Friday, August 21, 2009

Student Discounts & Giveaway of the Day

This morning an interesting article came to my inbox from Amit Agarwal's Digital Inspiration. This is one of the few subscriptions that I haven't yet transferred to my RSS feed -- which is probably a good thing because I haven't been reading that lately. Amit's list of "Most Useful Websites" was the first collection I came across with inspiring tools I could use with my students.

Today Amit's post included a blurb entitled : A Student's Guide to Microsoft DreamSpark -- a software giveaway program announced by Bill Gates earlier in 2009.

Wikipedia tells me that "DreamSpark is a program set up by Microsoft to provide students with software design and development tools" including Visual Studio, Expression Studio as well as studios for Robotics and Game development and assorted servers. Apparently Dreamspark has been available to college students for some time, but the offer was expanded by Gates to include verified high school students and is nearly world wide. Microsoft is also giving away Student Passes for 12 -22 hours of free Microsoft IT Academy online training that leads to the first Microsoft certification exam within each track. High school and university adminstrators can sign up directly.

Note: Amit states that the Dreamspark software is full edition, and that "any sofware you download ... will be free for personal and non-commercial use forever." This means: "Microsoft licenses the software to you for educational use [for you as a student so] ... you can use the software without restriction for school assignments or personal projects. If you write or design something that you wish to sell, however, you need to purchase a standard licensed copy of the Microsoft software before you sell your product."

This made me curious about other deals that might be available to me as a student so I began a search. I suggest that you check out the specific package or product that you want at a number of sites and find out the exchange rate on your credit card if you're shopping from Canada like me.
  • JourneyEd offers software, hardware, books and bags to post secondary students at considerable discounts. For example, Adobe Creative Suite Premium, normally priced at nearly $2000, can be purchased by college students for about $400 (469 Cdn). There's also a price for K-12 students and teachers of about $600. I checked out their Wacom link and also found several discounted tablets. Having a tablet is really useful if you want to develop instructional presentations in math and are less than adept at drawing shapes with a mouse. Products for Canadians can be seen at this link. The first page shows their highlighted items, but if you delve through the lists on the left, you may find exactly what you're looking for. There are products for both PCs and Macs. (Campus Tech seems like a college clone of JourneyEd.)
  • The Adobe Website has North American shopping sites for higher education and K-12 students & teachers. Purchases can be made online or qualify for free shipping before the end of September. There is also a very nice bundle of Premier Elements 7 and Photoshop 7 for $119 US (not online). To qualify you have to go through a validation process. For countries other than the US and Canada, visit their International Store page.
  • Academic Superstore has a much larger product line including many items available on the sites above. Products may be full price discounted, or just great deals such as their collection refurbished tablets. There are additional special discounts for K-12 students and parents. (Proof of enrollment will have to be furnished.) There is also a link to their parallel Canadian site, but I'm not sure if the the student discounts apply in Canada.
  • in addition to their general merchandise has 3 additional features that are quite interesting:
(a) their Studica Skills competitions (original and digital music; photo editing;
video game, fashion or graphics design, TV broadcasting)
(b) Project Lead the Way Challenge -- hands on, project and problem-based
activities for students interested in engineering, biomechanics,
aeronautics, and biomedical sciences (Parent site: PLTW)
(c) Internship Program -- these can be on site or virtual and will provide
high school or college credits
  • -- this is an Adobe-only affiliated program for Canadian students in grades 6-12 or on staff in a school in a participating district. After validation of appropriate identification, you can take advantage of the great prices the offered on their Adobe products and enter to win the Vis Tablet.

[ by T. McCracken: Software Cartoon 6821]

Finally there is the wonderful Giveaway of the Day. When you subscribe, a new giveaway lands in your inbox or feedreader each day. These are full versions from a wide range of software companies willing to give people 24 hours to download free for non-commercial use. After you click on the orange "Proceed to Download Page" button, ignore all other promotions, and scroll to just below the product description. There you'll find the comments and reviews.

I like to wait until later in the day and read what others are saying about a program before making a decision about whether it's a good one or not. Also, comments often contain links to other online freebies that do the same job and that they like better.

NOTE!!! If you do a download, you must activate it right away. Open the "Read Me" file and follow the instructions exactly to register the product. Otherwise it will turn back into a trial version pumpkin and you'll either have to purchase the product or wait and hope for it to come back again.

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