My niece left for college this morning. I don’t know how that happened, considering that just yesterday, she was seven, and carrying her dolly around the supermarket next to me, while her cousins — my sons, then 5 and 6 — fought over who got to put things in my shopping cart. Aisle after aisle. Then an only child, my niece looked on, incredulous. After I broke up a skirmish over a head of lettuce, she looked up at me and said, “Poor you.”
And then a decade passed.
While she’s settling into her dorm today, we’ll be getting ready for back-to-school — high school. We braved Staples and Target the other night, but there’s always more to pick up along the way. Meanwhile, I’ve signed on for another school year as an Office Champion, sharing my tips on how to get it all done, whether you work from home, or from trains and buses, like I’ve been doing lately. So, whether you’re starting kindergarten or dropping a kid off at college, here’s the latest from Office 365:
Office 365 University: ($79.99 USD for a four-year subscription) Your college kid can get the full Office 365 suite — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook — for just $1.67 per month with Office 365 University. It’s good for two devices, including PCs, Macs, iPads, or Windows tablets, and includes 1 TB (that’s a lot of notes!) of OneDrive storage, and 60 minutes of Skype PC-to-phone world calling per month, so they can call home, no matter where home is.
OneDrive: Speaking of OneDrive, I don’t leave home without it, and students shouldn’t either. That’s because it’s cloud storage that can be accessed from anywhere, like at the library, at a friend’s house, or outside class when your kids realize they forgot to print out your history paper. You can access it from any device, including your phone, and you get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage with an Office 365 Home or University subscription.
OneNote: Better than binders, OneNote is a digital notebook that your kids can use to take notes, organize information for papers and presentations, and copy and paste research — the link is automatically added. It’s automatically saved and it’s searchable, so your kids can’t lose them on the school bus!
Office Online: If your kids are collaborating with other kids who don’t have Office 365, no worries. Office Online offers free web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that let you create, view, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes. And it’s free!
Acer Aspire Switch 10: ($349 USD) Here’s a cool, convertible PC that your kids can take to school and home again. It’s a tablet and notebook in one, and they can put it in tent mode to watch movies or give a presentation. It’s light and compact, and it doesn’t cost a fortune.
This one’s for the parents. It’s a classic:
NOTE: Microsoft has hired me as a paid brand ambassador, but the opinions and the love for their gadgets and programs are all mine.