The modern day classroom has no boundaries. Today’s students have global access to information, rich media tools, and transformative experiences via the web. The digital age has put personal discovery in the hands of students, and the power to enrich and transform even the most pedestrian of topics in the hands of teachers. At Bing, we know how the digital world can bring things to life. We know how panoramas in the MSN Travel App can let a student explore the Coliseum right from his or her desk. We know how Bing Maps App Preview can virtually fill in the streets of a 3D Digital Munich, how Photosynth can transport you to the top of Mt. Everest.
That’s why Bing in the Classroom sent volunteers into ten schools across the nation this fall – to help them use the power of technology to transform their classrooms. In Kansas, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, and Washington, volunteers provided hands-on teacher training on Windows 8.1, Office, Bing in the Classroom, and more, answering questions & assisting wherever possible – with our products and beyond.
In Houston, a kindergarten teacher at Memorial Elementary was inspired to have her students follow the Monarch butterfly migration from their school to a school in Mexico after being introduced to Skype in the Classroom. In Kansas City, teachers asked volunteers to return on Family Night to show parents how they can earn free Surfaces for JFK Elementary through Bing Rewards. Our volunteers’ enthusiasm was echoed by their audience: As Stephanie Kay-Fredrickson, instructional coach at Arlington Elementary in Tacoma, wrote us, “What a treat to kick off our school year! [The volunteers] enthusiastically helped/taught our staff about interactive tools (that they can’t wait to use to engage their students), answered a myriad of our questions with the utmost patience, and methodically showed us how to use the various programs with ease. We’re all ready to tackle our year with more technology than ever!”
To help teachers continue integrating tech in their classrooms, the volunteers left behind Bing’s Summer Story Challenge – a digital storytelling contest to help students develop critical thinking and search skills. Microsoft’s education solutions pave the way for forward-thinking principals and teachers who are ready to expand the boundaries of their classrooms. “Everytime we add a tool that is so open-ended we really open a new part of the world to our students so they can really explore and expand and deepen their understanding,” said Mechiel Rozas, Memorial Elementary principal.
Since launching five months ago, Bing in the Classroom has continually strived to bring digital literacy to life in schools & make it easier for kids and teachers alike to explore the world and the web. Our program brings ad-free, safer, more private search and digital literacy lesson plans to schools, while giving parents a way to participate and earn free Surface tablets for classrooms. Just last month we released a new feature to help students and teachers better access resources and prompt new discoveries. Because the world needs what our kids can do. And if we can bring the magic of technology to education, we can empower kids to change the world.
– The Bing in the Classroom Team