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Bing Goes Ad-Free for Schools, Names Partner Districts
Microsoft has formally launched Bing for Schools in a nationwide pilot. The service provides privacy-enhanced features for students, free Common Core-aligned learning resources targeted toward specific grade levels, and a technology rewards program for schools.
Bing for Schools offers ad-free search for students in participating districts, automatic strict filtering of materials that some might find inappropriate for students, and "augmented privacy protections" (though Microsoft has not yet specified what those protections might be).
In addition, through the Bing Rewards program, parents, teachers, and students can earn free Microsoft Surface RT tablets for their classrooms. Those who participate in Bing Rewards earn Bing credits when they use Bing as their search engine. Those credits can be donated to a particular school, and all donated credits for a particular school will be pooled together. For every 30,000 credits accumulated, the school will receive a new Microsoft Surface RT tablet with a Touch Cover.
Bing for Schools is also offering free daily learning resources. All of the resources are aligned with Common Core State Standards and targeted toward grades K–4, 5–8, and 9–12. There will be three free resources each day, which will be archived at the Microsoft Partners in Learning site.
In a blog post today, Bing Behavioral Scientist Matt Wallaert explained that several districts have joined the Bing for Schools pilot, including Atlanta Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, and Los Angeles Unified School District. All told, partner districts represent some 800,000 students, Wallaert said.
Bing for Schools is accepting applications from other districts to participate as well. According to Wallaert: "School districts can register for the search pilot now; a limited number will be accepted into the initial pilot, with non-pilot schools being notified about future eligibility. And we'll continue to update the Bing for Schools site, and post on the Bing blog, as we continue to expand the program to improve the educational search experience with custom features and new ways to promote digital literacy."
Sign-up information for Bing Rewards can be found on bingrewards.com. Information on becoming a Bing partner district can be found on the Bing for Schools registration page.