Alabama district puts wi-fi on buses

By Deangelo McDaniel, The Decatur Daily
January 5th, 2016


Plan for digital conversion prompts district to examine Wi-Fi availability

wi-fi-busBecause of the need to make sure every student has 24-hour internet access, buses may play a significant role in Decatur City Schools’ (Ala.) plan to change how it delivers education.

DCS technology director Kathy Rains said two schools will continue this month to pilot a program that turns buses into moving Wi-Fi hubs.

“We’re having to be creative in our approach to make sure all our students can access the internet,” she said.

Rains is part of an 11-member committee that introduced a digital conversion plan in November that would eliminate textbooks, but give students around-the-clock access to the classroom through the internet.

Making sure every student has access to the internet is imperative, but pushing to make Decatur a Wi-Fi city may be too costly.

Students at Julian Harris and Cedar Ridge Middle experimented with a device that made a bus a Wi-Fi hub before they left school for the holiday break.

The device, which is about the size of a cellphone, gave students internet access from the moment they got on the bus until they arrived home.

Cedar Ridge student Destin Ishman used his school-issued laptop to check his semester grades. “It was awesome,” he said.

Juan Morrow, a seventh-grade student, said he got online because he does not always have access to the internet at home. “This is a good thing because I’ll be able to use my computer at home anytime I get ready,” he said.