Software can be an expensive burden for schools to carry year after year. This expense can result in a decreased use of technology because schools can’t purchase the tools that make the technology worthwhile. Lack of budget doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. There are thousands of free technology resources and online tools that will keep your students learning even without a large software budget. Below are a few of my favorite free online productivity tools that offer excellent alternatives to their expensive software counterparts.
It is exciting to be bringing you many fantastic guest bloggers for this series. Today’s guest post is from Kelly Tenkely, the host of http://ilearntechnology.com. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. Here she will introduce 34 – yes, 34 – great tools that are available FREE on the internet. And they can all be used in your teaching. Don’t get too overwhelmed. Try a couple and let us know what you think! ~EMP
General Productivity Tools:
1. Dropbox- https://dropbox.com Dropbox is a special folder that syncs across multiple computers and mobile devices. Dropbox lets you instantly share files between computers and offers storage that students can access from school or home.
2. Evernote- https://evernote.com Evernote captures notes and ideas and makes the available over multiple platforms including any computer and nearly every mobile device. Searching ideas and notes is easy, students can search by title, tag, or hand written text.
3. KeepVid- https://keepvid.com KeepVid lets you download videos directly from YouTube, Google, Metacafe, Putfile and more. It is as simple as copy and paste. Download educational videos for your students to watch offline.
4. TubeChop- https://50wheel.com/tubechopTubeChop lets you select a portion from a YouTube video to share.
5. JPG to PDF – https://jpg2pdf.com/ JPG to PDF lets you convert an image to a pdf. There are other conversion options on this site as well.
6. Prezi- https://prezi.com create beautiful non-linear presentations with relations, detail zoom, and time adjustment. This is a striking alternative to PowerPoint.
7. Google Slides- https://docs.google.com Google’s slide software is a great online presentation tool.
8. Canva https://canva.com Along with being able to create many other sizes and types of graphics, you can create slide presentations with ease on Canva.
9. Zoho Show- https://show.zoho.com Comprehensive presentation creation online.
10. Ahead- https://ahead.com a web application that lets you layout, share, and present rich media content.
11. Slide Rocket- http://sliderocket.com a web based presentation tool that can be integrated with Google Apps.
12. PreZentit- https://prezentit.com a linear presentation program where you can create and share presentations.
13. Slideshare- http://slideshare.net an online tool that lets you share slides created offline.
14. Animoto- https://animoto.com create online presentations with images, video clips, music, and text.
15. VoiceThread- https://voicethread.com create online collaborative presentations with video, audio, images, and embedded messages from the creator and viewers.
16. Clip Generator- https://clipgenerator.com create music videos from images and text online.
Microsoft Word Alternatives:
17. Google Docs- https://docs.google.com this online word processor allows students to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real time with other students or teachers.
18. Zoho Writer- https://www.zoho.com/writer/ an online word processor that lets students create and edit documents directly in their web browser and share them in the cloud so that they can be shared with anyone. Zoho can allow multiple users to work on a document simultaneously.
19. *Primary Pad- http://primarypad.com a free web-based word processor designed specifically for primary students that allow students and teachers to work together in real-time.
20. Sync.in- http://sync.in an online word processor that allows students and teachers to collaborate in real-time. Multiple students can edit the same document simultaneously and the changes are reflected in real time.
21. Collabedit- http://collabedit.com a real time text editor that has an integrated chat function.
Inspiration (mind mapping) alternatives:
22. Whimsical- https://whimsical.com/ online mind mapping.
23. MindMeister- https://mindmeister.com web based mind mapping with real time collaboration for brainstorming.
24. Cacoo- https://cacoo.com an online drawing tool that lets you create diagrams and mind maps with a team.
Adobe Creative Suite alternatives:
25. *Aviary- http://aviary.com a suite of online creativity tools. Photo-editing, logos, web templates, filters, color palettes, screen capture, music creator. This is a great alternative to Adobe’s expensive Photoshop and Illustrator.
26. *Picnik- http://picknik.com Easy to use online photo editing tools. Includes effects, fonts, shapes, and frames.
27. SUMO Paint- https://sumo.app an online application that offers an alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop.
28. Canva – https://www.canva.com/ edit images and create amazing graphics in many sizes for social media, school or for fun.
29. Be Funky –https://www.befunky.com allows you to edit photos and create collages with ease.
Audio Editing and Sound Creation
30. Audacity- https://www.audacityteam.org/ is an amazing audio editing software where you can create multiple tracks and add special effects.
31: Soundtrap – https://www.soundtrap.com/ allows you to create music and layer tracks with various rhythms and instrumentation including recorded voice.
Video Editing Alternatives
32. We Video – https://www.wevideo.com/ a free online video editor including webcam and voice-over, slow motion effects, green screen, drawing and annotation tool, and customize and colorize clips.
33. Magisto – https://www.magisto.com/ mix photos and videos with special effects to create a video montage.
34. Motionbox- Motionbox is a video design platform with features such as music visualization, GIF resizer, video trimmer, and video calendar.
Online software alternatives are fabulous not only for their price tag (usually free) but also for their portability and ease of use. Students no longer have to worry about remembering a CD or flash drive to transport their work from school to home. With the online alternatives, all they need to remember is a password. Their school work is accessible from any Internet connected computer.
Free online alternatives to expensive software solutions are popping up every day. If you have a specific piece of software that you would like to replace with a free online alternative, search http://alternativeto.net for your options. I also keep up with free online classroom resources on my blog, http://ilearntechnology.com. Here you will find daily inspiration and ideas for your classroom. The sites I review are always easy to implement, have the ability to increase or enhance learning, and best of all-free! Looking for something specific? Use my search bar at the top of my site or multi-category search in the sidebar, you are sure to find something to use with your students!
*We are looking for good alternatives for these resources that are no longer in service.
All links and resources updated 09/2021. Please note that since the first publication of this post, some platforms have gone to paid options. Many still have free trials and free options.