It is my belief that educational software applications on Linux are an important factor for growth on the Linux desktop. While there have always been educational games for Linux, both on the desktop and on the command line, there is always room for improvement.
I have put together the following collection of educational Linux software available specifically for children. There is a ton of it out there, the following only illustrates a few of the good applications I find useful to child education.
Blinken is the KDE version of the well-known game Simon Says. Follow the pattern of sounds and lights as long as you can! Press the start game button to begin. Watch the computer and copy the pattern it makes. Complete the sequence in the right order to win.
GCompris is an educational software suite comprising of numerous activities for children aged 2 to 10. Some of the activities are game orientated, but nonetheless still educational. Below you can find a list of categories with some of the activities available in that category.
The KDE Education Project
There is of course a whole suit of applications that KDE has been developing for some time now under the KDE Education Project. From the website, the “primary focus is on schoolchildren aged 3 to 18, and the specialized user interface needs of young users. However, we also have programs to aid teachers in planning lessons, and others that are of interest to university students and anyone else with a desire to learn!” The next two applications are two of my favorites from the KDE Education Project.
KMessedWords is a simple mind-training game, in which you have to “figure out” the word that has been given in the program. It is recommended for children over 10 years, as the game is solvable harder as it looks.
KWordQuiz is the KDE version of the flashcard and vocabulary learning program WordQuiz. KWordQuiz is published under the GPL.
KWordQuiz can read and write WordQuiz files. KWordQuiz also supports the KDE vocabulary document format .kvtml. KWordQuiz features Flashcard, Multiple Choice and Question & Answer functions. Question & Answer also has a special Fill-in-the-blank mode.
Multiplication Flash (mFlash) is just a way to save the mess, bother, and expense of paper flashcards.
SchoolsPlay is a collection of educational activities for schools and kids based off the Linux game Childsplay.
Tux of Math Command is an educational math tutor for children starring Tux, the Linux Penguin.
TuxMathScrabble is a math version of the classic word game “Scrabble” (Trademark of Hasbro,Inc) which challenges kids to construct compound equations and to consider multiple abstract possibilities. There are four skill levels for practice, from basic addition with small numbers, through multiplication and division with larger numbers. The game can be played by 0, 1 or 2 human players.
Tux Paint is a free drawing program for children ages 3 to 12 (for example, preschool and K-6 in the US, key stages 1 & 2 in the UK). It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program.
Tux Typing is an educational typing tutor for children. It features several different types of gameplay, at a variety of difficulty levels.
Typing Trainer is an application suite that is directed towards students, from the novice to those who have the basic knowledge of the kebyoard finger layout, and want to train and exercise their expertese in typing. The design of the latter program, also allows for an environment where students ability in typing, can be examined by the program. And the results stored in a central database and characters given.
TuxWordSmith is similar to the classic word game “Scrabble”, but with unicode support for multiple languages and character sets. The game is currently distributed with forty-two (42) dictionary resources for playing Language[i]-Language[j] “Scrabble”. For example, if configured to use the French-German dictionary, then the distribution of available tiles will be computed based on frequency of occurrence of each character of Language[i] (French), and for each submission the corresponding definition will be given in Language[j] (German)
If Linux game developers can continue to work on creating fun, entertaining, and informative games for children on the Linux desktop, then Linux will continue to strive and grow in the education world. Imagine how much money schools could save by converting to open source platforms and getting rid of their expensive software license fees that are “discounted” for schools.