Microsoft DreamSpark now provides professional-level Microsoft developer tools, at no charge, to High School students. Previously, these tools were only available to College and University students.
Back when I was programming, using IDE's, I had built in BASIC, DevPac for the Amiga and Turbo Pacal for the PC. When I look at what's available to teenagers now, the complexity of these tools, and what you could do with them, it makes me wonder how accessible they are for the average teen. I had my hands full understanding what look like primitive computers compared to todays standards. Now, they have on-hand help with links out to the help for more information, auto-completing IDE's with object pickers to write their code in, complex and powerful database and web server technologies to store and present things from. I'm sure if I about to switch on to computing at High School, with Microsoft giving this stuff away, I'd be absorbed by it totally.
Just look at this bundle of tools we can give the kids:
Worth passing this info on to Parents you know.
Check out Microsoft DreamSpark here
And a Q/A on DreamSpark from Microsoft PressPass
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