26 free apps for teachers

I’ve often blogged about individual free downloads on this blog. But how about one massive list of free apps for teachers from Microsoft? It’s not a complete list of everything, but it captures the key things that you might want to download and install on your teachers’ and students’ laptops in the new term.

The list comes courtesy of the TeachTec site, created by colleagues in the US, which also provides a handy way to find helpful websites, white papers etc, and can be searched by specific subject area or education level – in total they’ve scooped up 102 resources into one place.

Don’t have time to try them all? My all-time favourites in this list are Windows Live Writer, ZoomIt and AutoCollage


With just a few clicks your students can automatically create beautiful photo collages using nothing more than images from their phone, camera or online photos.

Photo collages celebrate important events and themes in our lives. Pick a folder, press a button, and in a few minutes AutoCollage presents you with a unique memento to print or email to your family and friends.

Chemistry Add-in for Word

In chemistry, not only is there a specific language, but a specific language with specific symbols and conventions –  Chemistry add-in for word can be the translator.

The Chemistry Add-in for Word makes it easier to insert and modify chemical information, such as labels, formulas, and 2-D depictions, within Microsoft Office Word. Additionally, it enables the creation of inline “chemical zones,” the rendering of print-ready visual depictions of chemical structures, and the ability to store and expose chemical information in a semantically rich manner.

Creative Commons add-in for Office

Share your lesson plans or curriculum with Creative Commons licenses embedded into your doc, ppt, xls files.

Empowering Microsoft Office users to express their intentions through Creative Commons licenses is another way Microsoft enables users around the world to exercise their creative freedom while being clear about the rights granted to users of a creative work. In the past, it has not always been easy or obvious to understand the intentions of some authors or artists regarding distribution or use of their intellectual creations. This is a great way to build the habits of sharing and collaboration.

HD View

Digital Arts Educators rejoice! Put your megapixels to work, use HD View to stitch large panoramic photos together to share online.

HD View is the camera for the web. Its goal is to create the best picture given (a) a source with high resolution, arbitrary dynamic range, any field of view and colour gamut; (b) the user’s interaction; and (c) the display being used.

Interactive Classroom

1:1 classroom interaction just got easier. With OneNote and PowerPoint deliver interactive lessons using this powerful add-in for Office.

Works with Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, Microsoft OneNote 2010, and Microsoft Office OneNote 2007. This add-in connects a teacher’s PowerPoint presentation to students’ OneNote notebooks. During a presentation, teachers can: Poll students with multiple choice, true/false, or yes/no questions. Distribute the lesson to students with OneNote Include real-time ink and text annotations. Students can answer and respond through their individual OneNote notebooks, hand-held clickers, or computers, and the results display in the presentation. Students also get consolidated notes that match those of the instructor so they can keep track of what they need to learn.


Create games for Xbox or the PC, learn visual programming, teach creativity, problem solving or storytelling, no programing experience needed!

Kodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox too, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input.

Learning Essentials

Office XP-2010 education templates, tutorials, and more with this add-in to Office. Create a randomised test in 30 seconds or less using Learning Essentials.

Sometimes the hardest part about completing a project is getting started. Learning Essentials provides you with assignment-specific guidance in Microsoft Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Creative projects, science activities, data collection, essays and reports, research and brainstorming, presentations – the list goes on. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a curriculum area not addressed by Learning Essentials and Microsoft Office. Learning Essentials adds value right across the curriculum, including key subjects such as English, Maths, Science, Foreign Languages and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Math Add-in for Word and OneNote

Question: How do you create a 3D graph of an Oblate Spheroid equation? Answer: Use the Math add-in for Word and OneNote to solve, plot and graph equations.

Works with Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Office Word 2007, and Microsoft OneNote 2010. With this add-in, you insert an advanced math problem (from algebra to calculus, physics, or statistics) and then click to simplify complex expressions or to solve. Use these advanced math computational and graphing capabilities to: Plot a function, equation, or inequality in 2-D or 3-D, and save the results, solve an equation or inequality, calculate a numerical result, compute the inverse of a matrix, matrix operations, list operations, and integrals.

Math Worksheet Generator

Math educators need love too, MWG creates 1-1000 equations from a single sample equation you enter. Did I mention it also generates an answer sheet too?

Do you spend a lot of time searching for worksheets with practice problems to give your students? Now you can easily create your own in just a few seconds with the Math Worksheet Generator. This is a tool that generates multiple math problems based on a sample, and then creates a worksheet that you can distribute. By analysing the math problem you provide, or one of the built-in samples, the generator determines the structure of the expression and provides similar problems. We tack on an answer sheet too.

Microsoft Math 4.0

The average cost of a graphing calculator is $50, this one is free and works on your PC.

From basic math to precalculus, Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 can help you visualize and see mathematical concepts as you’ve never seen them before. This free downloadable tool includes step-by-step instructions and explains fundamental concepts. The wide range of tools to help students with complex mathematics includes a full-featured graphing calculator that’s designed to work just like a hand-held calculator and ink handwriting support to recognize hand-written problems.

Personal whinge from me on this – my daughters’ school gives every student their own laptop – and then insists that every parent spends an extra $250 on a graphing calculator. Grrr.

Mouse Mischief

25 Mice+PowerPoint = Interactive classroom lessons.

Mouse Mischief integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, letting you insert questions, polls, and drawing activity slides into your lessons. Students can actively participate in these lessons by using their own mice to click, circle, cross out, or draw answers on the screen.

Office Add-in for Moodle

Do you want to find the easiest way to upload documents to Moodle? This Office add-in integrates with your Moodle deployment for easy uploads and access.

Uploading files to Moodle has never been easier. The Office Add-in for Moodle (OAM) is an add-in for Microsoft Office (versions 2003, 2007 and 2010) that allows teachers to open and save Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents to a Moodle website. Today, teachers who use Office and Moodle have to switch back and forth between their web browser and Office applications. With the OAM, teachers can create, open, edit, and save Moodle documents from within the Office applications. You no longer need to use your web browser when working with Office documents stored in Moodle.

Photo Story 3

Everyone remembers Photo Story from the Windows XP days, well guess what educators it’s back and working with Windows 7!

Create slideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or your smartphone!


Photostitching x100, stop trying to make sense out of random photos on school field trips, turn that trip into a 360 experience.

Photosynth takes your photos, mashes them together and recreates a 3D scene out of them that anyone can view and move around in. Different than static photos and video, Photosynth allows you to explore details of places, objects, and events unlike any other media. You can’t stop video, move around and zoom in to check out the smallest details, but with Photosynth you can. And you can’t look at a photo gallery and immediately see the spatial relation between the photos, but with Photosynth you can!


Move between PowerPoint slides in a non-linear way. Don’t quite understand what I mean? Download and find out that PowerPoint just got cool.

pptPlex uses Plex technology to give you the power to zoom in and out of slide sections and move directly between slides that are not sequential in your presentation. Watch the videos below to see how pptPlex can help you organize and present information in a non-linear fashion. Test drive pptPlex and wow your audience with your next presentation.

Ribbon Hero 2

Do you remember Clippy, you know the paperclip character in old versions of Office, he’s back, but with new ways for your students to learn.

What happens when Office and Xbox intermingle? Yes, we turned Office into a game! If you’re going to spend time immersed in the inner workings of Office, by golly it should be fun. In Ribbon Hero 2, the player will hop on board Clippy’s stolen time machine and explore different time periods. With each time period, they get to explore a new game board with challenges they must complete to get to the next level. Each challenge takes the player into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote to complete a task. Discover new Office features by actually using them, with a hint button to fall back on in case you get stuck. Race for a high score with colleagues, classmates and friends, or even put your score on your resume to show off your Office skills!

Search Commands

It would be nice if you could just type “mail merge” on the Office Ribbon and all mail merge options would appear, now you can.

Want more command over your Office applications? Search Commands offers a way to search for commands in your own words to get to your tasks more quickly.


Is it possible to teach your class how to sing? Yes. Is it possible to get them to sing well? Maybe. Songsmith is a good start.

Ever sing in the car? Maybe in the shower? You know who you are. Admit it, you like to sing, and you like music. Ever thought of writing your own music? Most people never get a chance to try… but we want to give everyone a piece of the songwriting experience, so we’ve developed Songsmith, an application that lets you create a complete song just by singing!

Windows Live Mesh

Synchronize folders between multiple devices, including Macs.

Access the stuff on your computers from almost anywhere. With Windows Live Mesh and the Devices website, you can finally stop emailing files to yourself, carrying them around on a USB drive, or worrying whether the version you have with you is the latest.

Windows Live Messenger

Chat with Facebook friends, on your phone or int he browser, Messenger keeps you connected.

The best way to stay in touch with your friends. Share photos and videos while you chat. Video chat in high definition or send a video message to a friend. And connect your social networks to see important updates in one place—Messenger.

Windows Live Movie Maker

Download the latest version of Windows Movie Maker and learn how to share your new videos online for free.

With Windows Live Movie Maker, you can quickly turn your photos and videos into polished movies. Add special effects, transitions, sound, and captions to help tell your story. And sharing with friends and family is easy—whether on the web, a computer, TV, mobile device, or a DVD.

Windows Live Photo Gallery

Share photos in your 25GB of storage online for free and faster than you can say online photo albums accessible from my smartphone.

Import photos from your camera, organize them into albums, and edit them so they look their best. Use powerful photo tools to create stunning panoramas, movies, slide shows, and more. When you’re ready to share, publish your photos and videos to your favourite websites like Facebook and Flickr directly from Photo Gallery.

Windows Live Writer

Are you an aspiring blogger? What about your students, with this free tool you can teach your students how to post directly to WordPress or your favourite blog site in minutes.

Windows Live Writer makes it easy for anyone to tell stories like a professional blogger. You can create beautiful blog posts, and see what they’ll look like online before you publish them to your blog. Plus, you can publish your posts to any of your favourite blog service providers

WorldWide Telescope

If you could travel the stars where would you go? Let your students decide which planet they want to visit first using this online interactive planetarium.

WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky.


Zoom to an area on the screen during your big presentation, point out where to click in that application, and also set a timer on a blank screen with one key click (brilliant for the “You have 5 minutes to…” times.

ZoomIt is a screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image. Created by Mark Russinovich