If you are involved in the education and teaching of our youth then you want to check out this terrific resource from Microsoft. They offer a number of programs, for free, that teachers can use in the classroom to teach students about so many things by using technology.
They also offer several tools such as newsletters and events and webcasts to get information out there and the tools and resources they have available include lesson plans, teacher guides, and back-to-school discounts.
For instance, here is a sampling of some of the free software and guides that are available thru the site:
AutoCollage: Have students gather images from the Web or snap their own photos on a subject. Then, they can create a unique piece of art using this free collage-making tool.
WorldWide Telescope: This free tool brings together imagery from the world’s best ground and space-based telescopes. Students can explore the night sky by panning and zooming to distant planets and galaxies.
Microsoft Photosynth: Students can explore famous places in the world with cinematic quality using this virtual, visual three-dimensional tour.
Songsmith: Bring out the musical creativity in your students. Choose a style—from pop to jazz or R&B. Have a student sing into a PC microphone, and Songsmith will generate musical accompaniment to match his or her voice.
Windows Live Movie Maker: Make your classroom lessons even more memorable with a movie. Windows Live Movie Maker is the fast, easy way to turn photos and video clips into great-looking movies and slide shows you can share in class or on the Web.
Photo Story 3 for Windows XP: Bring a subject to life with music and pictures. This free, downloadable program has tools to enhance, crop, and rotate your digital photos. Students and teachers can easily create a slide show with just a few clicks.
Bing Search and Bing Maps: The visual aspect of Bing makes searching the Internet a more captivating and rewarding experience for students. Bing Maps offer breathtaking, bird’s eye views of the world that can enhance any project.
Bing Translator: This helpful tool easily converts what you have written into nearly any language you need. Cut and paste the text into the area indicated, and click Translate.
Mouse Mischief: Integrate multiple choice, polling and true/false questions into your lessons with this free add-in for PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010 that lets students use mice to answer.
Windows Live SkyDrive: Gain access to 25 gigabytes (GB) of free, online storage. Use it for a student or teacher workgroup to upload and share documents in one central place, rather than trying to track them in e-mails. Store your photos and files, and access them with a password.
Step-by-step guide for collaboration (Microsoft Office Word document, 1 MB)
Creative ways to engage students (Portable Document Format file, 3.5 MB)
There is a lot of information on this site and if you are in the education field you should look at the things they are offering and put it to use. In this day and age of shrinking budgets free is a great way to get things done!