Microsoft’s Free Tools in the Classroom

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Microsoft offers the following free tools to help engage students in a variety of subject areas—from art to music to science and beyond. Teachers can use these interactive tools to encourage self-directed learning or to create fun, dynamic group projects.

  • AutoCollage: Have students gather images from the Web or snap their own photos on a subject. Then, they can create a unique piece of art using this free collage-making tool.
  • WorldWide Telescope: This free tool brings together imagery from the world’s best ground and space-based telescopes. Students can explore the night sky by panning and zooming to distant planets and galaxies.
  • Microsoft Photosynth: Students can explore famous places in the world with cinematic quality using this virtual, visual three-dimensional tour.
  • Songsmith: Bring out the musical creativity in your students. Choose a style—from pop to jazz or R&B. Have a student sing into a PC microphone, and Songsmith will generate musical accompaniment to match his or her voice.
  • Windows Live Movie Maker: Make your classroom lessons even more memorable with a movie. Windows Live Movie Maker is the fast, easy way to turn photos and video clips into great-looking movies and slide shows you can share in class or on the Web.
  • Photo Story 3 for Windows XP: Bring a subject to life with music and pictures. This free, downloadable program has tools to enhance, crop, and rotate your digital photos. Students and teachers can easily create a slide show with just a few clicks.
  • Bing Search and Bing Maps: The visual aspect of Bing makes searching the Internet a more captivating and rewarding experience for students. Bing Maps offer breathtaking, bird’s eye views of the world that can enhance any project.
  • Bing Translator: This helpful tool easily converts what you have written into nearly any language you need.
  • Mouse Mischief: Integrate multiple choice, polling and true/false questions into your lessons with this free add-in for PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010 that lets students use mice to answer.
  • Windows Live SkyDrive: Gain access to 25 gigabytes (GB) of free, online storage. Use it for a student or teacher workgroup to upload and share documents in one central place, rather than trying to track them in e-mails. Store your photos and files, and access them with a password.

To learn more about the creative ways of using these Microsoft’s free tools to engage your students, you can download the Creative ways to engage students (pdf file, 3.5 MB) here.

Free Tools for Teachers

Engaging Students in the Classroom

Songsmith in the Classroom

About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Software Tools and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Microsoft’s Free Tools in the Classroom

  1. sirui says:

    Free tools is the key point for technology of education! Although we all know that money cannot playing the only role in education, but, if there would be several smart tools for classroom, why we not use the free ones? In this post, several free tools of Microsoft have been introduced, Photostory is one of which we have learned in class. The format of slideshare with audio and text is really useful for education.

    Free is important, but one of the advantages of those tools provided by Microsoft is the interactive feature. As, illustrated by Dr. Yuen in this post, teachers can use these interactive tools to encourage self-directed learning or to create fun, dynamic group projects. As in creating photostory, it is easy for teachers and learners to enjoy the interest brought by interaction. For example, a slideshare without audio or text is hard to leave impression, but audio could help learners better understanding, especially for introducing a period of development or trend.

    Also, as shown in the video, those free tools in classroom are encouraging students’ own learning interest and improve their learning ability. Usually, teachers apply those tools to class can increase the interaction in classroom. At the same time, have you think about the interaction after class? Without teacher and instruction, due to the “free” downloadable tools, students themselves gain the chance of using teaching tools at home! From the perspective of learning, the real contact with instructional tools can enhance their sense of teaching activities and knowledge itself.

  2. The resources sharing on this blog is appreciated ! Thanks for doing more with less in education.

  3. Hope Drummonds says:

    This post provides teachers with a lot of very important information on free products. With the budgets for schools being as they are anything free is GREAT. Teachers are constantly looking for new ways to engage students in the learning process without having to ask the school district for funding. Since these tools are free the learning doesn’t have to stop in the classroom students will be likely to use the same tools at home or in other environments.

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