This summer, software giant Microsoft Corp. plans to release a new tool designed to make doing homework–long a source of mental anguish for students–less about headaches and more about learning. Called Microsoft Student 2006 (MS Student 2006), the product is a cross between Microsoft’s online Encyclopedia Encarta, a customizable search engine, and its Office productivity suite–geared specifically to the needs of students. The software includes a built-in graphing calculator for use on advanced math problems, word-processing templates and tutorials designed to guide students through difficult writing assignments, and a special tool that helps students conduct online research by pointing them toward the most reliable sources. With a projected sale price of $99, Microsoft hopes MS Student 2006 will be an option in both homes and schools. The company says it also plans to offer educational discounts through its volume licensing program.

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