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Bing Education blog

  • June
    17

    Making Decisions About Your Kids Education

    Navigating the waters of your child’s education is sometimes a tough, emotionally charged project so I wanted to provide some help. Education is a hot topic these days and like so many other parents you are likely wondering: Where are the best elementary schools in our city? Which schools offer the best student/teacher ratio? What are the best school districts in the state? Which schools have the best graduation rates? Finding the answers takes work, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are some tips: 1. Use Bing. A simple “best schools” search will give you ratings of schools in your general area. To get more specific results, change your search to “best schools in X,” inserting county, city or region. If you chose to search by city , you’ll see top-ranked schools, along with phone numbers and directions, listed at the top followed by related searches that will point you to similarly named cities in other states. For example, Bing narrowed my “best schools in Irvine” search by geo-locating me in California. However, in case I was looking Irvine, Texas, Bing provided that answer, too. 2. Check out the Bing Education... Read More Navigating the waters of your child’s education is sometimes a tough, emotionally charged project so I wanted to provide some help. Education is a hot topic these days and like so many other parents you are likely wondering: Where are the best elementary schools in our city? Which schools offer the best student/teacher ratio? What are the best school districts in the state? Which schools have the best graduation rates? Finding the answers takes work, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are some tips: 1. Use Bing. A simple “best schools” search will give you ratings of schools in your general area. To get more specific results, change your search to “best schools in X,” inserting county, city or region. If you chose to search by city , you’ll see top-ranked schools, along with phone numbers and directions, listed at the top followed by related searches that will point you to similarly named cities in other states. For example, Bing narrowed my “best schools in Irvine” search by geo-locating me in California. However, in case I was looking Irvine, Texas, Bing provided that answer, too. 2. Check out the Bing Education... Read More
  • June
    17

    Avoiding the Summer Slide

    So I’m curious, do any of you have a sure fire cure to avoid the summer slide? For those of you new to this term, I’m referring to the amount of learning that slips by kids over the summer and they end up having a tough transition in the fall when school starts. To avoid this I found some great articles…. here , here and here . For my son who just finished kindergarten, I purchased a first grade math book at the learning store and plan to make many trips to the library, but there’s always that balance of wanting to have a fun, relaxing summer at the same time keeping their brain in motion. If any of you have tips on what has worked and even what has not, please share. Barb Blanchard So I’m curious, do any of you have a sure fire cure to avoid the summer slide? For those of you new to this term, I’m referring to the amount of learning that slips by kids over the summer and they end up having a tough transition in the fall when school starts. To avoid this I found some great articles…. here , here and here . For my son who just finished kindergarten, I purchased a first grade math book at the learning store and plan to make many trips to the library, but there’s always that balance of wanting to have a fun, relaxing summer at the same time keeping their brain in motion. If any of you have tips on what has worked and even what has not, please share. Barb Blanchard
  • June
    08

    Change the World - Vote for Your Favorite...

    CLICK HERE to vote for the team you believe best uses technology to solve the world's toughest problems. Students around the world are combining brain power, teamwork and technology to solve the world’s toughest problems at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup. Today you have a chance to vote for the People’s Choice Awards by picking the project you think will make the biggest difference, whether it’s improving education, addressing environmental issues, tackling health issues or more. Learn about these teams and submit your vote at http://www.imaginecup.com/pca . The winning team will be recognized onstage at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals World Festival on July 13th. Your People’s Choice vote will bring awareness to the causes these students addressed and in turn, bring change to our world. Thanks! Barb Blanchard CLICK HERE to vote for the team you believe best uses technology to solve the world's toughest problems. Students around the world are combining brain power, teamwork and technology to solve the world’s toughest problems at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup. Today you have a chance to vote for the People’s Choice Awards by picking the project you think will make the biggest difference, whether it’s improving education, addressing environmental issues, tackling health issues or more. Learn about these teams and submit your vote at http://www.imaginecup.com/pca . The winning team will be recognized onstage at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals World Festival on July 13th. Your People’s Choice vote will bring awareness to the causes these students addressed and in turn, bring change to our world. Thanks! Barb Blanchard
  • June
    01

    Bing Honored At Annual Cause Marketing...

    We are honored to have received the Gold Halo Award for Best Digital Marketing Campaign for the Our School Needs campaign yesterday at the Cause Marketing Forum’s annual conference in Chicago. A total of 18 awards were given out to programs judged the best cause marketing campaigns of 2010. This award was shared with DonorsChoose.org who partnered with us to bring supplies to classrooms in need. "Cause marketing has grown tremendously over the past ten years," commented Cause Marketing Forum President David Hessekiel. "In fact, cause was the fastest growing area of sponsorship in 2010 and is predicted to hit $1.7 billion in 2011." In keeping with that trend, a record number of programs were entered in the Cause Marketing Halo Award competition. "The winners of this year's Cause Marketing Halo Awards demonstrated creativity, innovation and excellence in campaign execution and results for companies and causes," said Hessekiel. The Cause Marketing Halo Awards are North America's highest honor in the field of cause marketing, awarded by the Cause Marketing Forum . All Halo winners can be seen online at www.CauseMarketingForum.com/Awards . Our sincere thanks goes out to each... Read More We are honored to have received the Gold Halo Award for Best Digital Marketing Campaign for the Our School Needs campaign yesterday at the Cause Marketing Forum’s annual conference in Chicago. A total of 18 awards were given out to programs judged the best cause marketing campaigns of 2010. This award was shared with DonorsChoose.org who partnered with us to bring supplies to classrooms in need. "Cause marketing has grown tremendously over the past ten years," commented Cause Marketing Forum President David Hessekiel. "In fact, cause was the fastest growing area of sponsorship in 2010 and is predicted to hit $1.7 billion in 2011." In keeping with that trend, a record number of programs were entered in the Cause Marketing Halo Award competition. "The winners of this year's Cause Marketing Halo Awards demonstrated creativity, innovation and excellence in campaign execution and results for companies and causes," said Hessekiel. The Cause Marketing Halo Awards are North America's highest honor in the field of cause marketing, awarded by the Cause Marketing Forum . All Halo winners can be seen online at www.CauseMarketingForum.com/Awards . Our sincere thanks goes out to each... Read More
  • June
    01

    National Geographic Map Brings Social Studies...

    Getting kids interested in social studies can be a project. As I remember it, in grade school, social studies came right after lunch, which meant that I was more interested in putting my head on my desk than in learning what the indigenous peoples of remote Fiji liked to eat. Followed by a film strip or a video, drowsy me was likely to have no idea whether we were still in Fiji or in Finland. Looking back on it, my disinterest wasn’t so much a product of the subject matter—it was the way in which the subject matter was presented. Today, thanks to amazing tools available on the Internet, the world is a much smaller—but interesting—place. One amazing tool is the National Geographic Global Action Atlas , which can be found in Bing Maps. The National Geographic Global Action Atlas gives kids a global perspective of where there are people in need. It also offers a visual display of current projects that are designed to protect plants and animals, preserve diverse cultures and more. Select from Conservation, Humanitarian, Cultures, Exploration, Climate Change, or Energy projects, or select a continent and click on the individual projects. What you—and... Read More Getting kids interested in social studies can be a project. As I remember it, in grade school, social studies came right after lunch, which meant that I was more interested in putting my head on my desk than in learning what the indigenous peoples of remote Fiji liked to eat. Followed by a film strip or a video, drowsy me was likely to have no idea whether we were still in Fiji or in Finland. Looking back on it, my disinterest wasn’t so much a product of the subject matter—it was the way in which the subject matter was presented. Today, thanks to amazing tools available on the Internet, the world is a much smaller—but interesting—place. One amazing tool is the National Geographic Global Action Atlas , which can be found in Bing Maps. The National Geographic Global Action Atlas gives kids a global perspective of where there are people in need. It also offers a visual display of current projects that are designed to protect plants and animals, preserve diverse cultures and more. Select from Conservation, Humanitarian, Cultures, Exploration, Climate Change, or Energy projects, or select a continent and click on the individual projects. What you—and... Read More
  • May
    03

    Happy Teacher Appreciation Month: Thank...

    While giving thanks to teachers should hardly be limited to a specific time of year, this month in the U.S. people everywhere are dedicated to honoring the teachers that gave us so much. At Microsoft, we’re giving thanks to teachers by sharing stories of those educators that had the biggest significance in our life. We’ve captured these moments on video, which you can view on the #ThanksTeach page for Partners in Learning on Facebook. In this video, members of the Microsoft Bing and MSN team are among some of the many people recognizing their favorite teacher. Is there a teacher that made a difference in your life? I have 2 uncles named Tom who were both excellent school teachers and I was able to benefit from their patient teaching style, love of books and wise insight. One of them got me to read “Where the Red Fern Grows” when I was little which really opened my world to loving books. When in college I met someone who had been in my other uncle’s class and said she wanted to become a math teacher because of his influence. Teachers really do make a difference. We encourage you to post a comment about your favorite... Read More While giving thanks to teachers should hardly be limited to a specific time of year, this month in the U.S. people everywhere are dedicated to honoring the teachers that gave us so much. At Microsoft, we’re giving thanks to teachers by sharing stories of those educators that had the biggest significance in our life. We’ve captured these moments on video, which you can view on the #ThanksTeach page for Partners in Learning on Facebook. In this video, members of the Microsoft Bing and MSN team are among some of the many people recognizing their favorite teacher. Is there a teacher that made a difference in your life? I have 2 uncles named Tom who were both excellent school teachers and I was able to benefit from their patient teaching style, love of books and wise insight. One of them got me to read “Where the Red Fern Grows” when I was little which really opened my world to loving books. When in college I met someone who had been in my other uncle’s class and said she wanted to become a math teacher because of his influence. Teachers really do make a difference. We encourage you to post a comment about your favorite... Read More
  • April
    25

    Bing Maps helping solve the world’s toughest...

    Whether it’s tracking the location of a bus so that, especially if you’re visually impaired, you know when your bus is coming; helping friends and family know where you are so that you can be rescued in the event of a disaster or even providing insight into potential malaria hotspots, this year’s crop of Microsoft Imagine Cup competitors are using Bing Maps as a core part of their solutions. When I previewed the U.S. Regional Imagine Cup a couple of weeks ago, I painted the picture of what the U.S. Finals would look like and shared that I was looking forward to seeing how the teams were using Bing Maps in their solutions. I already knew that LifeCode used Bing Maps to help geographically track the donation of supplies – especially during relief efforts, but was on the lookout for others using Bing Maps. It was a pleasure to meet and learn about Team Transit Trackers from Arizona State who used Bing Maps to help their fellow Arizonans catch the bus. Knowing that they couldn’t rely on getting budget to equip all buses with GPS devices, they built an ingenious solution that utilizes crowd-sourced information and then, literally, maps that information... Read More Whether it’s tracking the location of a bus so that, especially if you’re visually impaired, you know when your bus is coming; helping friends and family know where you are so that you can be rescued in the event of a disaster or even providing insight into potential malaria hotspots, this year’s crop of Microsoft Imagine Cup competitors are using Bing Maps as a core part of their solutions. When I previewed the U.S. Regional Imagine Cup a couple of weeks ago, I painted the picture of what the U.S. Finals would look like and shared that I was looking forward to seeing how the teams were using Bing Maps in their solutions. I already knew that LifeCode used Bing Maps to help geographically track the donation of supplies – especially during relief efforts, but was on the lookout for others using Bing Maps. It was a pleasure to meet and learn about Team Transit Trackers from Arizona State who used Bing Maps to help their fellow Arizonans catch the bus. Knowing that they couldn’t rely on getting budget to equip all buses with GPS devices, they built an ingenious solution that utilizes crowd-sourced information and then, literally, maps that information... Read More
  • April
    22

    What Do You Want To Know?

    Ever had the feeling that people were talking about you? Well, you were right and it’s all good, we promise. Many of you have joined us from various education-related initiatives like Our School Needs or Teacher Appreciation . Many more have come to us from REDU . No matter how you came to us, we’re delighted you’re here and want to know: What subjects are important to you? Are you interested in learning more about the causes and activities in which we are involved? Would you like more information about the Bing tutorial programs we’ve developed? In other words, what would make our community that much more valuable and helpful to you? We’re excited to hear from you! Ever had the feeling that people were talking about you? Well, you were right and it’s all good, we promise. Many of you have joined us from various education-related initiatives like Our School Needs or Teacher Appreciation . Many more have come to us from REDU . No matter how you came to us, we’re delighted you’re here and want to know: What subjects are important to you? Are you interested in learning more about the causes and activities in which we are involved? Would you like more information about the Bing tutorial programs we’ve developed? In other words, what would make our community that much more valuable and helpful to you? We’re excited to hear from you!
  • April
    21

    Bing Wants To Know....

    How do you use the Bing homepage to help kids learn? We’ve received feedback from teachers, parents and homeschooling groups telling us about the creative ways that they incorporate the Bing homepage into their daily lesson plans. Which led us to wonder—how do you use the Bing homepage? Do you use it in your daily lessons? Do you use it as part of your geography lessons? Art? History? Science? Some friends tell me it is a conversation starter with their kids when each day they discuss the image and explore the “hotspots”. Take this homepage image for example (my personal favorite), where I learned that a pack of jellyfish is called a bloom….who knew? And what a fun thing to talk about. Every day, from amazing animals to scenic destinations to magnificent architecture, the Bing homepage introduces us to the stunning world in which we live. For me, looking at the Bing homepage is a daily happy surprise when I open my browser and wonder what in the world I will get to explore. I would love to know your story about how you use the Bing homepage, so please share. Barb How do you use the Bing homepage to help kids learn? We’ve received feedback from teachers, parents and homeschooling groups telling us about the creative ways that they incorporate the Bing homepage into their daily lesson plans. Which led us to wonder—how do you use the Bing homepage? Do you use it in your daily lessons? Do you use it as part of your geography lessons? Art? History? Science? Some friends tell me it is a conversation starter with their kids when each day they discuss the image and explore the “hotspots”. Take this homepage image for example (my personal favorite), where I learned that a pack of jellyfish is called a bloom….who knew? And what a fun thing to talk about. Every day, from amazing animals to scenic destinations to magnificent architecture, the Bing homepage introduces us to the stunning world in which we live. For me, looking at the Bing homepage is a daily happy surprise when I open my browser and wonder what in the world I will get to explore. I would love to know your story about how you use the Bing homepage, so please share. Barb
  • April
    01

    Microsoft's Imagine Cup, See What Students...

    Imagine a room full of U.S. students (16 and up) with projects they created to solve the world’s toughest problems. They’re from all over the country. Picture yourself chatting with the students from the University of Arkansas, Team Uca Ursus, about their automated system to track the speed of a skin lesion's progression to better diagnose and treat skin cancer. You then meet team LifeCode from Wayne State University, in Detroit and see how their project, Procūr uses Bing Maps and intelligently manages the humanitarian supply chain of the future – specifically, that during a disaster situation, it connects a broad number of people with information and creates a platform for conducting relief efforts. You might even then turn around and get drawn into playing the game from the University of Houston’s Team AAMP - “Operation Clean Sweep” - that allows you to use a mobile phone to clean up rivers polluted by adjacent cities. In fact, everywhere you turn, there are solutions addressing issues affecting education, the environment, health and more. In April, 2011, this will not just be something to imagine. It will be quite real when the 22nd Imagine... Read More Imagine a room full of U.S. students (16 and up) with projects they created to solve the world’s toughest problems. They’re from all over the country. Picture yourself chatting with the students from the University of Arkansas, Team Uca Ursus, about their automated system to track the speed of a skin lesion's progression to better diagnose and treat skin cancer. You then meet team LifeCode from Wayne State University, in Detroit and see how their project, Procūr uses Bing Maps and intelligently manages the humanitarian supply chain of the future – specifically, that during a disaster situation, it connects a broad number of people with information and creates a platform for conducting relief efforts. You might even then turn around and get drawn into playing the game from the University of Houston’s Team AAMP - “Operation Clean Sweep” - that allows you to use a mobile phone to clean up rivers polluted by adjacent cities. In fact, everywhere you turn, there are solutions addressing issues affecting education, the environment, health and more. In April, 2011, this will not just be something to imagine. It will be quite real when the 22nd Imagine... Read More
  • March
    30

    Learning About Science, Math and Technology...

    While normally leery about promoting opportunities for kids to play computer games, I think I have found the exception. Meet Kodu , a free new tool that lets kids from the ages of 8 and up build their own video games. There are a lot of real-world skills kids can learn from doing this since Kodu is a programming tool, kids are creating their own game vs playing one. Using Kodu lets kids use their imagination and have the ability to analyze a problem and find a solution, something they will need to do all of their life. It’s a unique way to actually make learning about science, technology, math and engineering fun. For teachers and homeschools, the Kodu team has created curriculum to use as a classroom learning project. Also if you start now, there’s a competition called the Kodu Cup for kids 9-17 with great prizes for the best games created. The contest has started and runs until May 10, 2011 so you have time to create a great entry. Happy programming kids! Barb While normally leery about promoting opportunities for kids to play computer games, I think I have found the exception. Meet Kodu , a free new tool that lets kids from the ages of 8 and up build their own video games. There are a lot of real-world skills kids can learn from doing this since Kodu is a programming tool, kids are creating their own game vs playing one. Using Kodu lets kids use their imagination and have the ability to analyze a problem and find a solution, something they will need to do all of their life. It’s a unique way to actually make learning about science, technology, math and engineering fun. For teachers and homeschools, the Kodu team has created curriculum to use as a classroom learning project. Also if you start now, there’s a competition called the Kodu Cup for kids 9-17 with great prizes for the best games created. The contest has started and runs until May 10, 2011 so you have time to create a great entry. Happy programming kids! Barb
  • March
    22

    Guest Blog: Library Story Times Help Kid...

    Story time at your local public library is a marvelous learning opportunity for children and it’s a great place for parents, grandparent and other care providers to see kids getting a start on their education. At a typical story time, families experience songs, stories, finger plays and crafts. Babies bounce on knees and older kids get up and sing and dance. I love to watch young children when they first come to one of my library story times. Initially they are usually shy and quiet and spend a lot of time on mom or grandma’s lap. After a couple of guitar sing-a-longs (I love playing for them), an engaging story and a fingerplay or two, kids can’t seem to resist inching toward the colorful carpet in front of me. This is where regular story time attendees sing, dance and attentively listen to the colorful books I read each week. I have found that by the time a child has attended a couple of story times, there is no stopping their exuberance at being a part of this joy-filled time at the library. It may all seem like fun and games but during library story time, youngsters not only learn a love of reading, they also develop social skills necessary for the classroom... Read More Story time at your local public library is a marvelous learning opportunity for children and it’s a great place for parents, grandparent and other care providers to see kids getting a start on their education. At a typical story time, families experience songs, stories, finger plays and crafts. Babies bounce on knees and older kids get up and sing and dance. I love to watch young children when they first come to one of my library story times. Initially they are usually shy and quiet and spend a lot of time on mom or grandma’s lap. After a couple of guitar sing-a-longs (I love playing for them), an engaging story and a fingerplay or two, kids can’t seem to resist inching toward the colorful carpet in front of me. This is where regular story time attendees sing, dance and attentively listen to the colorful books I read each week. I have found that by the time a child has attended a couple of story times, there is no stopping their exuberance at being a part of this joy-filled time at the library. It may all seem like fun and games but during library story time, youngsters not only learn a love of reading, they also develop social skills necessary for the classroom... Read More
  • March
    09

    Good Education Decisions That Start with...

    I am in a somewhat unique situation with two kids in college and two kids in preschool/kindergarten. This large age gap sometimes makes us feel like we are raising two separate families and my husband and I joke that the good news here is we can correct our mistakes the second time around. Though we laugh there is a bit of truth to it. Don't get me wrong, despite our rookie parenting, our two oldest kids turned out to be fine young adults who we are very proud of. But there are definitely lessons learned that we decided should be applied to our younger kids. At the top of the list: reading. Over the years we watched our older kids develop friendships in their small school and saw one common denominator with the kids who were getting good grades...typically they loved to read. And by that I mean that they were - avid readers. Their faces lit up when describing a great book or sharing about the next novel they couldn't wait to read. Some people say kids either have a love of books or they don't; they were simply born that way. Perhaps that's true. However, I believe a love of reading can be instilled. As parents, we can make stories come to life and share the excitement, adventure... Read More I am in a somewhat unique situation with two kids in college and two kids in preschool/kindergarten. This large age gap sometimes makes us feel like we are raising two separate families and my husband and I joke that the good news here is we can correct our mistakes the second time around. Though we laugh there is a bit of truth to it. Don't get me wrong, despite our rookie parenting, our two oldest kids turned out to be fine young adults who we are very proud of. But there are definitely lessons learned that we decided should be applied to our younger kids. At the top of the list: reading. Over the years we watched our older kids develop friendships in their small school and saw one common denominator with the kids who were getting good grades...typically they loved to read. And by that I mean that they were - avid readers. Their faces lit up when describing a great book or sharing about the next novel they couldn't wait to read. Some people say kids either have a love of books or they don't; they were simply born that way. Perhaps that's true. However, I believe a love of reading can be instilled. As parents, we can make stories come to life and share the excitement, adventure... Read More
  • February
    23

    Honoring Black History Month

    Each February we have the opportunity to remember, honor and learn about amazing African Americans through Black History Month . As a tribute, we wanted to provide a resource and interactive experience that would allow educators, students and others to learn more through a Visual Search Gallery we created in conjunction with the NAACP, which you can view here . See the historical timeline of influential figures like Rosa Parks and learn why she was named "Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement" or living legends like Tony Dungy, the first African American coach to win a Superbowl. Be sure to catch my all time favorite musician, Nat King Cole. We are really excited about this new Visual Search Gallery and hope you can spend some time reviewing so many impressive figures in a fun, easy to use tool. Let us know what you think. Each February we have the opportunity to remember, honor and learn about amazing African Americans through Black History Month . As a tribute, we wanted to provide a resource and interactive experience that would allow educators, students and others to learn more through a Visual Search Gallery we created in conjunction with the NAACP, which you can view here . See the historical timeline of influential figures like Rosa Parks and learn why she was named "Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement" or living legends like Tony Dungy, the first African American coach to win a Superbowl. Be sure to catch my all time favorite musician, Nat King Cole. We are really excited about this new Visual Search Gallery and hope you can spend some time reviewing so many impressive figures in a fun, easy to use tool. Let us know what you think.
  • February
    17

    Making Informed Decisions to Live a Healthy...

    Slowly but surely, the days are getting longer, and as thoughts turn to spending more time outdoors, we're reminded of the importance that living a healthy lifestyle can have on a child's well-being. Learning how to be active and eat right is just as an important part of a child's education as math or science or history. That's why we are excited to partner with NBA All-Star/Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce to present the All-Star Health & Fitness Festival, to be held this Saturday at Paul's alma mater, Inglewood High School , in Los Angeles. As part of Paul's Truth on Health initiative , the festival is designed to encourage and help youth make informed decisions about living a healthy lifestyle. Bing will also donate 600 Paul Pierce Activity Watches to students participating in the Health & Fitness Festival. These watches, which track their daily exercise, allow the students to participate in Pierce's FitClub34 (a rewards-based fan club turned "fit" club) and earn great prizes for their commitment to fitness. Our friends over in Xbox are also getting in on the fun. There will be a Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 set up at one of the fitness stations... Read More Slowly but surely, the days are getting longer, and as thoughts turn to spending more time outdoors, we're reminded of the importance that living a healthy lifestyle can have on a child's well-being. Learning how to be active and eat right is just as an important part of a child's education as math or science or history. That's why we are excited to partner with NBA All-Star/Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce to present the All-Star Health & Fitness Festival, to be held this Saturday at Paul's alma mater, Inglewood High School , in Los Angeles. As part of Paul's Truth on Health initiative , the festival is designed to encourage and help youth make informed decisions about living a healthy lifestyle. Bing will also donate 600 Paul Pierce Activity Watches to students participating in the Health & Fitness Festival. These watches, which track their daily exercise, allow the students to participate in Pierce's FitClub34 (a rewards-based fan club turned "fit" club) and earn great prizes for their commitment to fitness. Our friends over in Xbox are also getting in on the fun. There will be a Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 set up at one of the fitness stations... Read More