School Tools

By Jon Camfield



This page is designed to provide schools with a wide array of useful tools and utilities to help manage and maintain computer labs. It contains software that is free, and often "open source" software, which means that if needed, the school can modify the software to fit its own needs.

This was originally (and with any hope still is) a resource CD for schools in Jamaica which had little if any Internet, but did have computers that desparately needed virus protection, educational software, and so on. Obviously, in changing it to a website, I didn't want to get into any hot water about copyrights/distribution rights, so I merely provide links to the software on the developer's site.

It is loosely modeled after the excellent project, TheOpenCD, which is a showcase of free/open source software.

By clicking on the other tabs above, you may navigate to the sections of software available on the Internet. Each section has its own instructions and recommendations for use. In general, here is what is found under each section:

Media >>
This contains various media players to listen to music, watch videos, and also some tools for media creation -- a professional graphics program, as well as a tool to broadcast music over the Internet.
Office >>
This contains productivity software, like OpenOffice -- a free Office suite that can read and write MS Office files.
Educational >>
Games and learning software that can be found useful in classes to teach math, literacy, critical thinking and typing/computing skills
Internet >>
Programs useful for utilizing the Internet -- up-to-date web browsers, FTP programs, etc.
Reference >>
References, documentation, and curricula to use in your lessons

Using this Web Site

Installing "Zip" Software

Many computer will already have "WinZip" installed, and Windows XP handles it automatically. However, if, while you are installing any software from this listing, to locate the program to read ZIP files, you need to install what is called archiving software. This software allows you to shrink one or many files into a single, much smaller, file. Two programs are included to do this. One is completely free, called ICEows. It supports ZIP and many other formats, and has its own format (ICE) that can be used to split up files across many floppy disks if you have a really large file to copy. You can install ICEows here. This listing also includes WinZip, which is familiar and easy to use. It expires after 30 days, but can still be used to unzip files. You can install WinZip here.

Where to start?

Admittedly, there is a whole heap of tools and software to use. Start off with the next chapter, Optimization, and once you get your computer in top shape, consider what you need, and what the computer will be used as. If it is to be used by children, you might focus on the Educational section and look at the paint programmes and typing programmes aimed at children. If it is to be used in an office setting, you will want to focus on the Office section, and possibly the Media and Utilities sections. If you have students interested in media creation, you can use tools from this list to do things such as fly around the solar system, create web pages, make live Internet radio stations and more!



Ultimate Paint
Advance Paint program with great filters
PhotoShop Album Starter Edition
Manage digital photos-edit, arrange into albums and create presentations
Irfan View
A free utility to browse and print images
A free utility to browse and print images
Gnu Image Manipulation Program 2.2
"GIMP" is an open source, free, professional-grade image program, much like Photoshop. The GTK library must be installed first. Also check out the Animation Package.
Tux Paint
An easy-to-learn paint program great for schoolchildren -- use it to teach colors and shapes, as well as how to use a mouse. Add Tux Stamps for additional clipart and features, and Jamaica Stamps for some Jamaican pictures to use.
Edits and creates icons suitable for Windows


Open-Source Sound editing software
Fruity Loops 3.5.6 (demo)
FruitLoops lets the user make beats and sequence music quickly and easily
Winamp 5 , WinAmp 2.8 MP3 player
WinAmp is a popular audio player, which can be used in many interesting ways. You might want DSP Stacker to use multiple DSP effects
WinAmp Shoutcast: (Guide) (plugin) ( Server) (WWW)
With a high-speed Internet connection, ShoutCast can be used to broadcast an Internet radio station from your school, with original content created by the students
iTunes is a powerful media player/library management with audio-CD burning capabilities
dBPowerAmp Media Player, Karaoke plugin, CD-Burning plugin
Various Audio tools for the dBPowerAmp player


VideoLan Client
FREE All-in-one video player for every playform (Windows, Mac, Linux, and more), that additionally has network/broadcasting abilities
Windows Media Player, for
Windows XP, ME/98SE, Windows 95/NT
Plays most audio and video formats
DirectX 9.0b
DirectX Drivers
iTunes + Quick Time 6.3
Movie player for Macintosh .mov and .qt files
Video Codecs
All-in-one package of video codecs, supports DiX 5.1.1, XViD 1.0 Final, AC3, MPEG, Subtitles and OGG Vorbis
Discover what type of media, and what codecs are used/needed to play it
Real Player
Real Player is a common video format used to stream video from the Web
Shockwave allows you to view Flash animations on the Web, and play Shockwave games

CD Burning/Ripping

Win XP CD extensions
Better interface to the Windows XP CD burning wizard that includes ISO creation/burning
Virtual CD Control Panel
Mount CDs on your hard drive
Free CD Burning software
CD Checking/Recovery tool
A tool to archive DVDs to DivX formats which can fit on normal CD-Rs
A tool to convert CDs into MP3s automatically
Virtual CD Controller
A way to archive CDs to your hard drive, for programs that require a CD to be in the drive to run (Expedia, Encarta, etc.)

Web Design

Web Design Software
See the Internet section for Web Design software.


Open Office 2.0
Open Office is an open-source project, giving a free alternative to MicroSoft Office. It can read and write Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. May require installation of unicode drivers, unicows. You may want to install Java before you install Open Office, for extended functionality..
Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.1
This very common program allows you to view and print PDF files
Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 (Windows 98 SE and better only) (WWW)
This very common program allows you to view and print PDF files



Tux Paint
An easy-to-learn paint program great for schoolchildren -- use it to teach colors and shapes, as well as how to use a mouse. Add Tux Stamps for additional clipart and features, and Jamaica Stamps for some Jamaican pictures to use.
Tux Type 2
A great program to teach keyboard layout, finger usage, and speed typing. Run this setup and then you can select "Jamaican" from language options for a Jamaican theme!
10 Finger Breakout
Play a classic "Breakout" game while learning keyboarding
Typing Tutor
A typing tutor (works on older machines)


Fly around the solar system, with beautiful views of the planets and stars -- keep track of the International Space Station in real time! Also available in a High-Resolution Version for computers with 3D graphics cards
Browse Celestia Resources for lesson plans and guides to using Celestia in your classroom.
Look at tonight's sky
Google Earth
Fly to anywhere on the Earth and see the sights! Requires connection to the Internet
Menstrua (WWW)
Learn about the menstruation cycle (Works in DOS)
A simulation of pest control methods
A game simulating plant disease spread


Letter Learner
Teaches the letters
Letter Sounds
Connect the letter with the sound (requires sound card and speakers/headphones)
Rebecca's Letters and Numbers
Teach letters and numbers on the computer


Sorting game
A Calculation game
Tux Math
A "Missile Command" Game that teaches Math
Graphing and Equation editing
Function Graphing
Convert almost any measurement unit
A program to explore the beautiful patterns made by fractals
Magic Cube 4d
A 4-Dimensional Rubiks Cube!


NoteCard is a small program with a simple purpose: to help you learn to read the musical notes, and to recognize them instantly.
Fractal Music Generator (Zipped) (WWW)
Creates music out of fractal patterns. Requires this library

Integrated Studies

WhoDunnit? (for Mac
Help Sherlocke Holmes solve mysteries

School Administration

ChildProof (WWW)
Child-Proof a computer desktop, locking down features
Lab Administration
See the Internet section for lab administration software (Policy Mangement, Proxy servers...)


Scratch, a visual programming tool.
MS Visual C++ Educational Edition
Create programs in Visual C++
MS Visual Basic Educational Edition
Create programs using Visual Basic
Perl + Apache Web Server (WWW, See also IndigoPerl)
Perl is a very powerful language for reading and editing files, web development, and more. This distribution includes the Apache web server
Java (WWW)
Java Runtime Engine
Visual Basic 6 Runtime
The runtime files for VB6
Spoon Installer (WWW)
Make your own program installations
Modify existing programs with new text and graphics
Find, show, and hide buttons and hidden options in programs


Web Browsing

Google ToolBar for IE
The Google Toolbar blocks pop-ups and lets you search Google from your browser! (This is built-in with Mozilla and FireFox browsers)
Mozilla 'FireFox' Internet Browser
Mozilla 'FireFox' Web Browser -- Blazingly fast, with good default settings for privacy, use
Fire Tune to customize it to your computer and Internet speeds.
FireFox Extensions
Plug-ins for FireFox. AdBlock is a particularly powerful one which improve web surfing speeds on modems dramatically by not downloading advertisements, now automatically-updating if you also install FilterSet.G Updater!
Opera Web Browser
Opera is less fully-featured than Firefox, but it is super-fast and may be better suited for slower computers
Java (WWW)
Java Runtime Engine
Shockwave allows you to view Flash animations on the Web, and play Shockwave games
(Win NT/2k/XP), (Win98)
Lynx is an extremely fast web browser, as it is text-only. Excellent for slow connections.

Web Design

1st Page 2000
Web Design Program that adapts to your level of knowledge
Official web development tool developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, also contains tools to validate existing web pages.
An excellent customizable tool to create web pages.
Keyword Extractor (WWW)
Helps you optimize keywords in web pages
Whois (WWW)
Finds names available for your website

Internet Utilities

Trillian 3.1
A program to interface with any chat/Instant Messaging system (like Yahoo!, MSN, AIM, ICQ...)
An open source IM program that also includes Jabber support, and spell-checking
Easy FTP program for uploading files to websites
Visual Secure-FTP/SecureCopy (scp) program for Windows to upload files to websites
A high-quality open-source email client with spam-filtering built in
Enables using Yahoo! mail like a POP3 client for normal email programs (Outlook, Eudora, etc.)
A powerful bitTorrent client -- makes sharing large files easy and fast!
Kazaa Lite
An ad-free version of Kazaa, used to download programs and music
Kazaa Lite K++ 2.43
A more advanced ad-free version of Kazaa with privacy enhancements, used to download programs and music, may not work well on Windows 95/98/ME
A Multi-network P2P Client
WGet for Windows
WGet is a command-line tool to download content from websites
A telnet and SSH client
Onion Routing
A collection of files to enable Onion Routing, a private, anonymous distributed proxy service

Network Tools

Internet Connection Sharing Configurator
Tool for configuring Internet Connection Sharing on Win98
GetRight Download Manager )WWW)
Download Manager increases speed and recovers from disconnections
The Onion Router + Privoxy
Web Proxy that cleans out malicious HTML and Javascript, combined with TOR, The Onion Router, to add some basic protection to your IP address. Proxy setup and browser restart required
AnalogX's Internet Proxy, with full features for Internet Connection Sharing
Map ports through proxy servers
SocksCap (
32-bit, 16-bit)
A tool to use to get through SOCKS proxy servers
Sygate Personal Firewall
Use Sygate Personal Firewall to protect your computer while online
AVG Anti-Virus 7
AVG Anti-Virus is a high-quality but free (for personal use) anti-virus tool. You may need Internet Access to get a serial number if you do not have one already (from AVG6)
NetStat Live
AnalogX's NetStat displays current network usage statistics
AnalogX's FastCache saves DNS info locally
Atomic Time Sync
AnalogX's Atomic Time Sync for accurate time, and network time server
Net Stumbler
A Wireless Network analysis tool
Sam Spade
Use this to check your Internet connection
Superscan4, SuperScan3 (Win9x)
Use this to scan a computer for open ports

Server Software

AnalogX's Simple WWW server
Perl + Apache Web Server (WWW, See also IndigoPerl)
Run the leading web server at school!
Fictional Daemon
Advanced users only: run an FTP and telnet server on Windows


Required Tools

Shareware Zip tool
Free, no-nag, powerful zip program
ICE archiving utility
Free software that can open and create zip archives

Security / Privacy

AVG Anti-Virus
AVG Anti-Virus is a high-quality but free anti-virus tool.
Sygate Personal Firewall
Use Sygate Personal Firewall to protect your computer while online
Ad-Aware 6 SE
Ad Aware detects and removes ad-ware, installed by programs downloaded from the Internet, which slow your computer down
SpyBot Search-and-Destroy
Similar to Ad-Aware, but, like virus software, monitors threats as they happen
Stinger is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It is not a substitute for full anti-virus protection, but rather a tool to assist administrators and users when dealing with an infected system.
Hijack This!
HijackThis is a tool that lists all installed browser add-on, buttons, startup items and allows you to inspect, and optionally remove selected items.
CW Shredder
CW Shredder takes care of CoolWebSearch, which other programs can't quite get all of
Network analyzing tool

Optimization / Customization

EZ Cleaner
EZCleaner has various tools to speed your computer by cleaning out old junk (Win 95/98/ME ONLY!!)
Registry Cleaner for XP/2k
Startup Control Panel
This Control Panel utility lets you change what starts up with Windows, including the msconfig, Registry, and Startup folder locations
DLL Archive
AnalogX's tool to clean unused DLL files in Win9x
AnalogX's Win9x Memory manager
AnalogX's disk cache optimizer
Windows 9x Power Toys (TweakUI)
A collection of utilities to customize Windows 9x
Windows 98 Policy Editor
Control who can use what on Windows 98 computers, with guide online

Cell Phone Tools

Free communication tool for your cell phone if you have a cable/IR/Bluetooth connection to your computer -- synchronize files, add contacts, etc.

File Utilities

The File Splitter
A Utility to split a file across multiple floppy disks with automatic re-construction on the target computer (i.e. no need to have the program installed to put the files back together!)
Disk Rescue
A tool to rescue data from floppy disks
Bootable Windows CD Builder
Use an existing Windows CD to build a bootable "Live" CD -- useful for emergency virus and spyware cleaning