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Microsoft previewed its Bing for Schools initiative back in June, an opt-in program for educational institutions that allows schools to sign up to offer a version of Bing to their students that drops advertisements and increases privacy protections. The Bing for Schools program launches for K through 12 schools today, and as an added bonus, using it will earn users points that their school can redeem for free Surface RT tablets.
Students, parents and anyone else who wants to contribute get credits via Microsoft’s Bing Rewards program for using the search engine, and can add those to a general pool for a specific school. Once a school hits 30,000 points, it gets a free Surface RT tablet, complete with a Touch Cover (the one with the capacitive keyboard built-in). The conversion is roughly such that about 60 users contributing to a school and using Bing as their default search engine can earn a school a Surface RT per month, which actually sounds pretty good.
Of course, the Surface RT is not the finest of all devices under the sun, and some argue that it probably shouldn’t exist to begin with. But at least they’ll do some good in schools, as opposed to sitting around on store shelves. And for Microsoft, the benefit is getting more hardware in the hands of educational institutions and students; that’s a highly attractive market to any computer or software maker.
The Bing for Schools pilot project launches today in a number of districts that have signed up to take part in the pilot project, which covers over 800,000 students going into the new school year. In addition to the benefits listed above, the program also offers automatic strict filtering of adult content, as well as lesson plans based on the Bing home page, broken up into three categories targeted at grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.
If you’re already Binging, you might as well sign up and support a school, no matter where you happen to be located – turning your searches for cat gifs into tech bonuses for kids is never a bad thing.