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Bing for Schools launches with a lure: Surface RT freebies

The curated version of Bing nixes ads and filters out adult content. If schools use it enough, they'll rack up points that'll net them Microsoft tablets.


Microsoft is providing an opportunity for schools to get their hands on free Surface RT tablets.

The software giant on Wednesday officially kicked off its Bing for Schools program. As part of that, Microsoft wants schools and their supporters to sign up for Bing for Schools as their platform for searching the Web. As they continue to do so, they'll rack up credits through the Bing Rewards program. After a school gathers 30,000 credits, it'll qualify for a free Surface RT with Touch Cover.

According to Microsoft, based on average usage, 60 Bing Rewards users can combine to earn one Surface RT for a school per month. In addition to the schools participating in Bing, anyone who wants to support a particular institution can sign up for Bing Rewards and after searching and earning credits, indicate to which school they should go.

Bing for Schools has been in beta for some time, and Microsoft has already signed up through a pilot program several school systems educating over 800,000 students. Today's official launch, however, brings Bing for Schools to any other institution looking to get into the mix.

Bing for Schools provides schools with some tools to enhance "digital literacy" in the classroom. The main focus appears to be searching. Microsoft has created a curated Bing page for students and parents that nixes all advertisements from search results. The service also automatically filters adult content and comes with enhanced privacy controls. Microsoft is hoping that schools that sign up for the program will use Bing in the classroom and increase their supporter rolls to bring Surface RTs to the classroom.

Aside from that, Microsoft will also provide three "learning activities" each school day to Bing for Schools users. Those activities are all based on Common Core standards.