In an effort to increase the reach of Bing, Microsoft on Tuesday launched classroom-specific version of its Bing search engine. The customized version of the search engine dubbed as Bing in the Classroom comes ad-free with privacy controls for use within schools in the United States.
The program is available for all eligible public and private K-12 schools to search the Internet safely without being charged through Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Matt Wallaert, Microsoft's Bing in the Classroom creator said in a statement that they created Bing in the Classroom because they believed students were entitled to a search environment that was tailored for learning.
The ad-free search previously known as Bing for Schools was born of a pilot program launched earlier this year in five of the biggest US public school districts and was used by 4.5 million children in over 5,000 schools. The project was to see if cutting down mass marketing online made any difference with students' work in the school and learning abilities, consequently resulting in more than 35 million ad-free queries during this school year.
Teachers from across the country have claimed that the ad-free search program helped the classroom environment and promoted children's ability to learn digital literacy skills.
According to Microsoft estimates, every year students are shown over 15 billion search advertisements while they're in school including an array of results like marketing messages, company Web sites, businesses, online resources and advertisements which eventually diverts their attention by taking away the value of using online resources for learning. However with Bing's customized version of its search engine, students just see online resources.
The new version of search engine is completely ad-free and comes with improved privacy controls. When Bing is searched within the school network the strict content filters will set up filters to block adult material and ad targeting. Microsoft also incapacitates the ability to use student searches to target ads to the searcher. Additionally, educators can also include different learning features to Bing that enhances students' digital literacy.
Besides that, Microsoft has also announced that it will offer a first-generation Surface tablet computer to those schools where children and parents sign up to use Bing outside of the school. Bing allows members to choose what school they want to support with credits and when the school earns 30,000 credits, they will receive the reward. Additionally 500 lesson plans have been created to promote the use of search by students to answer questions.