Today, we’re proud to unveil the next phase of the Bing in the Classroom program, including broad availability of our ad-free, safer, more private search to all eligible K-12 public and private schools in the US.
Along with providing educational enhancements, Bing in the Classroom removes ads and blocks searches from being used for personalized advertising for all Bing.com searches done through the school’s network, making Bing the only major search engine to provide a search offering tailored specifically for the classroom.
As of today, any qualified school district or private school can go to bing.com/classroom and register for the completely free service, which is already being used by over 4.5 million students, including those in the five largest districts in the US. That means no waitlist, no installation or new settings, just one online form and all Bing.com searches on a school network can be ad-free within a few days of registration.*
Along with broad availability, this next phase of Bing in the Classroom includes several updates. First, you may have noticed we have a new name: we’ve retired the Bing for Schools moniker in favor of one that aligns with other Microsoft education programs. This name change also comes with an official logo, which you’ll now see on the Bing.com homepage if you are in a school using our enhanced search.
Next, we’ve made it even easier for people to support the schools they care about. Our popular Bing Rewards program enables people to earn credits towards Surface tablets for a school of their choice simply by signing up and searching with Bing. Now we are making it easier to see how many Rewards credits an individual school has earned. At bing.com/findyourschool, you can search for any school by ZIP code and see how many other people are contributing, how many Surface tablets the school has earned so far, and how many credits are needed to earn the next Surface. And we’ll also tell you if the school is registered for the search enhancements, so you can know if your kids are receiving ad-free, safer, more private search in the classroom when they choose Bing.
We’ve also updated our daily digital literacy lesson plans to make them even easier for teachers and parents to use, as well as calling out some of the great teachers who have been helping us create them. By adding additional structure to support student curiosity, the new lesson plan format is just one of a series of enhancements that we’ll be making to our digital literacy efforts, so look out for an additional announcement within the next several weeks.
Since our pilot program rolled out in late August, we have had the opportunity to partner with, and learn from, an amazing community of educators and school supporters. Here’s a snapshot of our progress to date:
- We’ve served over 35 million ad-free, safer, more private queries to over 4.5 million kids in more than five thousand schools.
- Almost nine thousand people have donated over 2 million Rewards credits to almost eight thousand different schools.
- We have produced more than 500 free lesson plans tied to our daily homepage images, including today’s in honor of Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Rejoice! “The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.”
Because sometimes innovation isn’t what you put in, it is what you take out. At Bing we think advertising done well is an additive and essential part of the search experience. But sometimes the best innovation is knowing when to take something away.
Finally, on a personal note, we want to talk a little about the people behind Bing in the Classroom. As one of the oldest and largest tech companies, Microsoft employs almost a hundred thousand people, and almost twice that if you include the many vendors and additional staff that work with us on a daily basis. As you might expect, many of those employees are also parents, with children in schools across the globe. This has made Bing in the Classroom somewhat of a passion project for a large team across the company who have put in incredible hours to build this service not only for their own children but for children everywhere.
That’s why we’re proud to have already reached so many kids in our pilot phase, and thankful for the support of the participating districts, including the five largest districts in the country. But this isn’t a program just for large districts: Tuckahoe Common has just 360 students, but their Bing.com searches are already ad-free, safer, and more private. And it isn’t just for districts with large technology budgets or wealthy students: more than 80% of Camden City students qualify for free lunch, yet because of the initiative of their tech leaders, they all have access to digital literacy resources as a Bing in the Classroom pilot district. Because closing the digital gap means making opportunities available to all students, in every school.
And that’s why our final thank you must be to the thousands of teachers, administrators, and parents who have helped inform and shape this program. Thank you for helping us understand all of the many ways that you use search to help you learn every day and for letting us be a part of providing a better search environment. We look forward to your feedback and your partnership as we continue to grow the Bing in the Classroom program.
– Derrick Connell, Corporate Vice President of Search, Bing
*Program excludes Bing Apps.