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    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    Marble is an open source virtual globe for your computer. I’ve written about Marble before, but it’s been awhile so I thought I’d revisit this application and share some of the features that have been introduced. Marble offers a variety of ways in which to view the Earth, including, but not limited to a geoographical map, precipitation, a street map and satelite view. There are many other maps that are availiable as add-ons, including globes of the planets and moons, historical globes from a variety of eras, a hike and bike map, public transportation maps and several maps created by MapQuest. In addition to all of this, Marble can be readily customized via its menus. Marble is part of the KDE Education Project and runs on Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS.

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    Marble showing the Earth at night (note: I’ve zoomed in on a particular region. Where?).

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    GIMP is a very powerful, feature-rich and versatile image creation and editing tool. Better still, it’s open source. Users can do everything from simple photo enhancement to creating lively, eye-catching graphics. Among the tools built into GIMP are a wide variety of brushes, special effects for customization and support for layers. Web masters can even use GIMP to create image maps. In short, GIMP has every feature you would expect to find in a modern image editing application.

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    The author created this parody of a popular product using GIMP.

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    If you’re looking for a full-featured spreadsheet application that is light on system resources, you should take a look at Gnumeric. Gnumeric is an open source electronic spreadsheet program that is free, fast, light and stable. Users will find all of the tools one would expect to find in a spreadsheet -a sum tool, statistical analysis, cell formatting and graph/chart generation and insertion. These are just a few of the useful tools available. So check out Gnumeric and find your next spreadsheet application.

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    Could Gnumeric be your next spreadsheet?

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    It’s summertime again (at least in the northern hemisphere). You’ll no doubt be taking lots of photos to cpature some memories. If you want a cutting-edge application to edit your photos, you need look no further than GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). GIMP is a powerful and versatile open source application for creating and editing images. GIMP is every bit as feature-rich as Adobe PhotoShop, but at none of the financial expense. So why pay big bucks to modify your summer photos, when a viable alternative is so readily available?

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    Summer fun viewed in GIMP.

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    In my household, we have four shared computers, two desktops and two laptops (I’m not including the three tablets). Three of the computers (one desktop and the two laptops run Xbuntu Linux. The other computer runs Microsoft Windows 7. I can say without a doubt the computers running Linux are the least maintenance. They’re very stable and extremely secure. I have spent hours, sometimes days, attempting to liberate the Windows 7 computer from viruses, spyware and malware. The only maintenace I perform on the Linux computers includes sfotware upgrades, initial launch housekeeping and occassional operating system reinstallation to restore the computer to “new” condition. By the way, the tablets all run Android, a Linux-based operating system. Linux just saves me an enormous amount of time and nearly as many headaches.

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    Tux the Linux Penguin

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    It’s that time of year again. Time for school districts to start putting their budgets together for the next fiscal year. As we’re all aware, some wonderful innovations will end up on the fiscal chopping block. A Student Information System doesn’t need to be one of them. Student Information Systems (SIS) allow school districts and their faculty and staff to store student information in a place where it can be readily accessed by other faculty and staff, students and even students’ parents or guardians. This space is on a Web server. Student Information Systems can track such information as schedules, academic performance, parent contact information and interventions. So why do I say that something that sounds so expensive doesn’t need to be cut from the budget? The answer is SchoolTool. SchoolTool is a full-featured, open source Student Information System. With SchoolTool, your district can have ready access to student information usually only possible with expensive proprietary software.

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    This screenshot shows a typical record for a (fictional) student. (Thanks to Tom Hoffman for permission to use this screenshot from the SchoolTool Web site).

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    Sometimes fgures speek louder than words.

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    This table was created using LibreOffice Writer. Which option looks best to you?

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    People who homeschool will love the vast amount of educational technology resources available as open source. Homeschooled students will have access to software that can enhance learning in all areas of the curriculum. There are also applications for multimedia, productivity and even Bible studies. There’s so much useful software that I can’t do it justice here. Check out Energize Education through Open Source, available through Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble, to learn more.

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    Your homeschooled child can help Tux save his friends and brush up on Math facts at the same time in TuxMath.

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    I’m going to take a break from discussing open source educational software and take a look at something fun. Some of you may fondly reminesce about games that ran in DOS, such as DOOM or Heretic. The good news is that you can run these games again in DOSBox. DOSBox is an open source DOS emulator that allows you to run your favorite DOS games. All you need are the original game files and you’re ready to go (these can be found online, so you won’t need a time machine). DOSBox is available for Linux, Microsoft Windows and MacOS.

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    DOSBox running Tachyon Studeos’ Blood & Magic (a personal favorfite).

    Energize Education Tip of the Day!

    Forget Lumosity. gbrainy is a collection of open source games designed to stimulate the thought process. The games included address logic, mathematical knowledge, memoory and verbal analogies. gbrainy is free and available for Linux, Microsoft Windows and MacOS. So get gbrainy and start putting your brain to work.

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    The gbrainy welcome screen