Microsoft offers schools free Surface RTs as Bing search rewards

Microsoft offers schools free Surface RTs as Bing search rewards

Summary: Parents and friends can pitch in with their Bing search reward points to help schools get Surface RT tablets.


Microsoft has launched a new ad-free search product, Bing for Schools, with an incentive program that rewards schools with free Surface RT tablets.

The new pilot program, currently for the US only, offers schools a search engine tailored for education, and to encourage interest in joining it, Microsoft is integrating its incentive program, Bing Rewards, which will let schools earn Surface RTs.

Given the dissatisfaction that older Windows users seem to have with RTs lack of backwards compatibility, younger students may be one group that have fewer objections to its limitations, and give Microsoft a chance to put its spare Surface RT inventory to good use.

The program allows anyone who wants to support a particular school — not just parents and teachers — to contribute their Bing Rewards points to them accumulate enough credits to earn a Surface RT with a Touch Cover.  

While the points aren't necessarily easy to earn, according to Microsoft, around 60 Bing Rewards users can earn a Surface RT in a month. At Microsoft's current discounted school rate, the devices would be worth $249 each.

Microsoft will aggregate the rewards of a school's supporters and when they reach 30,000, converts those into a Surface RT tablet with a Touch Cover that is sent to the school.

A handful of schools representing 800,000 students have joined Microsoft's Bing for Schools pilot. As well as removing all advertisements from search results, the search engine automatically applies a filter to help block adult content and features added privacy protection.

Microsoft is also providing free daily lesson plans on the Bing homepage that are designed for grades K-4, 4-8, and 9-12 ad are aligned with Common Core standards.

School districts are being invited to register for Microsoft’s search pilot now, but only a limited number will be accepted to join the initial pilot, while non-pilot schools will be notified about future eligibility.

Topics: Education, Hardware, Microsoft, Tablets, Microsoft Surface

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Surface RT will be great for School.

    Surface RT would be better than a Chromebook that a local school gave it's students this year. No wonder the Public Education System in the United States of America is failing.
    • Foreseen...I beg to differ with you

      All Microsoft is looking to do is DUMP those crapppppppppy Surface RT on some poor unsuppecting students which they will have to replace with a real laptop at some point in time. Like 6 months due to failings.

      Like you said Public Education System in the United States of America is failing and would only get worse if Microsoft gets to dump those Surface RT on our school system.

      End Of Story.
      Over and Out
      • Have you used one?

        I love the comments I'm seeing about how 'crap' the Surface is.. when actually schools and students are buying them for use in schools.. as they are an excellent device for use at school or work or home.. You people are so full of it..
        Well done MS..
        • He's right

          He's right, the Surface RT is a piece of garbage. It's so bad Microsoft had to drop the price by a lot and still can't sell them. Why buy that thing when you can buy an iPad or another better tablet? So now Microsoft thinks they'll bribe schools to use Bing instead of Google.
          • Surface RT is great!

            Perhaps if you owned one like I do, you would think differently. The surface is light weight, has Office, which I need to do papers for school. Before the surface, I carried both an iPad and a laptop. Now, all I need is my Surface RT.

            I use my RT more than my iPad now.
          • Yeah!

            If something doesn't sell well, it obviously means it's bad. Sales mean everything, right?
            Michael Alan Goff
    • It in fact is

      I know, we have one. It has all the abilities of a Chromebook, plus more. Not perfect, though I guess 8.1 will have significant improvements.

      Why they didn't do an academic outreach from the beginning is beyond me.

      The key is a full browser experience to me.
    • If they are no worth buying

      then why are they "good enough" for students? This will set-back education, not improve it!
  • If They Weren't Put Off Bing Before ...

    ... inflicting Surface RTs on them for using it will be ample punishment.
    • For a free tablet I can use Bing too

      How many searches do I need to perform to get mine?
  • Microsoft is SO.....


    This won't work, because Windows 8/RT lacks the simplicity, the ecosystem, and the "marvel" that Google offers.
    • What marvel

      does Google offer I wonder, unless of course spying on you and selling your data to the highest bidder would be "marvel" .
      • And?

        So I'm guessing your beloved MS doesn't do the same? That's the point of the search engine game these days. Google is just better at the searching part.
        • It's of course not only search

          It is everything Google does. Take gmail for instance, it is downright ludicrous people are accepting these pratices.

          Of course Google hardly has a choice, it's how they make their money, legitimate tech companies like Microsoft and Apple actually sell real products. With Google the products are their own customers.
          • "legitimate tech companies like Microsoft ...."

            legitimately participate in patent racketeering and sell licenses. Well they also develop web browsers, that suck compared to the good ones, Firefox and Chrome/Chromium.

            Microsoft and Apple also cannot afford to write crossplatform apps. Microsoft is a professional weeper when it comes to youtube on WP8.
          • They suck?

            How so? The speed difference is negligible and so is the difference in amount of crashes. Actually, in some cases IE is faster tun Chrome for me. And I'm comparing a MBA with Chrome to a Surface RT with IE 10. :|
            Michael Alan Goff
      • Microsoft doesn't?

        Microsoft is the biggest spy in the world. Look at the mess they're in. Now their stupid Xbone is falling apart because people don't want them spying on what they say and do in their homes.
        • XBox One

          Sold out pre-orders, dunno what you're talking about.
          Michael Alan Goff
  • Weird

    I wonder what the reaction from people would be if this program were from Apple or Google, with something similar. Would it still be "they're giving them away!" or "Apple/Google gives back to the community with a good deal on educational tablets".

    Excellent article, though.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • I have not seen that.

      But face it - giving away something that is wanted and sells for a great profit is certainly more charitable than giving away a Surface RT that no one wants. At least Microsoft will get a credit towards their taxes - better than simply tossing the buggers out!
      The Danger is Microsoft