Every since the public announcement of DreamSpark for High School I’ve been getting questions about how DreamSpark fits in with the MSDN Academic Alliance High School program. The answer is that basically the MSDN AA program is designed to provide software for in school and curriculum related activities. DreamSpark is designed to be more direct to students so that they can continue or expand their learning on their own. There is some software included in DreamSpark that is not included in MSDN AA high school. that software is available to schools though the college/university MSDN AA programs and high schools can get those programs if they need them.
So let’s say you have some students who want to do more than what you have in the curriculum. Perhaps they want to get deeply into XNA or perhaps they want to install and manage their own server. or maybe they want to expand their design and/or web development skills with Expression Suite. By signing your school up for DreamSpark and giving out access codes you provide them with the software they need. And oh by the way there is some online training included in the package. So this is more than you may have available or need for that matter from the MSDN AA high school program.
The MSDN AA programs are still the way to get development software for your school labs and for use in your normal (or exceptional :-) ) curriculum. They still let you provide software for students and teachers. They’re just for support of curriculum though.
To save some time I have also blatantly ripped off the High School Administrator FAQ from the DreamSpark web site so you can get more information on that program easily.
As an accredited High School, you may already have all the requirements necessary to do this. You will just be asked to fax copies of accreditation certificate along with your name and contact information to Microsoft. Once your High School’s accreditation status is verified, Microsoft will send you a set of Access Keys to distribute to your enrolled students. DreamSpark will then rely on you to distribute the Access Keys to students who are enrolled in your school and request access to DreamSpark.
To access the Dream Spark Download Site, please instruct your students to complete the following steps:
For any issues regarding access to DreamSpark, please contact Technical Support.