that the OpenOffice suite, a free app that is winning many devoted users, not only gives you the ability to save your word processing, spreadsheets, and slide shows in the MS Office formats to make them easy to share… they even allow you to save your work directly as a PDF. How suite is that?

  9.  Google Docs and Zoho
  10. Want to do distance collaboration and create with people too far away or with difficult schedules? These two options have “cloud computing” solutions. The apps aren’t downloaded to your computer and the work isn’t saved on your computer. Instead it resides in your own little private corner of the web. You can give your friends access to access the files so that they can add their contributions. Zoho host many colloborative tools that include not only MS Office type applications but also planners, notebooks, wikis, and more!

  11.  Library of Congress Exhibits
  12. The library of congress has an impressive collection of interactive exhibits that allow you to explore world cultures and history, America’s past and character, as well as those events/individuals/works that shaped the twentieth century. Each exhibit puts at your fingertips the treasured documents, pictures, and audio-visual materials holdings of the LOC. Okay, I cheated on this one. It is a library website, but it’s not MY library’s website. Besides, would any list be complete without including the LOC? 




Entry filed under: Digital Life, Youth Services.

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