Jury out on Microsoft Student 2006

It’s midway through the school year, and the jury still seems to be out on Microsoft Student 2006, which was released last summer.

The company bills it as “a comprehensive, subject-specific productivity software product designed to help middle- and high-school students efficiently complete high-quality homework assignments and achieve academic success.” But really, it seems to be targetted at parents who feel unprepared to help their kids with their homework— and whom will likely be the ones doing the purchasing.

As best I can tell, Student is a beefed up reference library along with templates and tutorials to support the use of Office tools. Additional features include a graphing calculator and supplemental online help service for math homework.

The Washington Post gave it low marks back in July, along with these student testimonials:

“I definitely liked this program, but I don’t think I’d use it for anything except maybe doing research for a report or playing with it when I was really bored.”

“I couldn’t find anything that really went into depth on a particular subject. Since you’d have to go online, or go to the library to do more research anyway, why would you need this program?”

The evidence would suggest that uptake has been less than expected— Microsoft originally released it for $100, and it’s now available for $60 on Amazon.

posted December 19, 2005 by matt

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