If you are a student who uses Linux or who is thinking of switching to Linux, you may not be aware of the educational tools at your disposal. In this article I will introduce you to a few programs available for Linux that will improve your studying and learning experience.
Anki is an open-source spaced repetition flashcards app designed to help you remember things easily. It is extremely useful when studying for tests or exams and can be customised to fit any type of studying given its support for images, audio, videos, scientific markup and much more.
Anki is available on all the major desktop and mobile operating systems, including Linux, and you can download plenty of pre-made shared decks in a variety of subjects and disciplines to use in your studying.
KAlgebra is a math graph calculator with symbol and analysis features and is included as part of the KDE Education suite. The app allows you to calculate a wide range of functions including numerical, logical, trigonometric, and analytical functions or derivatives and plot the results onto a 2D or 3D graph. It also comes with a helpful dictionary which contains representations for all built-in functions as well as examples and sample plots.
Chemistry students should try Kalzium, another part of the KDE Education suite which brings several useful study aids to your Linux desktop. Its facilities include a Periodic Table of Elements that comes with an overview of important data about the elements like melting points, electron affinity, electronegativity, electron configuration, mass, ionisation energy and more. Other features are an Isotope table, 3D molecule viewer, chemical equation solver for mass, concentration, stoichiometric problems and titration.
If you want a simpler periodic table application with only basic functionality, you should give Gelemental a try.
4. GNU PSPP
GNU PSPP is a free open-source program that provides an alternative to the proprietary IBM SPSS program which is used for data management and statistical analysis. PSPP, in many ways, works like SPSS, but there are a few differences. It can be used via the terminal or through a traditional graphical interface to perform many operations such as descriptive statistics, linear and logistic regression, measures of association, cluster analysis, factor analysis and more. In addition, it gives the user a choice to export data into text, postscript, pdf, opendocument or html formats.
If you study mathematics, no matter your level, you will definitely find GeoGebra a very useful program to have. It is a great tool for anyone looking to learn or demonstrate mathematical concepts in an interactive way. It can be used to solve problems in geometry, algebra, graphing, statistics or calculus and can be used to create points, vectors, lines, segments, and conic sections using numerous pre-configured utilities. GeoGebra also offers a free online repository known as GeoGebra Materials where you can download from more than 1 million learning and teaching resources which should aid your studying.
In addition to its Linux client, GeoGebra also provides a web version you can use in your browser without installing anything. It is also available for Android, iOS, Windows and macOS.
SciLab provides an alternative to MATLAB for professional engineering and scientific work. It includes hundreds of mathematical functions and can be used for various tasks including Control System Design & Analysis, signal processing, statistical analysis, image enhancement, symbolic manipulations and more. Scilab is different from MATLAB in many ways, but it does come with a source code translator for converting code from MATLAB to Scilab which should make the transition a lot easier.
Another MATLAB alternative you can try is GNU Octave which places more emphasis on being compatible with MATLAB syntax.
Mendeley is a useful tool for for organising and sharing research papers as well as collaborating with others through its research network. It saves you time when managing research materials and also allows you to create bibliographies in conjunction with tools like OpenOffice or LibreOffice. It also features an online social network for researchers where you can collaborate publicly or privately with colleagues. What’s more, it allows you to import documents from a variety of sources and automatically syncs all your files across all your devices.
Bonus – LibreOffice Suite
Most students, at one point or the other, will require the use of an office suite, and LibreOffice is the most prominent one in the Linux world at the moment. It includes applications for math, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and drawings, and it is completely free to use (forever). There is no need to spend money on proprietary office software. Other office alternatives you can try are OnlyOffice and WPS Office which are free for Linux as well.
As you can see, using Linux does not mean you will be starved of useful educational software. No matter your discipline, you will find several tools to help you get ahead in your studies. If you know other useful education programs not listed here, tell us about them in the comments below.