For all the talk of bringing technology into the classroom, there hasn’t been enough done to make that technology optimized for classroom use. One big area where that’s true is filtering and security – after all, allowing a bunch of preteens and teenagers unrestricted Internet access on school grounds might not always turn out well. It’s been left to individual schools to figure out how to implement proper controls on the Internet, but a new kind of Bing search should make things a little easier.
Bing in the Classroom takes care of filtering, but it hits on another big concern when it comes to kids, too – advertising. Bing in the Classroom is a version of the search engine made just for schools that eliminates advertising. Not only that, but it doesn’t store search information that would normally be used to personalize ads – makes sense, since the kids won’t be seeing them anyway. There’s also a basic filter to weed out adult content automatically.
The service is finally open to qualified school districts and private schools, which they can register for on bing.com/classroom. The best news for schools is that this privacy fix won’t hit already strained budgets – Microsoft is offering Bing in the Classroom for free.
And in addition to an ad-free search experience, Bing in the Classroom is also helping spread digital literacy by introducing a rewards program that allows parents and families to earn Surface 2 tablets for their kids’ schools, just by using Bing as their search engine. The program just came out of pilot yesterday at PS 205 in Brooklyn, where the program has been in testing. Jenna Bush Hager was on hand yesterday to talk about the program with Microsoft. She also showed off the free Lesson Plans that Bing in the Classroom is providing for teachers as apart of the program.