Alix Peshette has a nice post on the Classroom 2.0 blog about her favorite free and open source tools for the classroom or computer lab. Alix is in charge of technology at Davis Unified School District in California, which currently has seven GenYES schools.
She has tools and helpful comments for audio, graphics, a blog spellchecker (this I need!), video and web authoring.
Her top picks for audio are:
Audacity – Probably the most popular audio recording software in the K-12 tech arena. This software runs on almost everything; Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux.
Levelator – A great companion to Audacity for podcasting and radio theatre. Levelator adjusts the audio levels for variations from one speaker to the next. Levelator runs on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.3 (Panther)
Sony AcidXPress – It’s easy to create original music-even if you’re new to loop-based music software. The power of the application stems from its ability to take any audio loop and make it fit into the tempo of a project. This fully functioning freeware has some high-end features, but pop-ups inviting one to purchase companion software can be annoying. But hey – it’s free!
P.S. If you haven’t visited the Classroom 2.0 group site, it’s a new social network of educators talking about the use of technology and Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. It uses a site called Ning that allows anyone to set up a social network (want to start your own MySpace?)
Classroom 2.0 has been an especially lively place, and it’s a really nice to practice blogging where you get feedback and comments. People are friendly and there are some great discussions going on. If you stop in, be sure to look me up and ask me to be your friend!