Microsoft is making a whole raft of its developers' software tools freely available to school students to use for their learning. They include popular programs like Expression Studio, Visual Studio Professional, XNA Game Studio and Robotics Developer Studio.
You can find out more about the full range of the programs available through the new DreamSpark initiative at the excellent Microsoft education blog run by UK education marketing manager Ray Fleming. "This is one of those 'Are you sure? Really sure?' blog posts," he writes, "Where somebody tells you something, and you ask 'Are you sure? Really sure?'”
Well he checked it out and he really is sure. And he even provides a link to the Bill Gates speech announcing the project. He adds: "Basically, somebody in the school registers, and they receive product keys to distribute to students. But students just download the software they want directly from the website – you don’t need to get involved in distribution.
"There's also free training, books and certification for students which Ray Fleming explains on his blog. "The free exam offer is especially good if you’ve got any IT students leaving this summer," he writes. "They can get a head start on students from other schools! The free software is good for every one of your IT students, whatever year they’re in."