It may be early for Christmas presents, but if you’re looking for a less expensive replacement for Photoshop, how does free sound? Versions 4.03 of Paint.net is a powerful Windows image editor that can work with layers, has a good variety of plug-ins available and – best of all – unlimited undo history. On the downside, you’ll need to load Microsoft’s .Net Framework for Paint.net to work. There are helpful tutorials and how-to videos available online that can be the basis for several classroom lessons. The software is absolutely free, but feel free to donate to the effort.
The first tangible results of President Obama’s ConenctEd program are starting to be seen with Apple announcing the first 114 schools that will share its $100 million in donated iPads, Macs and Apple TV devices as well as Aerohive 802.11ac wireless access points, switches and networking gear. It’s meant to enhance their educational technologies and is part of a $750 million White House private-public partnership to boost the technological and communications prowess of deserving schools. The gear should be put to good use because most of the schools that Apple has chosen are financially challenged and located in underserved urban areas.
Need historical photos of the Depression for a lesson or just looking for a certain shot of piles of money for a school fundraising flyer? Flickr has millions of copyright-free images, including at least one to suit your needs. Just set the License terms to Creative Commons on the main page and search to your heart’s content. Many of the images have historical explanations, links to similar ones as well as information about who shot it and often what camera was used. In addition to shots of the first moon landing and Prohibition era-cartoons, there are images of every president, early computers and a whole lot more. In many cases the only restriction is that you give credit to the originator.
What’s better than paying a reduced amount to use Microsoft’s Office software at school? How about free? I thought I’d get your attention. Formerly known as Student Advantage, Office 365 ProPlus is a school freebee that can put the full suite of heavy-duty apps onto students’ computers. It’s open to all students who are 13-years or older and go to a school that has a site license for Office. The plan provides the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher for up to five systems (PCs and or Macs) as well as for five tablets per student. The set up includes an hour every month of Skype Premium usage and a terabyte of online storage with Microsoft’s OneDrive.
The next TED Youth event will be at New York’s Brooklyn Museum and will be free for 400 middle- and High School students to attend. To be held at the historic Brooklyn Museum, the theme this year is “Worlds Imagined.” It is sure to have thought-provoking presentations and discussions and will take place on Saturday, November 15th from 11am to 6pm. If you can’t get there, video of the event will be available.
Got a lot of iPads at your school? You need to stay ahead of the software curve by downloading and trying out the iOS 8 Beta to make sure that it works with all your software – old and new. It’s a free download from Apple site that includes more ways to share items, add custom buttons and add links to online storage systems. You’ll need to register to get the software, which includes a guide on how to use app extensions.
What’s in that Big Mac and coke? It’s true that we don’t always eat what we’re supposed to, but it’s often because we don’t understand the ingredients. That’s exactly what TellSpec’s Tellspecopedia does. The Web site has an incredibly deep database on today’s 1,300 most common food ingredients, from Abamectin to Zearalenone. Each has not only the chemical formula for the item, but detailed information on where it comes from and its potential dangers, perfect for everything from a chemistry class to a nutrition lesson examining labels.
While most of the items on Educent’s Web site are have price tags, they are discounted teaching resources and there are several freebees for the classroom. Discounts range from a few dollars off a set of workbooks to manipulative items for less than half price. The recent scanning of the site found items like Blue Manor books and a typing course for free. Better head there quickly because each product has a time limit.
The school is starting and it’s time for teachers to get the supplies they need, regardless of whether there’s a budget for it. Most teachers go out of pocket for items from pencils and paper to tape and rulers, but Office Depot and OfficeMax will give a lucky teacher a $500 school spending spree while six others get $100 in company gift cards. The contest runs through the end of September.
With schools spending too much on administration software, Alma comes to the rescue. The free student information system can not only track student grades and attendance, but align the school’s curriculum to state and Common Core standards. It integrates a student dossier, scheduling and lets a school import digital records. There are paid options that include migrating paper records and setting up emergency notifications.