- Some students in Texas' Huntsville Independent School District spend as much as three hours each day riding buses to and from school, and now they can use that time productively with Chromebooks through the district’s 1:1 device program and Wi-Fi that has recently been installed on their buses.
- According to eSchool News, administrators outfitted the buses with 3G/4G connectivity as well as Intel processor-based tablets to track student and driver information for safety purposes — parents can now get alerts when their children get on or off the bus, and fleet managers can monitor driver behavior.
- The high-tech buses have location-tracking and give district employees the opportunity to remotely monitor the condition of each vehicle, and administrators plan to park the buses strategically so students who don’t have internet access at home can benefit from the Wi-Fi even after they get dropped off.
Huntsville is not the only district that has explored Wi-Fi for buses. The “homework gap” has become a real problem in schools as teachers expect students to use technology to complete assignments. In districts with 1:1 programs, students can benefit from offline accessibility even if they don’t have internet access at home, but often that’s not enough. Some districts have started sending mobile hotspots home with students who need them, and others have embraced the in-bus Wi-Fi option.
One key problem with asking students to do homework on the bus is that some students surely get motion sickness that prevents them from being productive or asks them to put up with sickness to do so. What’s more, bouncing on a potentially loud bus is not the most conducive environment for studying. Districts should consider the in-bus Wi-Fi as part of a multi-pronged strategy to increase access.