REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Bing launched a free, national pilot program — Bing for Schools — today that gives districts across America the choice to have ad-free search in their schools. Bing for Schools offers K–12 public and private schools in the U.S. the choice to avoid the commercialization of student Web searches performed on the school network by removing all advertisements from search results. Bing is the first and only major search engine to give schools such a choice.
Bing for Schools also enhances privacy protections, sets strict filters to help block adult content and adds specialized learning features to promote digital literacy. Schools can request to be part of the initial Bing for Schools pilot program at http://www.bing.com/schools. Search is an important tool for students; a November 2012 Pew Poll study found that 94 percent of teachers believe their students are very likely to use a search engine in a typical assignment.
Several school districts across the U.S. have already signed up for the ad-free pilot program, including Los Angeles Unified School District (Calif.), Atlanta Public Schools, Fresno (Calif.) Unified School District and Detroit Country Day School.
"In the Los Angeles Unified School District, we strive to stay on top of new and innovative ways to leverage technology to promote high-quality teaching and learning," said Ronald S. Chandler, chief information officer, Los Angeles Unified School District. "Collaborating with community partners like Microsoft is an essential part of bringing the best possible educational experience we can to our students. I look forward to supporting the Bing for Schools program, which is designed to promote digital literacy by helping to put new devices into the hands of students, teach them how to use them well, and facilitating learning in a safe and supportive environment."
"Bing for Schools offers teachers the freedom to empower students through a 21st century learning environment," said Aleigha Henderson-Rosser, director of Instructional Technology at Atlanta Public Schools. "This educational search engine adds an extra layer of security and provides safe search options for our students in an ad-free learning space."
"As of today, we'll be bringing ad-free, safer, privacy-enhanced Bing to over 800,000 students with Bing for Schools," said Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer for Bing at Microsoft Corp.
Bing for Schools includes the following elements:
- Ad-free search. Upon activating Bing for Schools, Bing searches from within the school network will have three key enhancements:
- Removal of all advertisements from Bing search results
- Automatic strict filtering to help block adult content
- Augmented privacy protections
- Earn Bing Rewards credits for schools. You can help the school of your choice earn credits toward Bing Rewards just by searching the Web from home or your mobile device. Bing Rewards allows you to choose a school to support and will aggregate the credits for everyone supporting that school. When 30,000 credits are accrued through Bing Rewards, Bing will send a Microsoft Surface RT tablet with Touch Cover directly to the school. The more people search, the more credits they earn for their schools. About 60 regular Bing Rewards users can earn a Surface RT each month for a school.
- Daily lesson plans based on the Bing daily homepage image. Bing is well-known for having a big, beautiful homepage image that changes daily and inspires visitors to explore their world. Bing for Schools makes it easier to incorporate digital literacy into the classroom by offering three learning activities every school day, targeted at kindergarten through fourth, fifth through eighth and ninth through 12th grades. The activities are free, aligned with Common Core State Standards and use the Bing homepage image of the day to pose a critical-thinking question that can be solved using search tools. In addition to being linked from the homepage image, Bing will keep a growing archive of the lessons on the Microsoft Partners in Learning site.
New GfK Roper poll: Americans believe schools should have the choice to make search ad-free
A new public GfK Roper poll shows that a large majority of Americans (84 percent) are unaware that students searching on classroom computers will see the same ads as they would on a public computer, and 79 percent of parents of children who search the Web in school agree that schools should have the choice to make their students' searches ad-free.
The poll also indicated that nearly nine out of 10 (87 percent) agree that being able to effectively search for information on the Internet is an important skill for children to learn to be successful in today's world, and 85 percent feel parents should be concerned about their children possibly seeing inappropriate content when searching online. Full survey results can be found here.
Early enrollment for Bing for Schools starts today; a limited number of schools will be accepted into the initial pilot. More information on Bing for Schools, including how to sign up for Bing Rewards and choose a school to support, is available at http://www.scroogled.com.
About the GfK Roper study
The random digit dialing telephone survey was conducted Aug. 16–18, 2013, by GfK's Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division among a nationally representative sample of 1,006 adults ages 18 or older. Interviews were conducted with 753 respondents on landlines and 253 respondents on cellphones. The data were weighted on age, sex, education, race and geographic region. The margin of error on results based on the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
More Support for Bing for Schools
The announcement of Bing for Schools has received notice and praise from educators and community leaders.
"Providing ad-free, safer searches to the educational resources of the world for our teachers and students — it makes sense that it would come from our partners at Microsoft."
— Jamilah Fraser, Fresno Unified School District
"Detroit Country Day School is excited to partner with Microsoft to launch Bing for Schools and provide our community an ad-free search zone while providing this additional layer of Internet search security to our content filtering systems already in place."
— Susan Moran Murphy, Director of External Affairs, Detroit Country Day School
"In the Los Angeles Unified School District, we strive to stay on top of new and innovative ways to leverage technology to promote high-quality teaching and learning. Collaborating with community partners like Microsoft is an essential part of bringing the best possible educational experience we can to our students. I look forward to supporting the Bing for Schools program, which is designed to promote digital literacy by helping to put new devices into the hands of students, teach them how to use them well, and facilitating learning in a safe and supportive environment."
— Ronald S. Chandler, Chief Information Officer, Los Angeles Unified School District
"As the use of technology in schools across the country continues to expand, I am pleased that the Bing for Schools initiative will help foster safe and invaluable learning experiences. With the removal of advertisements and inappropriate adult content from Internet searches, students can capture the material they need to excel in class. While we work to increase the number of schools and libraries with high-speed broadband access, the Bing program is an excellent opportunity to promote effective digital media engagement."
— Dan Domenech, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators
"Family and Consumer Sciences teachers consider digital literacy and search skills key to the success of our students as they prepare for leadership roles in their families, careers and communities. Bing's safe search tool, which is free of ads and protects students from exposure to bad influences present on the Internet, is a great resource for our educators. Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is honored to promote this great resource from Microsoft and encourage parents to sign up to earn points for free Surface tools for their schools."
— Sandy Spavone, Executive Director, FCCLA
"National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) applauds Microsoft's strong commitment to protecting the privacy of children and providing a safe and secure platform to access educational content. All children, especially those living in communities and attending schools with limited broadband, must be given the opportunity to take advantage of innovative technology resources with the assistance of great corporate partners like Microsoft. Bing for Schools is a great example of assuring maximum educational outcomes and at the same time protecting children and families."
— Greg Roberts, Executive Director, NABSE
"I personally enjoy using Microsoft Surface Pro with Windows 8 and Bing search. Our FBLA-PBL advisers are always looking for creative ways to use technology in the classroom to support their teaching methods. The effective use of technology also helps prepare our members to use that technology in their future business careers. The ad-free environment, along with the ability for students to search safely without accessing inappropriate content is an important classroom feature that I believe will be well-received by our members."
— Jean Buckley, President/CEO, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)
SOURCE Microsoft Corp.