Penn Manor students and families seeking high-quality software may wish to first explore several free, open-source alternatives to expensive commercial offerings:
Even with educational discounts, Microsoft Office is a costly program to license, upgrade and maintain. Over the past few years, independent open-source software developers have created free alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The best is LibreOffice, an excellent, no-cost replacements for Microsoft Office. LibreOffice, available for Mac, Linux and Windows, is worth a try for individuals, schools and businesses craving an escape from Microsoft’s pricey version-upgrade treadmill. The program includes high-quality word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing and equation editing tools.
Photo Editing Tools
One doesn’t need to spend big bucks for photo manipulation software. Check out these three free alternatives:
GIMP is a rich photo editing and manipulation program and can serve as full replacement for Adobe Photoshop.
Seashore (Mac only) is a free image editing tool focusing on the most common image editing needs.
Picasa is Google’s free photo editing software for Mac and Windows.
Commercial Software Discounts
Still need a commercial software tool? PA K-12 students and school staff can take advantage of discounts on Microsoft and Adobe software for home use. Through a partnership with Journey Education, selected software programs including Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows, Windows and Adobe’s Creative Suite are available at deeply discounted prices.
Here’s the list of resources we’ve discussed in various in-service sessions and trainings:
bubbl.us - Awesome concept mapping tool
calcoolate.com - Nifty little calculator
Copyright and Fair Use - Great resource from University of Maryland University College (UMUC)
Desmos - Free, beautiful graphing calculator
Digital Citizenship – A multitude of great resources from Northern Gateway Schools in Alberta Canada.
Easy Graph Creator - Great graph creator from NCES
encalc.com - Great scientific calculator
FlashEarth - Aerial imagery of Earth
Image Resizer - Fast, free tool to resize & crop images
is.gd - Shorten URLs
MediaConverter.org - Grab YouTube videos and save them as Quicktime movie files
Road to Reading - Interactive phonics activities for primary students
Socrative - Free student response system
Wikispaces - Free wikis for K12
Zamzar.com - Handy file converter
Free and Open Source Curriculum Resources
CK12 Flexbooks - Free and open textbooks for high schools.
Flat World Knowledge: http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/
Kahn Academy: http://www.khanacademy.org/
McGraw-Hill text: http://connected.mcgraw-hill.com/connected/login.do (PW required)
MIT Open Courseware: http://ocw.mit.edu/
National Repository for Online Courses: http://www.montereyinstitute.org/nroc/nrocdemos.html
Open Culture Course Listing: http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses
Open Yale: http://oyc.yale.edu/
OER Commons: http://www.oercommons.org/