Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Microsoft has offered its development and design tools to students for free and in a move announced yesterday the company will open these tools to as many as many as 1 billion high school and college students.
The Microsoft tools, in the DreamSpark program, is available to 35 million college students in the U.S., China, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.
The tools are ones that young people can build a career around or they can just build fun software for themselves. The basics of good software architecture and the data structures have been consistent for the last 30 years and therefore the skills of design and recognizing good code, is a valuable skill to have for the 21st Century.
DreamSpark is available to students of technology, design, math science and engineering, and students can access Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition, Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, and XNA Game Studio 2.0. As a part of the package students are also eligible for a free 12-month academic membership to the XNA Creators Club.
The program will also include Microsoft's Expression Studio design tools, including Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design and Expression Media. Students also can access SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition and Windows Server Standard Edition for free.
The timetable for roll-out of the program is six months when Microsoft plans to expand DreamSpark to college students in Australia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, and more countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe. The program will be extended to high school students by the third quarter of 2008.
Microsoft works with academic institutions, governments, and student organizations, such as the International Student Identity Card Association, to ensure the necessary local student identity-verification technology infrastructure exists to provide access to DreamSpark.