20 Open Source Applications for Students and Lifelong Learners

About this article
The web offers many different open source applications that help with office work, collaboration, learning and exploration, annotations, citations, archiving and much more. Here are 20 open source applications that would be especially useful to students and lifelong learners.
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Office and Collaboration

openoffice

  • OpenOffice - OpenOffice is a popular open source software suite that can be used for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and much more.
  • Spicebird - This free collaboration platform offers email, instant messaging, calendaring and other web services.
  • Writewith - Writewith is a web-based application that makes it easy for groups to write and work together online.
  • Dolphin - Dolphin is customizable, open source software that can be used to create social networks, forums and other types of interactive communities.
  • Vyew - Vyew is a free web-based collaboration platform that provides real-time web conferencing, presentations and much more.

Learning and Exploration

stellarium

  • Stellarium - Stellarium is an open source planetarium that displays a realistic 3D sky on your computer.
  • KGeography - This free geography learning tool makes it easy to learn about various locations on a world map.
  • Sage - This free mathematics system is a great open source alternative to Mathematica and Matlab. It can be used to study basic, intermediate and advanced mathematics.
  • Jmol - This free interactive application is perfect for chemistry students who want to view 3D models of chemical structures.
  • Parley - Parley uses a flashcard method to help students memorize vocabulary and other information.
  • TuxWordSmith - Similar to Scrabble, TuxWordSmith is a word game that can be played in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, Greek, Russian and German.

Archiving, Annotations and Citations

zotero

  • Zotero - This free Firefox extension is excellent for students who need to manage and cite sources for a research paper.
  • Archon - This award-winning open source software is a favorite among archivists. It can be used to record, view and browse descriptive information and digital objects.
  • Total Text Container - This easy-to-use storage application works well for documents, notes, passwords, contacts, bookmarks, images, spreadsheets, task sheets and other types of files.
  • Fedora Repository - The Fedora Repository can be used to support and collect any type of digital content.
  • Jarnal - Jarnal is a note taker/PDF annotator. It also works well for journaling, presentations and project collaboration.

Miscellaneous

inkscape

  • Inkscape - With capabilities similar to Illustrator and CorelDraw, Inkdraw is the perfect vector graphics editor for artists who are looking for free software.
  • ASPT - ASPT is a web-based management tool that can be used to track progress on individual or team projects.
  • DataVision - DataVision is an open source report writer that automatically pulls information from databases and data files.
  • Aggie - This desktop news aggregator pulls the latest information and news from your favorite websites and displays it on one easy-to-read web page.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • MS - Game Design (Campus)
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
      • M.S. - Public Relations
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Creative Writing for Entertainment (Campus)
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
    Associate's
      • AS - Cloud Technologies
    Certificate
      • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Education
      • DBA: Business Administration
      • Education Specialist in Educational Leadership
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
      • Doctor of Education: School Leadership
    Master's
      • MS: Criminal Justice
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Critical Incident Management
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Legal Studies
      • MS: Psychology
      • MA: Creative Writing - Fiction
    Bachelor's
      • BA: Criminal Justice
      • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
      • BA: Liberal Studies
      • BA: Psychology
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      • BS: Computer Science
    Associate's
      • AA: Criminal Justice
      • AA: Liberal Arts
      • AA: Business Administration
      • AA: Information Technology
      • AA: Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
      • Ed.D. - Sports Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Business Administration
      • B.A. in Psychology
      • B.S. in Legal Studies
      • B.S. in Business Administration / Accounting
      • B.S. in Finance
      • B.S. in Management / Entrepreneurship
    Associate's
      • A.S. in Criminal Justice
      • A.S. in Legal Studies
      • A.S. in Management
      • A.S. in Accounting
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  • Online Programs Available
    5. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master of Public Health
      • Master - Accounting
      • Master of Health Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development
      • Associate of Science in Fire Science
      • AAS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Criminal Justice, M.S.
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
    Bachelor's
      • Communication Studies, B.A.
      • Criminal Justice, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S. - Emphasis in Biblical Studies
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice, A.S.
      • Psychology, A.S.
      • Communication Studies, A.A.
      • General Studies, A.A.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
      • M.A. in Reading with an Emphasis in Secondary Education
      • M.A. in Reading with an Emphasis in Elementary Education
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Seton Hall University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance
      • Master of Business Administration - Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
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      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
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      • MBA: Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management: Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
      • Associate: Health Information Management
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      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
      • Associate of Science - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
      • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting
      • Networking Systems Certificate

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • AS - Cloud Technologies
  • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Education
  • MS: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • AA: Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Post University

  • B.S. in Business Administration
  • B.A. in Psychology
  • A.S. in Criminal Justice
  • A.S. in Legal Studies

Education Level:

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AAS in Legal Support and Services
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

Colorado Christian University

  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Communication Studies, B.A.
  • Criminal Justice, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • BS in Psychology

What is your highest level of education?