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Bing's Classroom-Friendly Search Enters Wide Release
Microsoft Bing’s school-friendly search, Bing in the Classroom, is now open to all eligible K-12 schools in the United States. Previously, the program was only in limited pilot.
The program (then called Bing for Schools) launched earlier this year in five large public school districts, and has grown to include hundreds of districts and more than 5,000 schools. It provides an ad-free search platform for students filtered for a K-12 audience. Schools can also opt out of targeted advertising, which links search data with Bing’s advertising partners. (Parents and educators can check if their school has opted out online).
"We all know advertisements can be distracting, and with Bing in the Classroom I don't have to worry about inappropriate content getting in the way of the lesson plan or students' research," said Lynda Shipley, a media specialist at Bremerton School District, WA, in a statement.
The search engine also provides daily lesson plans that promote digital thinking skills, based on the main site’s frequently-updated homepage image. Lessons are archived on the Microsoft Educator Network.
To incentivize search use, schools can also earn so-called Bing Rewards--credits that are accrued through searches. For every 30,000 credits a school amasses, the company sends a Microsoft Surface tablet. The company estimates that about regular 60 users can earn a tablet per month for a school, with no limit to the number of tablets awarded.
Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.