If you haven't heard of the Open Education Disc or Open Disc read on. There is an overwhelming volume of open and free software applications available for anyone to explore out there but what educator has the time or experience to harvest that effectively. The people behind the Open Disc have done a great service to all educators. Basically, they have surveyed what open software applications are out there and selected the best that could be used to meet the needs of students and teachers and assembled them on one Disc, which is now a DVD. And the list of free applications is great. You can see the list at http://www.theopendisc.com/education/
The disc also comes with a menu that helps to guide you through the 50 odd free applications that you can install on your computer today, legally.
A great scenario that always comes to my mind is that brand new college student, armed with a brand new laptop that has practically no software installed, but the student has no budget for being computer applications like MS Office even. This Open Ed Disc is exactly what they need. It will give them all of the software they will ever need to complete their studies and these are tools they can use on the job after they graduate. It is free, legal and they can pass the disc to a friend.
To get the disc, you need to download the ISO file to your computer. This is a large file and will take awhile. This file is an image of the 1.3 GB DVD, compressed all in one file. Then you need a DVD burner and software that knows how to burn an ISO file to a blank DVD. This is not as hard as it may sound. If you have a DVD Burner but the software doesn't seem to know what an ISO file is go to http://infrarecorder.org/?page_id=5 and download the InfraRecorder program and use that.
The only downside to this is that this disc is for Windows and not Macintosh computers. I found Macintosh versions of most of the same programs on the disc at http://www.opensourcemac.org/.