Bing for Schools and Comcast Internet Essentials Promote Digital Literacy in Schools and for Families

Kids are growing up in a world where connectivity is part of life and digital literacy is an expectation but in many schools, shrinking budgets are causing districts to do more for less. Pricey hardware plus time and money for teacher professional development along with the resources to support ongoing education for our kids to ensure they’re using current tools to provide them with the skills they need for the future can be a challenge. Thankfully company initiatives are helping strapped school systems and financially challenged families get the hardware and connectivity they need to prepare this next generation of learners with the digital literacy skills they need for their future. Please share these two great initiatives with your child’s school to ensure that they can take advantage of offers for free hardware and spread the word about how families can get affordable internet access.

Bing For Schools

Bing for School is a new initiative focused on digital literacy for students that puts technology in classrooms, helps students learn how to use the power of search through helpful lesson plans that teach critical thinking with technology, and allows them to practice what they’re learning in a safe, supportive, and ad-free environment. By signing up for Bing Rewards, community members earn credits for Bing searches and the credits are given the school of their choice. When schools earn enough credits, Bing for Schools sends a Surface RT with a Touch Cover. Unlike other programs where it takes a long time to aggregate credits to realize the rewards, Bing estimates that with 60 parents/community members using Bing Rewards, a school can earn a tablet a month! Bing has also created a safe search environment that removes ads from Bing search results for any school district and private school that registers for kids, school districts, and private schools that register for the Bing School pilot. Bing believes that schools should be ad-free zones, free of adult content, and privacy enhancements used to ensure that kids’ data isn’t being monetized.  School administrators can register at http://www.bing.com/Schools/Registration and parents can encourage their kids’ schools to participate by visiting http://www.bing.com/schools/parents.

Comcast Internet Essentials

We don’t hear much about the digital divide that President Bill Clinton discussed during his presidency but while it may not be talked about, it still exists. In an attempt to provide more families with access to home computers that are connected to the internet, Comcast Internet Essentials makes accessibility affordable by providing qualified families with computers for $149.99 and monthly internet access for $9.99/month to help eliminate the digital divide.  Comcast offers free learning tools through their Online Learning Center that offers videos and tutorialsassistance in locating an in person internet training classlessons in social media, and links to aid in an online job search to help families increase digital literacy skills by providing computer training and teaching users how to navigate the internet.

Portrait of two schoolgirls looking at the laptop during lesson via Shutterstock

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