Free Babysitter and Tutor rolled up into one
Linux is just one of the great things that everyone should know about. If you ever experienced one of your kids saying “Daddy, what should I do next, I’m bored”, then you’ll appreciate the great number of free and wonderful educational programs available on Linux. The apps shown here are KDE based but should work in most if not all Linux distros and desktop environments. My recommendation – You can install Edubuntu and get many of these apps, or if you’re just looking to add a kids ‘section’ install Kubuntu or your favorite KDE desktop (Debian, Mandriva are excellent choices, see our reviews in the Linux tools section). Then jump over to your package manager and select these games to install.
KDE Edutainment Tools
Simple to use hangman program for kids. Comes with a hint prompt to make it easier for the youngsters to get the correct answer.
Klatin has three parts – vocabulary, grammar and verb testing sections. The purpose is to revise latin through translation and grammar checking. Development has been stopped as of KDE 3.5, however we tested it to work on Gnome as well.
This nifty learning tool teaches you alphabet and phrases in English and these other languages as well – Czech, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Kannada, Hindi Romanized, Low Saxon, Luganda, Spanish, Slovak and Telugu.
This tool mixes up the letters of a word (creating an anagram), and you have to solve what was the word. It’s a lot of fun.
Learn Spanish and have fun at the same time. This tool has several different options, and with over 9,000 verbs in the language database, your kids will surely be kept busy.
Kvoctrain (KDE 3.5) KWordQuiz (KDE 4)
These tools are pretty straightforward flash card games that teach your kids spelling, verb conjugation, and vocabulary in English, French, or German. This game is also a great learning tool for businessmen and travellers who need to brush up on popular phrases before and during a vacation/business trip.
Practice your math! Practice calculations, fractions, algebraic formulas, conversion, and more. This little program kept my 8th grader busy for hours.
Kpercentage is a nice simple tool for kids to practice their skills in calculating percentages.
This program is for more advanced math students, high school (even college!) and for math teachers. You can practice geometry, sine curves, and other things that we’ve all forgotten after passing the last test for that subject.
For the advanced students, this math plotter has a built-in parser too with a function library too! Plots can be printed in scale with a great degree of precision. There are some very smart people out there…
This new geography learning tool is a great way to brush up on country capitals, political borders, flags, etc…
Kturtle is a teaching & learning environment with several modules. Your older kids can learn how to program, math, language skills, and more, all in a fun educational interface. The programming language skills are a great way to start your kids off on a career of programming. The application was ported to KDE4, but some have commented that it works better in KDE 3.5. We had no problem running it in Ubuntu/Gnome.
Let’s have some real fun! Simon-Says… This memory learning tool is great for the younger and older kids.
This educational tool enables teachers and parents to create tests and questionnaires with a whole assortment of helper modules. This project was abandoned when KDE moved to 4.x, but it still works on my KDE 3.5 and on Gnome. Get it while it’s hot. Hey, maybe you want to continue development for this tool?
Learn touch typing the fun way. I wish we had (free) programs like this when I was learning how to type. By the way, I hit 70 words on my practice test. I think programmers generally type faster. Well anyways, this program will help you get ahead.
Kstars is easily my favorite application from those listed on this page. Explore the universe. This app is best viewed in a dark room with the lights out, and a Pink Floyd tune (preferably Shine on you crazy diamond) playing in the background. This app is billed as a KDE planeterium, and it certainly lives up to its calling. If you look closely, you can see up 100’s of millions of stars, planets, asteroids, etc… There are also tools for amateur astronomers such as a sky calendar, observation plans, etc… Not to be missed!
Periodic table of elements, right on your desktop. Very cool as a learning tool and as a reference. How many times a day do you need to know the mass of barium and just get to the numbers fast enough!? I also wish I had this tool while studying science in high school.
More in depth notes, screenshots, and reviews for all of these tools can be found at http://edu.kde.org
Next – we’ll review about 35 free arcade, card, and board games for your KDE desktop.