As an educator or student, you are eligible for significant academic discounts on many types of software. Regardless of the subject you teach or study, having some proficiency in the major graphics and office productivity programs is no longer optional. With the discounts and free video tutorials available, cost and complexity should no longer be a deterrent.
One of the best values available with the most comprehensive suite of graphics programs is Adobe Creative Cloud. Currently they are offering a special for only 19.99 per month for teachers and students. This suite includes the best creative apps on the market including an app to make apps. It is a tremendous bargain at less than one half of the usual cost and includes 20 GB of cloud storage. Adobe provides many free tutorials to help get you started. Because it is a cloud application, you are able to use it from any computer. These are industry standard programs that are as important to educational technology as any hardware is. Mastering these tools will help you as an educator or student.
While most of the name brand software still has some cost for teachers and students, there are some amazing software programs for free. One program that I recently acquired at no cost for a one year license is Sketchup. This is an excellent 3D modeling program that has great tutorials and is very user friendly. We recently added a 3D Printing module to our STEM Lab and having this software is an amazing tool to teach the concept of 3D modeling and printing. This software is normally priced at $590 and is extremely relevant to any STEM Curriculum. Teachers receive a one year license for free, students get a discounted price of $49. With 3D Printing coming to the classroom and the home, knowing this program will keep you ahead of the technology curve.
Knowing Excel and Powerpoint thoroughly is no longer just the domain of the business or higher education world. I teach Excel extensively in 5th Grade at my school as part of their IT class. Excel has a very relevant application to Science with its data and graphing capabilities. We start teaching Powerpoint in 2nd Grade. Microsoft offers an academic price of $79.99 for 4 years. See their web site for details and eligibility requirements. Office 365 is now compatible with iPads opening up additional educational technology options.
Software is as dynamic as hardware for education technology. Take advantage of the academic discounts to expand your knowledge and be prepared for the 21st Century Classroom.