Is your school district's bus system stuck in the past?
Most schools still operate with the "old standard" of transportation. Old yellow buses that may or may not have heat or air conditioning. The seats are hard and without seatbelts. There are rips and tears in the seats and flooring.
The buses are technologically in the past, sometimes for cost reasons and sometimes because administrators don't think about how they can be improved.
If you're looking for a way to improve your school transportation system, have you considered school bus wifi?
School bus wifi might seem like a luxury, but in our increasingly digital world wifi is a necessity, and providing it for the children in your district can have a lot of positive effects.
Not convinced? Let's talk about it. Keep reading to learn several benefits of school bus wifi so you can make an informed decision.
If you want your school district to be ahead of the game, opting for school bus wifi is a great way to reach that goal.
Technology in the classroom is advancing at a breakneck pace, but outside of the classroom, many school districts have stagnated.
Including wifi internet for students and staff on the buses will show that you're embracing new technology and that you want the best for your students. It will also be attractive to parents who are trying to decide which school district they want to live in for the best opportunities for their children.
If you want to lead the pack, you have to do something that other districts aren't doing yet. Implementing new technology on the school bus is a great way to get started on that process.
Some children have to wake up and get on the bus before the sun rises. Those at the beginning of routes may have an entire hour before they reach the school (and an hour on the ride back).
In the early hours of the morning when the sun is still hiding, and the bus is dark, it isn't easy for students to entertain themselves. Reading isn't an option unless the student has a light, and doing schoolwork isn't easy either.
With wifi, students can entertain themselves with their tablet devices or phones without wasting data (as they're prone to do when they're not paying their own bills). Even young children often have tablets for learning and simple games and videos that aren't equipped with data, so having the wifi option will keep them distracted.
Children and teenagers are notorious for getting in trouble and bothering bus drivers, attending staff, and other students alike.
No one wants to discipline a misbehaving student on the bus. They're overtired, restless, and probably anxious for the school day ahead. They're bound to get themselves into trouble.
When they have ways to distract themselves, though, they're more likely to keep to themselves instead of bothering their neighbors. This makes for happier students, happier parents, and happier bus drivers.
Entertained children are children who won't disrupt the people around them.
Between long school days, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, and household chores, many students don't have the time that they need to do their homework at home after the school day is complete.
Other students are just serial procrastinators. All children are different.
Regardless of their reasoning, many students end up doing their homework on the bus either before school or after school, depending on how their schedules work. As we mentioned before, doing homework on the bus in the early morning hours can be challenging due to the lack of light.
Many projects and assignments also require typing. Tablets and computers are necessities in the digital age.
The internet can help students with their homework when parents and teachers aren't there to provide guidance. They can look up answers, use online calculators, translators, and other tools, and email for help if they need it.
In a world where homework nearly always depends on technology now, allowing students to utilize some of that technology at the beginning or end of their school days is going to benefit them.
Learning isn't done in the classroom alone. There are so many ways to learn and study online that don't require a teacher.
There are endless amounts of classes and informational websites that students can use when they want to learn new facts or skills, or even study for big tests. How many schoolbooks would it take for a student to learn everything that they have access to with the click of a button on a tablet or computer?
While some people may consider this cheating, the point of school isn't to grade students on memorization. It's to help them learn and develop into educated people. Allowing and encouraging more avenues for this education to take place should be one of the primary goals of the school system.
Students who want to spend that extra time on the bus educating themselves should be enabled to do so. Wifi on the school bus will allow them to do that with ease.
Something that many school administrators don't consider is the students who don't have wifi access at home or at least not reliable wifi access.
In a world where so many assignments are submitted online, how can these students keep up without spending long hours on school grounds after school is over? Having free wifi for students helps those kids without singling them out.
It's the responsibility of the school district to ensure that all children have equal access to education regardless of the income level of their parents or their living conditions. While having reliable internet at the school is a step towards this, it doesn't manage the problem of students studying and doing homework outside of school hours.
4.4 million American households with children don't have consistent or reliable internet access. Where do your students fall?
Many children are given devices for the sole purpose of staying in touch with their parents. Not all of these children, though, are included in data plans with cell phones. Parents rely on the children having wifi. This helps to keep them safe, and it helps the parents know that children aren't spending their money on data.
Having wifi enabled on school buses allows parents and children to communicate if necessary without the need for cellular data.
If the school bus runs into problems, or a child stays on for too long by accident, they can notify the parents to inform them of the situation and come to help out or pick them up if necessary. If a student forgets schoolwork or their lunch at home, parents can save the day.
It may also help to stop parents from worrying.
Anxious children will be more comfortable if they're able to contact their parents when they need them.
Free student wifi can benefit school administrators as well.
Have you ever experienced a heavy snow day, gas leak, extreme weather situation, or anything else that may disrupt or delay the school day?
Have these things happened before school started, but not before students have gotten on the bus? Has your administration or district decided on early dismissal without any way to inform students (so they can inform their caregivers)?
Maybe there's going to be an event or assembly at the school, or students need to go to their homeroom before their first class.
These things can be sent to students, even with handy notifications, if your school bus has wifi. This keeps students informed and prepared, not surprised when they reach the school.
Tracking the bus ride is an unexpected benefit of school bus wifi. You may think this only benefits administration, but this isn't true.
Wifi can track the movements, speed, and route of the bus. This benefits the children in several ways.
Bus drivers who are using unsafe driving habits can be caught in no time, allowing time for disciplinary action or further training before anyone gets injured.
Staff can also keep track of where the bus is going. Sometimes buses have to change routes due to traffic or roadblocks, making students late. If the administration knows this ahead of time, they can notify teachers, so students aren't penalized for lateness, and so they're able to have work set aside for them.
The bus driver can also use the wifi to get an idea of what the route is going to be like before they get started. Having traffic information on hand makes for a smoother and quicker bus ride. This saves money on gas and saves time for the students.
School bus wifi benefits your students, your administration, and the parents in your district.
Between keeping parents and staff informed, allowing students a better learning experience, and keeping them entertained on the long bus rides, there's no reason to not introduce wifi to your school buses.
If you're ready to embrace the future of school transportation, we can help. Visit our site to learn about our ConnectED Bus: the wifi solution for your school bus fleet.