Open Source Stories Penn Manor: The power of open in education

Tonight we saw how open source extends into the world beyond software. Charlie Reisinger, IT director for the Penn Manor school district–with the help of a collaborative team of teachers, administrators, and students–helped bring an open educational model and a 1:1 laptop program to Penn Manor High School.

Penn Manor: The Power of Open in Education is a short documentary produced by Red Hat Films that premiered on the opening night of Red Hat Summit 2015. If you missed the general session, you can watch it here or view it on Red Hat’s You Tube channel.

The Creative Strategy + Design team at Red Hat came across the story of Penn Manor after viewing the Tedx Lancaster talk given by Charlie about the power of trusting kids in education. We were drawn to the story after our first conversation with Charlie when he said that he brought open source to the school district because they wanted their students to become “engineers, inventors and architects and not technology tourists.” Immediately we thought of future Red Hatters, developers, and open source community members. We wanted to meet them, talk to them, and tell their story.

Ben Thomas is a student for whom the 1:1 program and the open source philosophy changed the trajectory of his life. Ben was diagnosed with a learning disability when he was young, and placed on an IEP (individual education plan). During his junior year, Ben had opportunity to showcase his talents and pursue his passions through open educational philosophies and access to unencumbered technology. Ben is now a thriving, successful college student.

We are honored to have spent time with the dedicated teachers, staff, and students of Penn Manor and are grateful for their trust and collaboration. Their efforts are inspiring and we are excited to watch as they lead education away from traditional models toward a future full of open possibilities.

We’d love to tell you more about Open Source Stories, produced by Red Hat Films. Register to get behind-the-scenes information and sneak peaks of upcoming films at Follow our hashtag #opensourcestories on twitter.

Lastly, we are always excited to hear your stories. If you have a story you would like to share, email us at We can’t promise to make a film out of each and every one, but stories build strong communities and we’d love to hear yours.