Free Software to use with Teens

     I try to incorporate technology into most of the programs I do with teens.  As you all know technology can be expensive and software can be hard to find.  The programs I use are normally free and easy to use.  Although some of the programs listed below have advanced features that would require an advanced class and lots of time they all have features that are basic.  Don’t feel overwhelmed by using something new, finding new ways to do things will help in your library, especially if you work with kids and teens.


  -Cloud based presentation software


  -Make cool looking signs using words to describe
your program (best use is the Advanced feature that allows a user to give
weight to importance)

Google Documents/Forms

  -Work with multiple people on the same document/form

  -Create forms that can be used to gather
information from users (SRP forms)

  -Reliable form information without hassles

  -Similar setup to MS Office, easy to teach, easy
to use


  -Free marketing

  -Website alternative (if you create a page people
can view it without a login)


  -Free photo editor that must install on your
computer  (it is as powerful as Photoshop
Elements and then some)

  -Free program to make READ posters, works with
Photoshop files and other  layered/non-layered images

  -Online photo editor (not as powerful as GIMP but
another free alternative)

Aviary Tools

  -Multi-purpose online editor, creator and capture

  -Some of the features are cloud based and some
are browser add-ons


  -Free, open source, cross-platform software for
recording and editing sounds.


  -Free sound editor that must be downloaded and
installed; the trial version is free but has a few limitations. (This is for Windows only)


  -Video screen capture your computer (has a 5
minute limit for free use)

  -Upload to YouTube for easy access


  -Edit video online


  -Radio safe party mixes


  -Free official music videos, setup a playlist for
parties and display on a projector

        My favorite programs to use have been ones that work on both Windows and Macs as I am consistently moving between computers.  We currently have a Mac Mini that we are going to have the teens use this summer to work on videos (we’re about to start filmmaker club).  The built-in programs on the Mac such as GarageBand and iMovie have proven to be great for the teens due to the ease of use and teachibility.  I recommend using a Mac when possible due to personal preference but that is not always feasible or desired and that is why these programs are helpful for all of us.  I’m constantly looking for new programs or ideas so if you have any questions or input please let me know.