Wi-Fi Enabled School Buses: Providing A Basic Human Right?


Reposted from Edudemic:

Internet access was once thought of as a privilege. According to a 24-country survey by CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, it is now a basic human right, as it helps us achieve socially, economically, and academically in ways we never could before. Like hundreds of other school districts across the nation, California’s Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) provides an iPad to each student for school and home use. In 2009, the district shelled out $3 million to update its connectivity.

Students at CVUSD’s West Shores High School, however, did not receive the same high-quality Internet connection that other schools did. According to a publication by the Riverside County Office of Education, the high school is in such a remote location that it was hard for technicians to figure out a way to bring the technology to the school. To remedy this situation, CVUSD provided one of its two Wi-Fi buses to service West Shores. So far, the results have been positive. With commutes as long as one hour or more each way, the routers allow students to complete homework and other enrichment activities on their tablets as they ride. What’s more, the district authorized these two school buses to park at designated trailer parks overnight, providing more Internet access after the ride home.

CVUSD administrators would like to outfit all 90 of their school buses with routers, but that would cost about $290,000. At this time, the district could only afford to pay for two. Because the routers run on battery power, they last only about an hour after each bus parks at its location for the night. The idea has merit, but it will take more money — and more battery power — to make it work for the 20,000 kids that fill the seats of the CVUSD.

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