I’ve said it before, but one of the great things about my job is seeing the many ways in which people combine their imagination and expertise to create some pretty amazing stuff - inside and outside of Microsoft. We saw some great examples coming out of MIX this week, and I had a close-up look at some other prime examples during Imagine Cup the last few weeks.
Attaining that level of expertise doesn’t happen overnight, so a couple years ago we started the DreamSpark program. DreamSpark gives high school and college students free access to professional–level developer and design tools – such as Visual Studio 2010, Expression Studio and the Robotics Development Studio. Altogether, there are about 16 different Microsoft products available and they're all the full function versions - not stripped down or trial versions.
As well as the software, DreamSpark offers free ebooks and up to 22 hours of free e-learning courses, so students don’t have to rely on osmosis or instinct when they start using the products. Ultimately, the idea is that students get hands-on experience in math, science, engineering, technology and technical design. Along the way, we hope they’ll discover their true potential and hopefully pursue a career in one of these areas - if they haven’t decided to do so already.
Imagine Cup reminded me what's possible when you combine creative minds with the capaility of technology and ideas that can change the world happen. So whether you’re a student, teacher, professor, high school principal, college administrator – even the parent of a high school-aged student, I'd encourage you to take a look at DreamSpark.
I think it's so wonderful that you haank ve the DreakSpark program for high school students. Is there something available for elementary school students as well? If not, is there perhaps a forum which your DreamSpark participants might be willing to offer encouragement and suggestions to elementary school students?
Thank you for being such a wonderful company and giving back to so many communities.
Thanks so much for your nice comment. We have a number of offerings that extend to younger students including http://msdnaa.net which is an offering for schools/teachers and Kodu fuse.microsoft.com/.../kodu.aspx which helps younger students to program (a personal favorite :)). Feel free to further explain what specific product or type of project you might be looking for and I can provide more guidance.
My team runs our academic outreach in the US and you can reach me directly at blogs.msdn.com/TechStudent or joining our Facebook community to hear find other great connection points for students facebook.com/MicrosoftTechStudent.