is enrolling its Bing
search engine in as many local schools as it can as part of a new initiative aimed at teaching digital literacy skills. The program is called for Bing For Schools and it will provide kindergarten through 12th grade students with a custom-tailored version of Bing that automatically removes ads from search results, enhances privacy protections, filters out adult content, and adds specialized learning features.
While details are still being hammered out, Microsoft confirmed the program is both free and completely voluntary, giving schools the choice of whether to participate or use the regular version of Bing. Schools that opt-in to the program will experience the same settings across all searches from within the schools' network on Bing.com; there's no special software or different search addresses to use.
"As a country, we’ve set schools aside as a special place that is focused on learning, and have traditionally kept advertising out of that environment. Bing For Schools removes ads from the search experience, keeping with our strong belief that schools are for learning and not selling.," Matt Wallaert, Bing Behavioral Scientists (and former teacher) stated in a blog post announcing the program.
In addition to a customized search platform, part of the initiative will include short lesson plans to teach digital literacy skills related to search.
No word yet on when the program will go live.