Bing for Schools Brings Ad-Free Search to Students
Yesterday marked the inauguration of Microsoft's new "Bing For Schools" program, intended to support digital literacy (or at least how to use a search engine, a crucial skill for any student) among kids in elementary, middle and high schools across the country.
School administrators have been able to sign up for the free program since June, which provides schools with an ad-free (and adult content-free) search experience, as well as extra privacy protection and brief lesson plans designed to instill search research skills in students and teachers.
800,00 Students Enrolled So Far
While ad-free search and strict adult content filtering are obviously nice features for students, the real meat of the program is in the lesson plans. Three free learning activities will be offered every day of the school year, with different lessons for elementary, middle and high schoolers. Each lesson plan will take the form of a critical thinking question that students can solve using Bing search. The lessons follow the Common Core standards, ensuring that students will learn about more than just how to use a search engine. You can already find some example lesson plans online now.
Many school districts including Detroit County Day Schools, the Fresno Unified School District, Atlanta Public Schools and the Los Angeles Unified School District have already enrolled in Bing For Schools, giving over 800,000 students access to the program on the first day of the new school year.
In addition, regardless of whether a school is enrolled in the program, students will be able to earn Bing Rewards credits that can be used to secure free Microsoft Surface RT tablets. It takes 30,000 credits to purchase one tablet, and Bing estimates that a school can earn roughly one Surface RT per month if they have 60 people using the Bing Rewards program.
If you're an authorized representative of your school district, you can sign up for Bing For Schools by clicking here - but don't hesitate too long if you're interested, because only a limited number of districts will be allowed into the program, at least at its outset.