Georgia district creates homework zones via wi-fi buses

By Stephen Noonoo
October 5th, 2016

Liberty County Schools will park the buses throughout the community to improve access

An Arkansas district is increasing student learning opportunities on long bus rides.

Georgia’s Liberty County School System to outfit its school bus fleet with wi-fi in an effort to extend the school day — the first school district in Georgia to provide students free internet access through mobile wi-fi units.

Liberty County will also create 24 “Homework Zones” around the county by parking their Kajeet wi-fi-enabled school buses in areas including apartment complexes and fire and police departments from 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. These “Homework Zones” will allow low-income students to access educational and safe, school-district approved websites so they can continue their studies outside the classroom.

When Liberty County launched its one-to-one iPad initiative, the Liberty Learning Experience, in the 2014-2015 school year, students began relying more on digital textbooks and applications, and the district determined approximately 60 percent of students did not have access to the Internet.

“The more technology we integrated into the curriculum, the greater the need for connectivity at home,” said John Lyles, director of transportation for Liberty County School District. “We want to ensure no student is left behind because he or she doesn’t have the tools for success.”

To determine what parts of the county would benefit most from wi-fi outfitted school buses, the Liberty County team analyzed its bus routes along with where the largest concentration of their low-income families reside. Where the buses are parked can vary, according to Lyles.

“Liberty County is the first district in Georgia to outfit its entire bus fleet with wi-fi and park the buses in areas to help its students complete their homework, and ultimately succeed,” said Daniel Neal, CEO and founder of Kajeet. “This is a creative solution to a very real problem in the community. At Kajeet, we are particularly gratified to be working with and supporting the Real Action Heroes in Liberty County who are out working daily in our schools and actually closing the Homework Gap.”

About the Author:

Stephen Noonoo

Stephen Noonoo is the current editor of eSchool News. He is a former consultant for CUE, California’s ISTE affiliate, and managing editor of its quarterly publication, OnCUE. He has worked as a freelance writer, an education editor for SmartBrief newsletters, and as a staff editor for a well-known publication focusing on education technology.

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