Wi-Fi turns bus ride into a rolling study hall

Last fall, school officials in Vail, Ariz., mounted a mobile internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-technology experiment has had an old-fashioned—and unexpected—result, reports the New York Times: Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared. “It’s made a big difference,” said bus driver J.J. Johnson. “Boys aren’t hitting each other, girls are busy, and there’s not so much jumping around.” Internet buses soon might be hauling children to school in many other districts, particularly those with long bus routes. The company marketing the router, Autonet Mobile, says it has sold them to schools or districts in Florida, Missouri, and Washington, D.C. Karen Cator, director of education technology for the federal Education Department, said the buses were part of a wider effort to use technology to extend learning beyond classroom walls and the six-hour school day. The router cost $200, and it came with a $60-a-month internet service contract…

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