Bing lesson plans help students more effectively search online and practice critical thinking

Bing Homepages

Microsoft has published around 800 lesson plans on Bing since the fall of 2013. These resources enable teachers to provide tailored content to three different age groups, be it elementary, middle and high school. Four teachers worked on these lesson plans, now available for free everyday, helping students practice critical thinking skills and web searching. Essentially, Bing is attempting to make search more involving for children, as opposed to simply copy and pasting. This is all part of the Bing in the Classroom project.

What's neat is anyone can grab the lesson plans for free, simply by visiting the Bing home page. Hitting the info tab and then the link to "lesson plans" when on the results page for that particular Bing wallpaper, it's possible to quickly download that particular resource. Combined with ad-free searching in schools and more affordable hardware being purchased for students to enjoy using, Microsoft is offering quite the learning package of services for both teachers and students to take full advantage of.

"People really like the idea as an important way to explore questions that aren't being presented in standardized testing," says Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist at Bing. "It's a form of project based learning, and students learn how to present to the class and synthesize information." The lesson plans follow a template, presented through a PowerPoint deck. A critical thinking question is provided, which can't simply be answered through a quick Bing search. The plan suggests five follow-up questions that can help answer the main question through online research.

Bing provides real information through the power of search. When looking at the results page, detailed information is available at-hand, using trusted resources like Wikipedia. It's an interesting option for those looking to not only challenge younger minds, but also provide the means to effective use online search engines to really dig deep and perform online research.

Source: Microsoft Blog


Reader comments

Bing lesson plans help students more effectively search online and practice critical thinking


Market it better in other countries. Buy wikipedia for first hand info. Bring mix radio on pc an integrate more with Cortana with windows pc. Waiting for threshold

Awesome. I love Bing too. There's a few thing they can improve on like maps on desktop. My job requires me to verify addresses and I use Bing the majority of the time but I'll be honest... If you are used to Google street maps then the transition over won't be as fluid. Seems more complicated to pull the street maps BC of all the extra steps when the street link won't show up.

"free, simply by visiting the Bing home page. Hitting the info tab and then the link to "lesson plans"

I don't have an Info tab.

Glad you're enjoying them; we're always working hard to make sure that as many kids have access to high quality technology and education as possible.  Because it isn't just about handing them a laptop - as you say, the critical thinking part is huge.

When you need 800 lessons to learn searching with Bing there is something wrong I think. But I guess I'm just overseeing something.

It isn't how to use Bing, it is how to search. That may sound simple, but watch a non-techy get mad using any search engine and say it "doesn't work".

Finding what you want is easy if you know how to tailor and fine tune your search.

It's good that MS has done this, whether these students use Bing, Google or something else, they will be better positioned to use it properly. It's also good press for MS.

Zeke actually has it right: when I first designed the lessons, I was careful to make them agnostic to what search engine kids are using.  This is about making sure kids now how to use technology not just to copy in questions and regurgitate answers, but to critically engage with their our curiousity and the ways in which tech can help further it.

So this isn't "how to use Bing", it is much more about "how to use search to help you learn".  Which is good for us, because even kids are using Google, being a tech literate person is ultimately good for Microsoft.  Everyone who uses a computer or mobile device is, in one way or another, a Microsoft customer.  And the more customers, the better our business.

I plan on looking through these, but I think it's wonderful that Microsoft is providing teachers with these resources.  I would hope that many teachers would take advantage of this, but honestly, with school districts in north america needing to score on standardized tests, I feel like kids are taught to pass, not think objectively and critically.  


Regardless, this seems to be a great resource!

Since I plan to home school, I'd love to use these plans. Florida is absolutely horrible about doing nothing but teaching kids to pass a test and I keep running across highschool grads who have crap understanding of basic math and English and can't think their way out of a paper bag.

These are available to homeschoolers as well and we actually encourage parents to participate with kids by doing them, even if their kids aren't homeschooled.  They're fun and they show kids that adults can be curious too - give them a try!

Glad you like them!  The teachers and our team have a great time creating them and I've taught them in a number of classes (including once with Jenna Bush!) and we're always finding news way to make them better.  For example, we recently started providing blank templates so that teachers and students can try creating and sharing their own lesson plans.

I ran through a bunch of the lesson plans last night and they are great. Its a simple power point and they tailor it for different grade levels.  Great stuff MS!

And Bing is by far better than Google, just sayin.

Glad you like them!  We actually started out in Word but have migrated over to PowerPoint after some feedback from teachers, and we're considering mixing in a little mix.office.com as well.  We're always looking for new ways to make them better.

At my wife's school the IT guy has migrated them all to Gmail and other Google services, and they're starting to offer MacBooks to the teachers instead of PC laptops. The anti-Microsoft bias of one guy in a decision-making role is a serious thing to contend with.

Overated peace of shit is apple. Eh I compare Mercedes to Hyundai. I say both are at good place. But here mac and pc. Fuck off mac

Fortunately, Bing works on Macs. *grins*  We try hard to concentrate on creating the lessons that are best for kids, no matter what device they are using.

'Trusted sources like Wikipedia...' Sounds oxymoronic... Although Wikipedia is a great crowdsourcing effort, it cannot be classified as a 'trusted source' as just about anybody can simply edit the articles. Since these lessons are being used by tutors, MS can help by adding more authoritative sources like Encyclopedia Britannica and the likes. Which brings to light another abandoned MS gem - Encarta. MS can rebrand this as Bing Encarta as the brand is quite familiar with educators worldwide.

Yeah I liked that too. Used to have a tough time choosing between Britannica, Encarta and World Book encyclopedias. They were all great. But Encarta's interface was more endearing and was a native experience unlike the others which relied on Java and QuickTime bloat.

Always make sure to check the sources cited for Wikipedia.

Wikipedia makes research very easy cause it provides the sources to anything you want right at the bottom of the page. 

I cringed when I read the line "When looking at the results page, detailed information is available at-hand, using trusted resources like Wikipedia." Wikipedia may be okay for a general idea about a topic but for scholastic research it is far too easy to accept the information it presents as fact when a little more research will often provide more accurate answers. I'm not saying that it's bad that Bing includes it in the lesson plans but it should be a starting point to narrow down the scope of the search.

Bing! Doesn't always show the search result of what you wanted to.
While on the other hand Google do it perfectly.
Google is great.
But Bing! Is smart.
Waiting for the day when Bing will become intelligent too.