Portable Apps can be installed without admin access. They can be installed to any computer, USB, or network drive without having to gain administrative approval first.
If you find yourself using a computer that has restricted access to installing programs, yet you need a tool for a specific purpose, there’s no need to give up and move on. All you need to do is find the Portable App that’s right for you.
The Top 10 Portable Apps for Teachers
Whether you’re trying to edit a picture, create a new drawing, or simply play a video file for your students, there are Portable Apps that will help you out. You can view my list below, or add your own suggestions in the comments.
VLC Media Player Portable
VLC Media Player Portable is a robust media player. It can play just about every type of audio and video file you’re likely to come across. It has the ability to speed up the video (1.1x can shave enough time off of a movie to fit it into one period, without distorting the film enough for students to notice). It also offers an audio boost mode which can be a lifesaver when students didn’t record their presentations loud enough, or the speakers you were given for your classroom just don’t cut it.
If you’re looking to do some quick, on the fly vectoring – and let’s be honest, who isn’t? – then you’ll need Inkscape. Few school computers come with Adobe Illustrator installed, and while there are a number of free pieces of software out there, few of them can be installed without approval. Inkscape Portable will have you creating that much-needed image in no time.
There are times when the internet fails, yet a strong thesaurus is still an important tool. There may also be times when you want to limit a student’s access to the internet while still allowing them a few useful tools. Artha is an offline thesaurus that will do the trick.
If you’ve ever had a directory full of files that could use the last few characters trimmed off, or a prefix added to every file, and you don’t feel like pressing [F2], [HOME], [CTRL+P] over and over again, Renamer Portable is the tool for you. It’s a powerful renaming tool that allows for a large number of custom rules. Proper file names are the cornerstone of any well-organized computer, but who has the time? Now, through the power of automation, you do.
If you’re about to teach mythology there are few better introductions than the night sky. Stellarium offers a feature-rich platform that shows the positions of the stars in the night sky. You can switch between “daylight” and “night” mode, while also rewinding time to view what things looked like in years gone by, or by fast forwarding to see what next month’s sky will look like. With the click of a button you can add constellation lines, or pictures as well.
If you’re looking for a quick way to turn pictures into artistic recreations this is the app for you. There are a number of reasons you might want to try not – not least of all is for the simple joy of it. But, if you’re creating abstract images which require students to infer this is a great place to start. Maybe you just want to use some pre-existing, or royalty free images and change them up a little for your presentations or displays. This is a great quick way to do it, without any prior experience required.
There will always be times when that file you’ve downloaded can’t be opened by the default compression tool. 7-Zip will help you extract just about any file you need to. No longer will those precious resources be blocked behind an extension that can’t be read.
If you’re looking to make some frame by frame animations, this is a great place to start. With layer support and a simple interface students of all ages will be able to get started in the field of animation. It’s only one small step from there to making frame-by-frame claymations. This program will give all users a strong foundation in the fundamentals of animation.
With all the power of Photoshop, but the pricetag of free, GiMP is the perfect photo editing, collage making, touch up perfecting, software for all your needs. Even access to programs such as Photoshop Elements can leave some essential features left out, but with GiMP there are few limitations, save for your own creativity. It’s also a great program to use in class, because students can take it home with them, and use it for decades after their education licenses to other products has expired.
Portable Apps Platform
Portable Apps Platform offers a host of features, all of which can be seen through the link above. I’ve targetted the link to one specific feature – fonts. Portable Apps Platform is the most painless way to add custom fonts to a computer without administrative access. Your handouts, image files, and custom creations will be looking personalized and unique in no time. Plus, you’ll be the envy of your entire department when they can’t figure out how you were able to install that fabulous Star Trek Font for your stellar cartography handouts.
One More Thing…
While the applications listed above are great for educational purposes, lets not kid ourselves, there are those moments when we all want to destress a little, and don’t worry – Portable Apps has you covered there. Just take a look and the huge directory of Games they offer!
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Don’t forget to add your favourite Portable Apps in the comments below.