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I've use EJS (Easy Java Simulations) before to make quick visualizations. It's a bit more science/physics based but might be pretty neat. Like showing a rocket go the moon (and physically accurate!) http://fem.um.es/Ejs/
Another tool is vPython. It's nice because it is in python and can be neat - again, I mostly used it for physics stuff, like simulating planetary orbits, but being python, you can show these things in just a handful lines of code. It'd be a great way to crossfunctionally do science and computing. http://vpython.org/
With regard to the free update, it just makes sense. It'll allow earlier adoption, improving the new OSs market share from ther very beginning so they aren't banking on PC sales and the early adopters who want the latest thing and then reduce issues when the phase an OS out.