Free Educational Software

By: Eric Curts, North Canton City Schools

Types of free programs | Where to get free software | Good examples of free software | How to download and install

Types of free programs

Software can be one of the most expensive parts of your computer. However, it does not have to be. There are many excellent programs available completely for free which you can download and use in place of expensive commercial software. And even though these programs are free, they can still be very professional and useful.

Such free programs generally fall into three main categories:

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Where to get free software

To find free software you have two main options:

Either way, you should always be careful about what you download and install.

Below are a few of the better sites that catalog free software:

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Good examples of free software

There are so many great free programs. Here are just a few of the best examples, covering many needs and subjects.

General / Multiple Subjects



Social Studies

Language Arts

World Languages


Utilities / Helpers

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How to download and install

Once you have found a program you wish to use, you will need to download and install it. This process can vary between programs, but basically you want to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the web site for the program
  2. Locate and click on the download link (typically labeled “Download”)
  3. Choose a place to save the file that will be easy for you to remember, such as your desktop or “My Documents” or such. You may even want to make a new folder just to hold things you download, such as “Temp” or “Stuff”.
  4. Let the file download.
  5. Now go find the downloaded file on your computer. Even though you have downloaded the file, the program is not ready to be used yet. You still need to install it.
  6. Double-click the file to begin the installation process.
  7. Note: If this does not automatically start the installation process, then the file may be “zipped”. This means all the different parts of the program have been put into one file which needs to be “unzipped” before you can proceed. To unzip a file you can use a free program such as WinZip (
  8. Once the installation process begins, simply follow the onscreen directions specific to that program.
  9. After the install is done, you can now use the program.
  10. Also, you should be able to delete the original downloaded file since it is not needed anymore.

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Copyright 2006 - Eric Curts