Sometimes, just knowing where to go for a resource or piece of software is the hardest step to integrating technology. AlternativeTo collects resources and recommendations for free and open source alternatives to mainstream (and often costly) software/online tools.
Similar to Open Source Alternative, AlternativeTo has a plethora of options, and runs the gamut from free online backup systems for computer files to tools to make file downloads easier and safer. I like that the site allows you to sort programs according to operating system and user rankings. In addition, there are notes about questionable software — I’d avoid these programs, and it’s probably a good idea to do a bit of research on any of the tools you might download and use anyway.
The search engine on the site culls through its archives to pull up alternatives to what you are looking for. For example, I looked for “Word” in the Microsoft Windows platform and received a long list of word processing-related software. Since this site is a social network, there are many brains at work here, sharing and commenting and giving feedback.
In the classroom
I don’t necessarily see a use for students at the site, but for teachers and school administrators who are under budget constraints, AlternativeTo might be a step into the Open Source world.