WiFi for school buses may sound like some futuristic, high-tech idea, but it's happening right now in many places across the United States and the world.
It's a great idea; it's just not all that widespread - yet.
When considering this concept, at first, it may not be clear to you why WiFi on school buses is wise or why the introduction of this technology is actually long overdue in most places.
From what you can remember of your school bus days, most kids aren't on the bus very long anyway. When they are, if memory serves you, they are usually talking, laughing, joking around, or sleeping.
However, there are many reasons WiFi on school buses is a great idea. Read on to learn more about this concept and the many applications of this technology for young minds in transit and beyond.
One of the best and most obvious arguments for WiFi for school buses is the fact that it can help students learn. Although some students only ride their school bus for a short time, in some districts, students can be on the bus for an hour or more in each direction. WiFi on their bus will help and encourage them to use that time productively.
Many students wish to read, study, or complete homework while in transit, and school bus WiFi will help facilitate those activities.
Further, many students today have many responsibilities and jam-packed days. Students who spend time after school participating in extracurricular activities or sports will greatly appreciate the connectivity to complete their schoolwork while they travel. Students who work at after-school jobs will benefit as well.
School bus WiFi can also be helpful for teachers and coaches. Often, teachers travel long distances with their students for field trips, and coaches may spend hours on a bus with their players en route to a game or tournament.
Internet connectivity on a school bus will provide these adults with more education and entertainment options during long-distance travel. It's easy to imagine the many ways teachers could preview and supplement a field trip experience using school bus WiFi. Coaches can discuss strategies to beat a strong opponent on the way to a game or review replays with the team on their way home.
Although it may seem like everyone in the United States has internet access at home, that's not truly the case. In fact, according to the FCC, nineteen million people - or six percent of the population of our country - does not have internet access in their homes. 14.5 million of those people live in rural areas; a quarter of people living rurally cannot access the internet at home.
The lack of internet can create many obstacles for students. Many homework assignments today require access to technology, and we all know that access to the internet is wonderful for promoting independent learning as well. Some students are embarrassed to tell their teachers about this issue, and so they fall behind as a result.
WiFi for school buses helps these students access the internet as needed while traveling to and from school. School bus WiFi is a tool that can help everyone succeed.
As many schools across the country have transitioned to online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all come to better understand the high need for high-quality internet for our nation's students. No one was prepared for what has happened over the past year, and despite the best efforts of teachers, schools, and parents, some children found that they were unable to learn at home due to a widespread lack of home internet access.
School districts with buses equipped with WiFi realized that they had a solution to this problem. To help their students continue their learning, they parked their buses in neighborhoods so students could use the vehicles as giant hot spots. This allowed students to download assignments and, in some cases, attend live-streamed classes from their homes nearby.
Some school buses are quiet, tranquil, serene places, especially in the mornings.
More often, though, most school buses are loud, wild, and crazy. When you put a bunch of children in a small enclosed space with little supervision, things can get out of hand quickly. Some bus behavior is merely disruptive, but sometimes there is bullying or even fights. These behaviors are difficult for the students but are often even more challenging for bus drivers as they attempt to navigate a large vehicle safely through traffic.
A focused student is a well-behaved student, and WiFi for school buses will provide students with activities and entertainment to keep them in their seats. Even if they choose not to work on schoolwork while in transit, internet access will keep them occupied and well-behaved.
School bus WiFi will also keep students safe and accounted for through the use of GPS. If there is an accident or disaster, the school can pinpoint their buses' specific location at any time and can dispatch help immediately. This accessibility can save lives.
As a bus travels upon its usual route in the morning or afternoon, schools and parents can follow it in real-time as well so they know when to expect arriving or returning students. They can even set alerts to stay in-the-know about the location of the bus at any given moment.
Finally, although many districts installed cameras on their buses decades ago, activities on the bus were recorded for later viewing. With school bus WiFi, surveillance by schools can happen in real-time as well. If something occurs on the bus while it is on the way to school, that issue can be addressed as soon as the students arrive at the school building.
Many schools have already embraced the idea of WiFi for school buses, and more and more follow suit each year. Soon school bus WiFi will be so commonplace that we will have forgotten that we didn't have it all along. It's a wise move, and students can benefit from it in so many ways. The time is now for your school district to add it to your school bus fleet.
If you're interested in learning more about school bus WiFi, please contact us today to find out more about ConnectED Bus. We are happy to answer your questions, and we can get your school buses connected right away.