Microsoft wants Bing to ruin children's summer vacation with book learnin'

angrykidI'll let you in on a secret -- I was not a good student. I was more interested in daydreaming and staring out the window than learning about long division and history. I would wait all year for summer vacation so I could turn my brain off for a couple of months. While some people liked to read during the vacation, I much preferred flattening pennies on the railroad tracks, running around barefoot in the grass or throwing rocks at a random object like a stop sign. Book learnin' during the summer months was for suckers.

Today, Microsoft announces plans to ruin summer vacation for kids with the power of Bing. Yes, the company actually wants kids to learn while off from school. Will you make your kid learn?

"Who says learning needs to stop when the school year ends? Not us. We are rolling out two great ways to help you keep your brain engaged regardless of what month it is. Now when you search Bing for subjects such as trigonometry or history we will showcase a list of popular, free online courses available on the Khan Academy site. We're also rolling out a new book finding feature that showcases whether a given title is available online for free or for reservation at your local library", says The Bing Team.

The team further explains, "we're constantly adding more items to the billions of people, places and things that make up our Bing knowledge repository. In this case we have indexed Khan Academy courses and charted their relationship with popular subjects (e.g. humanities, geometry, trigonometry.) All you need to do is search for a subject, if there is a corresponding set of online courses we showcase them directly in the snapshot pane. In a few short clicks, you can immerse yourself in the finer points of organic chemistry".

Good lord that sounds terrible. I'd much rather jump through a sprinkler or glide on my belly with the Slip 'N Slide. Bing is not done there though, the search team also says, "now when you search for a book title on Bing, we will showcase whether that book is available at a library near year you, available for free download or display an excerpt from the book (or a combination of the three.) For example, I can search for Fault in Our Stars. In snapshot, I can quickly see that an excerpt is available via Overdrive and it is carried in my local library".

While these features are pretty cool, I would caution kids and parents to beware of the trap. Knowledge and education are very important, but so is leisure and life experience. If you or your kids enjoy learning, and want to read in the summer, than so be it. However, the social interactions one has with a group of kids doing mindless activities is great for building character.

Should kids learn during the summer vacation? Tell me in the comments.

Photo credit: Brazhnykov Andriy / Shutterstock

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