The Penn Manor IT Team strongly values the open-source community. We actively seek high-quality, low-cost software solutions for our classrooms and continually evaluate open-source software alternatives to closed-source commercial software. Open-source represents more than zero cost; open-source principles promote technological freedom of choice and a community spirit. Increasingly, the district turns to open source alternatives to costly propriety applications. Examples include using Moodle as an alternative to Blackboard and LibreOffice as a replacement for the Microsoft Office suite. Open source software such as Apache, Nagios, ownCloud and Puppet is a key component of district enterprise infrastructure.
Penn Manor’s libraries benefited from a major open source upgrade to their online catalogs and circulation software. In 2010, all district libraries began using a new library management system titled Koha. Following the open source model, Koha is a free, community-driven library management system developed by worldwide teams of programmers and librarians. More information on Koha is available here.
In the summer of 2011, Penn Manor deployed what is potentially Pennsylvania’s largest elementary school Linux laptop fleet. Our student laptops are powered by Ubuntu (pronounced oo-bun-too) Linux on Lenovo ultra portable laptops. During the summer or 2012, we expanded our total Linux fleet to over 1600 laptops. Read more about our Ubuntu Linux project here.
Open source software is central to our planned 1:1 student laptop initiative at Penn Manor High School. Starting January of 2014, 1700 full time students will be issued a laptop running open source software exclusively.
Along our journey, we are compiling a list of great open source software for education.