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Learning in Motion with School Bus Wifi

December 16, 2015

The typical school day includes an awful lot of transportation: lengthy bus rides each way, not to mention trips to sporting events and field trips. And all that travel means that students often need to stay up late, or wake up early, to try to get their assignments done. But what if the bus ride could help students work, instead of getting in the way? That’s what’s happening in Kanawha County Schools in West Virginia, where they’re turning a fleet of buses into internet hotspots so students can work on the go.

Last year, the Kanawha district went digital, supplying tablets to every middle and high school student. Kanawha kids now had online resources at their fingertips – but during bus rides, which could last up to an hour each way, there was no way to access them. So superintendent Ron Duerring started looking for solutions, and teamed up with an internet provider to put high-speed internet on all 158 county school buses. The Wifi system uses the same secure network as the school, which helps students stay focused and be productive during their travel time.

Now, students have “the flexibility to meet both their personal and academic commitments,” says Duerring. Not only that, but they’re better-behaved: according to Kanawha tech director Leah Sparks, bus drivers have reported calmer students since booting up the network. With the impressive results the district has seen so far from their network on wheels, it’s clear that this technology isn’t just along for the ride.