It goes without saying that one of the fundamental aspects of delivering a high quality Digital Technologies course is to have access to high quality resources.  As our students move further down the pathway towards Level 3 and UE it is important our students are exposed to industry standard software, but licensing often comes with a hefty price tag.

Perhaps unknown to most, is Microsoft’s generous academic licensing programme Dreamspark.  This scheme is available to all students – they just have to register for the service at and the registration will allow them to download essential  Microsoft Software for free.  Go here for the full catalogue.

Dreamspark also offers academic institutions free software.  Schools with a Campus 3 Microsoft License may find the following software particularly useful:

  • Visual Studio 2012 (comes with an add on for PowerPoint, turning PowerPoint into a wireframing tool – more
  • Expression Studio Ultimate includes
    • Sketchflow wireframing tool
    • Expression Blend
    • Expression Design
    • Expression Encoder Pro

    With this software suite students can create websites, design and animate, as well as produce concept designs and live screen grabs.  A must-have for Digital Media.  There’s a great community portal, including tutorials and a full 90 hour curriculum designed especially for High School.
    Find out more


  • Visual C++
  • Visual C#
  • Robotics Developer Studio
  • SQL Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012
  • AutoCollage – great for moodboards
  • Songsmith – for generating original music
  • and there’s even Microsoft Mathematics to keep other departments happy!

In total there are 37 Microsoft products including Operating Systems, Developer Tools and Applications that you can make use of to teach Digital Media, Infrastructure and Programming.

Most NZ Universities subscribe to the scheme, and it’s fantastic that High Schools can too.

To claim a year’s free subscription service you need the Dreamspark Promo code that should be on your school’s license renewal welcome letter.  If you can’t find a promo code on the welcome letter you will need to ask for one to be reissued to your school.  The good folks at Academic Licensing can make the request to Microsoft on your school’s behalf.

If your school doesn’t fit the free licensing criteria, the option to pay a low cost annual subscription is available.  To find out more, go to

Have a great Christmas break!