Level Up Learning: Unleashing the Power of Open-Source Tools in Schools


Open-source classroom tools are becoming more popular among educators because they offer affordable and customizable solutions. These tools improve the learning experience, promote collaboration, and increase student engagement. In this article, we will explore five open-source classroom tools that significantly impact classrooms worldwide.

MoodleBox: Based on the popular open-source learning management system Moodle, MoodleBox is a compact and affordable standalone mobile device designed to operate independently of the Internet. It integrates a wireless access point with a comprehensive Moodle server. You can connect your Moodlbox to the internet, or it can operate as a standalone server within your classroom. Turning on the MoodleBox creates a local wireless area network, allowing learners to connect seamlessly using their devices. This enables them to access documents, engage, and undertake full-fledged training courses without leaving the safety of your classroom. MoodleBox is built around a Raspberry Pi computer, and the source code is distributed under the AGPL v3 license.

OpenBoard: OpenBoard is an open and cost-free interactive whiteboard software that seamlessly harmonizes with all projectors and pointing devices. It is designed for PK-12 and universities and can be installed on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It is easy to download, and the community maintains excellent documentation. OpenBoard is released under the GPLv3 License and maintained by the community on GitHub.

Stellarium: While your classroom projector is connected to your computer, you can download and install Stellarium to create an open-source planetarium in your classroom or learning lab. Stellarium presents a no-cost, open-source planetarium that caters to your computer. It unveils a lifelike 3D rendition of the sky, similar to the unaided eye’s view or observations made through binoculars and telescopes. Stellarium can be installed on Windows, MacOS, and Linux and has a GPL v2 license, and its code is readily available on GitHub.

You can easily install Stellarium on Linux from the command line

$ sudo dnf install stellarium


$ sudo apt install stellarium

LibreOffice: LibreOffice is an open-source office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, and more. It provides a free alternative to proprietary software like Microsoft Office, making it accessible to students and educators worldwide. LibreOffice’s compatibility with popular file formats ensures seamless collaboration and easy sharing of documents among students and teachers. LibreOffice is free software that is licensed under the Mozilla Public License version 2, and its source code is readily available. LibreOffice comes installed by default on many Linux distributions. It can be easily installed from the command line.

$ sudo dnf install libreoffice


$ sudo apt install libreoffice 

GIMP: GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is free software and is openly licensed. It is designed for a range of functions, including photo enhancement, free-form drawing, and transcoding between different file formats. It is not designed to be used for drawing. GIMP can be installed on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. GIMP has extensive documentation and tutorials that will help you learn and navigate this powerful software. GIMP is distributed under terms of General Public License v3.

You can easily install Gimp from the command line depending on your Linux distribution.

$ sudo dnf install gimp


$ sudo apt install gimp

Gimp can also be installed as a FlatPak.

These five open-source classroom tools are just a glimpse of the vast ecosystem of open-source software available for education. By leveraging these tools, educators can create engaging and interactive learning experiences while also promoting digital literacy among students. Open-source software not only empowers educators with cost-effective solutions but also fosters a culture of collaboration and innovation in the classroom.